Monday, February 27, 2017

Smokebelly BBQ Now Hosting Sunday Brunch

For more information:
Morgan Lanier
Melissa Libby & Associates

Buckhead Barbecue Spot Serving Up Creative Takes on Traditional Favorites

ATLANTA (Feb. 27, 2017) – Smokebelly BBQ, already Atlanta’s leading destination for delicious, chef-crafted barbecue for lunch and dinner, hopes to become the city’s favorite spot for Sunday brunch, as well. The popular Buckhead restaurant is now offering a unique menu of brunch favorites, including a Bloody Mary bar and $4 mimosas and Bellinis, every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Barbecue is a classic culinary tradition, and so is Sunday brunch,” says Smokebelly BBQ co-owner John Piemonte. “We are bringing these two institutions together and giving our customers a dining experience they haven’t had before.”

Adds executive chef Michelle Matlock, “Barbecue and brunch are both about comfort and tradition. What’s been fun for us is staying true to that, while applying the same creativity and passion that defines our approach to barbecue.”

The brunch menu is anchored by a lineup of inspired takes on timeless brunch favorites. Sweet potato pancakes are layered with sweet potato soufflé and topped with bourbon cinnamon crème ($12), while the smoked Benny, the restaurant’s twist on eggs Benedict, features poached, farm-fresh eggs over two grilled biscuit halves, served with beef brisket and chipotle hollandaise and a choice of brunch potatoes or creamy cheese grits ($13). French toast comes stuffed with bananas Foster, cream cheese and Myer’s rum, garnished with praline bacon crumbles ($11).

Other selections offer delicious versions of Southern staples and include:
·         Smokebelly traditional breakfast - two farm-fresh eggs served your way, a buttermilk biscuit, a grilled tomato wedge and brunch potatoes or creamy cheese grits with a choice of bacon, sausage, pulled pork or smoked brisket ($12)
·         Chicken and biscuits and gravy - golden fried chicken breast served over fresh-baked, grilled halves of a buttermilk biscuit and served with Smokebelly’s signature sausage gravy and two eggs made to order ($14)
·         Farmhouse biscuit sandwich - choice of sage sausage, Dijon, smoked Gouda and a fried egg; fried chicken and a fried egg; or bacon, pulled pork, pepperjack cheese and a fried egg ($11)
·         Cajun jambalaya omelet - stuffed with sautéed peppers and onions, spicy tasso ham and pepper jack cheese ($12)

Familiar favorites from Smokebelly’s regular menu of BBQ tapas starters (Brunswick stew, smoked brisket chili and smoked wings) and savory sandwiches (pulled pork, Angus beef brisket and the Smokebelly signature burger), round out the menu, along with  BBQ plates, combos, salads and sides.

It wouldn’t be Sunday brunch without an adult beverage, and Smokebelly doesn’t disappoint in this arena. The Tito’s Bloody Mary bar ($10) includes a selection of mixes and more than 20 seasonings and garnishes including pork rinds, bacon, pickles, pickled okra, jalapeños, hot sauce and more. Guests can also enjoy mimosas ($4) and Bellinis ($4), as well as signature sips like the Nice Pear (pisco, pear brandy, velvet falernum, lemon, bitters and Prosecco - $10) and the Log Cabin (apple brandy, pecan bitters, bourbon, maple syrup and Angostura bitters - $9). The beverage menu also features the Michelada (Bloody Mary mix combined with your choice of Miller Lite, Coors Lite, Bud Light or Dos Equis in a salt-rimmed glass - $6) and an assortment of coffee cocktails, wines and draft, bottled and canned beers.

About Smokebelly BBQ
Smokebelly BBQ is located at 128 East Andrews Drive. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The bar stays open later. Parking is available at the restaurant. For more information, visit or call 404-848-9100.


