Billed as "a product of a who's who in the world of food, beverage and design," the new Burgess Hotel in Buckhead is now home to FIA and Mr. B. Bar.
The $15 million pet-friendly boutique hotel, restaurant, and bar and lounge is the dream project of longtime husband-and-wife hospitality partners Burges and Freny Jokhi, who previously owned and operated the property as a Wingate by Wyndham hotel.
In conjunction with the rebranding, it was redesigned by Kimberley Miller of Duncan Miller Ullmann — a global hospitality interior firm known for projects such as Hotel Za Za (Texas), the Pearl (Rosemary Beach, Florida) and Marcus Samuelsson’s the Red Rooster (London).
Daniel Porubiansky oversees the kitchen at FIA and Mr. B. Bar as executive chef. Porubiansky’s resume includes working with Günter Seeger at the Ritz-Carlton and Seeger’s, and chef/owners Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison as executive chef for Bacchanalia, Star Provisions and Quinones.
Positioned as a gathering place for hotel guests and Buckhead locals alike, there’s breakfast, lunch and dinner daily at FIA. The seasonal menu is Mediterranean-inspired, with a focus on dishes from the wood-fired grill. At dinner, look for the likes of Grilled Whole Branzino, Blue Ridge Farm Cauliflower Steak, Charred Octopus, and steaks from Georgia’s Chatel Farms.
Mr. B. Bar, named in honor of Freny Jokhi’s late father, Keki Bunshah, who organized the first Indian expedition to Mount Everest, specializes in classic and craft cocktails, such as a Coconut Pecan Old Fashioned. Guests can order drinks and snacks or sample the full menu in the bar and lounge area, which includes a library with a fireplace.
Last week, Burges Jokhi and Porubiansky sat down at a table in the lounge to talk about FIA and Mr. B. Bar.
“In my last life, I was a chef at the Pierre Hotel in New York when it was the Four Seasons,” Jokhi said. “We decided to move down here in 1995, and go from the kitchen to the hotel business. We designed and built this hotel, but we kind of came to an impasse a couple of years ago. Our passion has always been to build a boutique hotel.
“We both grew up in Hong Kong, so we have that Asian influence. And we’re Indian, so we have that background, and have traveled all over the world, so we wanted something different, something eclectic, something unique, so when you walked in here, it would be a wow moment. Everything is custom designed and every single tile, fabric, furniture was all custom made. And my daughter, Jessica Jokhi, did all the artwork in the hotel.”
Speaking about the restaurant and the kitchen, Jokhi explained that it was designed around the custom wood-fired grill.
“That’s the feature, and it’s not something that’s in most restaurants,” he said. “And since we were building it, I wanted it to be the centerpiece. Obviously it imparts very unique flavors, and that gives us an advantage, I would say.”
For his part, Porubiansky said he was ready to get back into fine dining, after serving as the executive chef at Woodstock’s Century House Tavern for the past six years.
“Woodstock was awesome, you know,” Porubiansky said. “My kids grew up there, and I still live there. But this is exciting. Mediterranean gives us a pretty broad scale. We’re going to go from Morocco all the way over to the Middle East and back over to Portugal. So it’s fun. As a chef, it’s wide-open. The wood hearth is our feature, and we’re even using it for some of the sides. And we smoke a lot of other things up there. It was Burges’ dream to have a grill like this.
“Of course, I look forward to still working with my farmers, and it will be nice to reconnect with some of the farmers in the city, again. We’ll keep with the Mediterranean theme, but mix in some seasonal American ingredients, and present it in that way. But we’re still tweaking the menu. And Burges as an owner and a chef has been tremendous. He spared no expense in the kitchen. It’s like a dream for a chef. And now I just hope I can present it in a way that’s going to be successful.”
“My passion has always been to go back into the kitchen, so I wanted to build a kitchen and a restaurant that I would be very proud of, and someplace I would want to go to,” Jokhi said. “But everything you see here is very personal. My dream and goal is to be the No. 1 premier boutique hotel, not only in Atlanta, but hopefully someday in the country.”
3600 Piedmont Road NE, at the Burgess Hotel, Atlanta. 404-949-1450, theburgesshotel.com.
Scroll down for more images from a First Look at FIA and Mr. B. Bar in Buckhead
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