Sunday Conversation with ... Daniel Porubiansky

Chef departs Atlanta for Woodstock venture

Daniel Porubiansky still makes the same kind of food at his new restaurant in Woodstock that delighted the palates of diners at some of Atlanta’s finest establishments — with one exception. “I have to make bigger portions. I am not kidding,” said Porubiansky, executive chef and partner of Century House Tavern, located in a restored house in downtown Woodstock. “The people who dine here want to feel like they are getting value for their money.” Porubiansky, who grew up mostly in Dunwoody, worked with renowned chef Guenter Seeger for many years before becoming executive chef at famed restaurant Bacchanalia. When he decided last April to leave for the Woodstock gig, he didn’t have to go far. Porubiansky, his wife and four children live six miles from Century House Tavern.

Q: Why the move from Bacchanalia to Woodstock?

A: That’s a good one. The chance to be an owner is quite exhilarating. It is a lot more headaches, I’ll have to admit. To have a restaurant in your backyard is kind of cool. I do not miss that commute at all.

Q: Are your kids pleased about the move?

A: They love it. They come in the backdoor of the restaurant after school and say hi. On homecoming, my daughter came in and I got to see her in her dress and take a picture with her. Because of the distance from home, at Bacchanalia, I’d get a text and that would be about it.

Q: How did you end up in Woodstock in the first place?

A: We had outgrown our Dunwoody apartment. My brother had bought a house here before I did and you could get more for your money. I can remember driving here saying, ‘Gosh, this feels like this is the end of the world.”

Q: Does the food taste different in Woodstock?

A: I am still making my food. I still make my foie gras terrine but I call it the house made pate. People have been very receptive. This is not a fancy dancy place and there are no white tablecloths. But you can get still can get white tablecloth food. I just have to keep in mind that I can’t do that Seeger/Bacchanalia type portion.

Q: So no meat and threes?

A: We have meat and threes — totally. The menu was very successful before I got here. We do soups and salads and sandwiches. A lot of sandwiches.

Q: Do your diners in Woodstock call you “chef” or Daniel?

A: They use both.

Q: So are you working longer or shorter hours?

A: Longer right now. I hope it doesn’t stay that way. I just got my staff where I want it to be. That will enable me to take two days off instead of just one. I don’t want to get burned out in my own restaurant.

Q: Anything you miss about your old restaurant?

A: Bacchanalia has a very nice kitchen. If you saw my kitchen now, you wouldn’t believe that we do 450 covers on a Saturday night. They did a renovation for me to come here, but it is still just a room in a house.

Q: Do you ever get back to Atlanta?

A: I go shopping for the restaurant every third Tuesday. I am still going to go to Braves and Hawks games. My mom lives in Virginia-Highland and I have friends in town. I definitely still come into town.

Q: What do you like best about your new situation?

A: It is mine. If I succeed or fail, it is my doing. I took a leap of faith, leaving the best restaurant in the city to come to a little tavern in Woodstock. After six weeks, I knew I had made the right decision. This is my new home.

The Sunday Conversation is edited for length and clarity. Writer Ann Hardie can be reached by email at