Monday, February 20, 2017

White Oak Pastures and Oriol Family Re-Introduce Iberian Pork to American Market for First Time in 500 Years

 For more information:
 Emily Connolly or Morgan Lanier
Melissa Libby & Associates

White Oak Pastures And Oriol Family Join Forces To Re-Introduce
 Iberian Pork To American Market For First Time In 500 Years
Fifth-Generation Family Farm and Spanish Partners Form Iberian Pastures LLC
to Raise Exquisite Pigs in South Georgia

ATLANTA (Feb. 20, 2017) –  White Oak Pastures’ owner Will Harris and Jaime and Kurt Oriol of Cobacha, LLC are announcing their joint venture, known as Iberian Pastures LLC, formed to import Iberian hogs from Spain into the United States for raising, breeding and slaughtering on Harris’ Bluffton, Georgia, farm. The creation of Iberian Pastures represents another extension of White Oak Pastures’ commitment to the welfare of its animals, environmental sustainability, locally produced food and quality meat.

“The live production concept of Iberian pigs fits perfectly into our system, as the standard in Spain is to raise these pigs in the woods and allow them to forage for their food,” says Harris. “Our goal is to produce these wonderful pork products in South Georgia from our very own herd.”  

Prior to 2013, both the Spanish and U.S. governments forbade any exportation of the live animals. With a change in policy came Jaime and Kurt Oriol, a father and son team with a family history of raising Iberian hogs in Southwest Spain who translated the new U.S. importation policy for the Spanish government, knocking on Harris’ door in late summer 2013.

“Right after the regulations changed, we planned a tour of top American farms that we were interested in partnering with,” Kurt Oriol recalls. “White Oak Pastures was our third stop, and we ended up cancelling the rest of our trip. The farm is perfect, not only because of its land, its pastured animals and its success with national distribution, but because of the culture there and the family approach. White Oak Pastures’ values instilled confidence in us, and now we see them as a family. That trust comes before all else,” he adds.

Together, the partners purchased and imported 26 gilts (young females) and six boars (young uncastrated males) that same year. The Spanish-born pigs were first flown to Amsterdam and then New York City, with each leg of the journey ending in a 30-day quarantine per USDA regulations. Harris and his team drove two stock trailers to New York City in the midst of a December blizzard to pick up the pigs and transport them to his Bluffton farm. Ever since that snowy journey, the animals have surpassed Harris’ greatest expectations, and the initial 26 gilts have all had babies that have farrowed. Those offspring are being bred now, and Iberian Pastures currently has three generations of the Iberian breed in production with all of the now 300 pigs faring extremely well. “It has taken patient capital, but we are very optimistic as the curing process begins,” says Harris.

These Iberian hogs are desirable for three main reasons: their genetics, their diet and their versatility. The genetic composition of Iberian pigs makes for the most efficient draining and marbling of fat, and how they process oleic content in their final months is fundamental to the overall quality of the pork. Oftentimes in Spain, these pigs are bred with other types of swine to lower production costs and are therefore not 100% Iberian; Iberian Pastures’ pork is 100% pure Iberian.

Traditionally, Iberian pigs graze on acorns. Iberian Pastures pigs are raised on a diet of peanuts and pecans, putting a South Georgia twist on the Spanish tradition. Although the farm already had some pecan trees on its grounds, Harris also purchased a 30-acre pecan orchard, now a contiguous part of the farm’s 2,500 acres, in preparation for the pigs. Harris has been drawing fat samples from some of the pigs to be sure that his methods are working. “The fatty profiles look to be exactly equal and probably better than the best Spanish boars,” he says. “It may even be more desirable.”

Iberian pigs feature several fresh meat cuts that would be dismissed as trimmings in the average American pig. Iberian Pastures is offering eight of these cuts, including the papada (jowl), lagarto (long strip of meat between chop and loin), presa (cut between top of shoulder and beginning of loin) and secreto (secret layer of meat within the lard on top front of belly), in addition to bone-in rib chops and bone-in loin chops. Although cooked differently than the pork consumers are accustomed to in the United States, the preparation methods for these fresh cuts are simple enough to be done in both a backyard grilling environment or in a more elaborate kitchen format.

While the slaughtering process is the same, the butchery of Iberian hogs differs drastically from traditional American pork. “The difference is in the fabrication of the carcass,” explains Brian Sapp, director of operations for White Oak Pastures. “Instead of splitting the hog down the middle, we must split it down both sides of the backbone in order to pull out the boneless cuts one by one.” 

Sapp, a master butcher, traveled to Badajoz, Spain, in March 2015 to study the butchery of these special hogs and spent time at slaughter and curing facility Señorío De Montanera. He also spent time on multiple Spanish farms to learn exactly how the animals are raised and fed. “The free range lifestyle of these pigs meets all the criteria that we strive for at White Oak Pastures; Iberian Pastures has the same production model that defines our farm, and that is exciting to our customers,” he says.

