Though it soft-opened right after Christmas, Gocha’s Breakfast Bar on Cascade Road near the Cascade Heights neighborhood in southwest Atlanta had its official gala grand opening on Jan. 10.
The breakfast and brunch concept is the dream project of Gocha Hawkins, a Detroit native and the owner of Midtown’s Gocha Salon. Hawkins may be best known for styling celebrity clients such as Kandi Burruss, Nicki Minaj, Serena Williams, Beyonce, Drake and many more. But at Gocha’s, the talented home cook is showing off her culinary skills.
Nicknamed GBB, and featuring Hawkins’ recipes throughout the menu, Gocha’s signature dishes include Southern favorites like chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits, and more personal items, such as Gocha’s “Krunch-Tastic” French Toast, a crunchy battered indulgence served with fresh mixed berries and house vanilla bean sauce.
For those looking for hearty meatless choices, there’s loaded multigrain avocado toast, as well as Gocha’s Impossible Burger with Parmesan Truffle Fries, served on a brioche bun with tomato, mixed greens, onion, and house aioli sauce.
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The full bar includes Gocha’s Hail Mary, a bloody mary variation garnished with celery, olives and two strips of bacon, plus there’s a variety of house cocktails, beer, wine and bottomless mimosas.
The busy location in the Publix Shopping Center at the intersection of Cascade and Fairburn roads is close to home for Hawkins. And she took on the design and build-out of the long, narrow storefront herself, with seating at booths, the cozy bar at the front of the space or circled around the exhibition-style open kitchen.
Last week, Hawkins sat down at a booth at GBB to talk about going from the beauty business to the restaurant business.
“I’ve been in the beauty industry for over 27 years,” Hawkins said. “For the past 10 years, I’ve been contemplating what’s next. I moved to Atlanta in 2010, and I continued to do hair, but last year, I decided I wanted to move forward and open up a restaurant.
“My friend Kandi Burruss has three Old Lady Gang restaurants at this point, and her consultant is Greg (Cole), who owns Nancy’s Pizza in Atlanta. I asked him if he would be willing to consult with me on a breakfast restaurant, and he said yes, so I got him to walk me through the process, and here I am. It’s been challenging but it’s been fun at the same time.”
Hawkins said she grew up cooking, and followed in her grandmother’s footsteps to become the chef for family gatherings.
“I’ve always been the one who cooks when the family comes to town,” she said. “I cook all the meals, and people have always loved my cooking. My grandmother was a cook, and I worked at the country club with her, and several restaurants after that.
“The main thing here is that it’s all things that I cook at home. Our No. 1 seller is our Krunch-Tastic French Toast with crunchy batter we put together. But our shrimp and grits and avocado toast are very popular, as well. We have a little something for everyone. I’m a pescatarian, so I make sure of that.”
As far as finding a location, it turned out that the best one was practically in Hawkins’ own backyard.
“I live seven minutes from the restaurant, and I go to church on this side of town, so whenever I get out of church, I always want to go and eat, but there’s no upscale breakfast restaurants in this area,” she said. “This turned out to be a great location, with ample parking and a lot of great businesses.
“There are a lot of successful people who live in this area. We have a lot of great churches over here. So there are a lot of great opportunities on this side of town. And people have already been very supportive.”
As for the future, there could be more Gocha’s locations on the horizon.
“My hope is that we continue helping out the community,” Hawkins said. “We’ve hired over 30 employees in the first three weeks. So when I get ready to open a second one, we want to do the same thing in whichever community that is. I’ve opened several businesses, but the one thing about this one is there was a need for it.”
3695 Cascade Road, Suite 440, Atlanta. 678-927-9166, gochasbreakfastbar.com.
Scroll down for more images from a First Look at Gocha’s Breakfast Bar