Iberian Pastures is sending hams and shoulders from the slaughtered Iberian hogs to a curing facility in Norwalk, Iowa, called La Quercia. The curing process ranges from three months for dry cured sausages to 24-30 months for hams. “Curing this kind of ham is a real artisan endeavor,” says Harris. “After traveling to several curing houses, we ultimately decided on La Quercia because they are the best in the country and have been doing this old European dry curing process for many generations.”

The introduction of these Iberian pork products into White Oak Pastures’ inventory is a natural addition to the farm’s offerings of high-quality animal proteins that customers can feel good about eating. “The American pork industry has really gotten away from fat, especially marbling in the meat, and our new Iberian offerings will really take it back to tasting like pork again,” says Sapp of what consumers can expect from these new products.

To celebrate the slaughter of the first set of 27 Iberian pigs and the beginning of the curing process, Iberian Pastures hosted a small event at White Oak Pastures in early February. On hand to educate attendees in the traditional preparations of Iberian pork were Spanish chefs Manuel Berganza of Andanada in New York City and Alejandro Hormaecha of Sacha in Madrid, who prepared the fresh meat with Reid Harrison of White Oak Pastures. “We felt it was important for chefs Berganza and Hormaecha to give a sense of direction on how to treat these cuts, but we want to reinforce the idea that these preparation methods are accessible; this is not an untouchable gold standard,” says Oriol.

The farm is also working on an informational kit to include preparation tips and recipes that will be available on White Oak Pastures’ website in the near future.  “It’s an honor to introduce these specialty products here in the U.S., and we’re excited to share these Spanish traditions with our customers who might not have the chance to go to Spain,” says Sapp.

Beginning this month, the fresh meat from the Iberian hogs is available for purchase both at the farm and online. As always, the farm is utilizing the whole animal, turning the Iberian pigs’ ears into chew toys for dogs, saving the fat to make lard and preparing broth with the bones. Due to limited product availability, Iberian Pastures also has a retail booking program online to ensure interested consumers have the opportunity to purchase a guaranteed supply.

About White Oak Pastures
White Oak Pastures is a multigenerational, family-owned farm committed to the principles of sustainability and stewardship by raising five red meat (cows, sheep, goats, rabbits and hogs) and five poultry (chickens, turkeys, guineas, ducks and geese) species. It is the only farm in the nation that humanely hand-butchers both red meat and poultry species on site under USDA inspection. This takes place in White Oak Pastures’ own abattoir designed by Dr. Temple Grandin. The fifth-generation farm, led by owner Will Harris, has operated continuously on the same land in Southwest Georgia for more than 150 years. White Oak Pastures cooperates with nature to produce artisan products that are healthy, safe and nutritious. Care is given to ensure that all production practices are economically practical, ecologically sustainable and that the animals are always treated humanely. White Oak Pastures never falters in conducting business in an honorable manner, for the sake of the animals, the land and the people eating the products. The farm now also offers on-site lodging and dining.

Harris and White Oak Pastures have received the following awards for setting farming standards, contributing to the restaurant industry and being dedicated to the sustainability of organic farming in Georgia: Savory Global Network Hub, 2016 Sustainable Land Stewardship Award from Georgia Organics, 2014’s Most Respected Business Person of the Year by Georgia Trend Magazine, 2013 Swisher Sunbelt Farmer of the Year, 2012 American Treasures Award from MADE: In America, 2012 Centennial Family Award, 2012 Distinguished Conservationist, 2012 LDEI Green Ribbon Recipient, 2011 Georgia’s Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, 2011 Georgia Restaurant Association’s Innovator Award and Will Harris inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans and Chefs.

White Oak Pastures also holds several certifications including: Certified Naturally Grown for cattle, lamb and goat, Certified Grassfed by the American Grassfed Association, Certified Humane by the Humane Farm Animal Care, Animal Welfare Approved by Animal Welfare Institute, Master Cattleman by the University of Georgia, Certified Organic by Georgia Crop Improvement Association and Good Management Practices approved by Silliker, Inc.

White Oak Pastures products can be purchased at more than 1,000 Publix supermarkets throughout the Southeast and at Whole Foods Market locations from Miami to Princeton, New Jersey. The beef is distributed by Kelly's Foods, Buckhead Beef, Cheney Brothers, Sysco Gulf Coast, PFG, Maplevale Farms, Merchants and US Foods. Customers can also place orders online. White Oak Pastures is located at 22775 Highway 27 in Bluffton, Georgia.  For more information, call (229) 641-2081 or visit

About Cobacha, LLC
Cobacha is a private investment firm. In addition to its involvement in the Iberian Pastures venture, Cobacha is also the exclusive marketer for Arbor Shield, a tree protection technology that initially began as an effort to protect newly planted trees from Iberian pigs in the savannahs of Spain. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar Celebrates First Anniversary with Oysterfest

For more information:
 Emily Connolly or Morgan Lanier
Melissa Libby & Associates

Doug Turbush’s Marietta Restaurant Hosts Week of Specials, Pairing Dinners and More, March 1-7

ATLANTA (Feb. 15, 2017) – Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar, East Cobb’s premier destination for approachable, chef-driven seafood, is celebrating its first anniversary. To mark the occasion, chef/owner Doug Turbush is pleased to announce Oysterfest, a week-long birthday bash (March 1-7) featuring daily specials, chef demonstrations and two delicious pairing dinners showcasing the restaurant’s namesake mollusk, the oyster.

“We want to celebrate our anniversary and also show our sincere appreciation to our guests,” says Turbush. “The Atlanta area, and East Cobb and Marietta in particular, have fully embraced Drift. This is our small way of saying ‘thank you’ with delicious oysters and one-of-a-kind events.”

Oysterfest highlights include the following:

- Oyster happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. weekdays (March 1-3 and 6-7) and from 3-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (March 4-5) featuring:
  • half-shell, half-priced oysters
  • “Buck-a-shuck” oyster of the day
  • $5 house punch

- A $35 Oysterfest prix fixe menu available each day. The menu includes:
  • Appetizer choice of cold smoked oysters, beef carpaccio and fried oysters or wood oven oysters Rockefeller
  • Entrée selection of Jonah crab roll on a toasted H&F bun, wild caught shrimp over saffron Bomba rice or wood-grilled Bay of Fundy salmon
  • Dessert choice of key lime pie, caramel apple bread pudding or chocolate chess pie
  • All day “buck-a-shuck” oysters and $5 Terrapin Hi-5 IPA every day

- “Oyster 101” chef demonstrations 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 4-5
  • Turbush and sous chef William Puryear teach guests all about the world of oysters, oyster farming, oyster etiquette and how to pair oysters with wine and beer
  • Guests will enjoy a selection of raw oysters, oyster hors d’ oeuvre and sparkling wine 
  • Tickets are $25 per person and available for purchase online.

On Thursday, March 2, Drift hosts a five-course, oyster-centric dinner featuring wine pairings from Iron Horse Vineyards, a family owned California vineyard beloved for its elegant, finely balanced wines. Special guest Joy Anne Sterling, the winery’s CEO, will discuss each pairing selection on the menu, which features a “pearls” starter of UGA caviar with chawan mushi custard and Alaskan king crab; wagyu beef carpaccio and fried oysters; New Bedford scallops; red wine-braised veal cheek and chocolate chess pie. Tickets for the $119 per-person dinner are available online.

On Tuesday, March 7, the restaurant hosts a five-course dinner with beer pairings from Athens-based Terrapin Beer Co. The menu includes cold-smoked oysters; steak tartare and cornmeal-fried oysters; wood- and spice-grilled tuna; oatmeal stout-braised pork cheeks and rhubarb buckle with poppy seed buttermilk ice cream. The price is $79 per person, and tickets may be purchased online.

Located in The Avenue East Cobb at 4475 Roswell Road in Marietta, Drift serves lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, with brunch and dinner on Sunday. For more information, call 770-635-7641 or visit


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sweet Charlie’s Rolling into Buckhead Late Spring

For more information:
 Emily Connolly or Morgan Lanier
Melissa Libby & Associates

Sweet Charlie’s ROLLING Into Buckhead LATE SPRING
Interactive Phenomenon from Philadelphia Bringing Rolled Ice Cream Experience
 to Atlanta; Lease Signed for 3872 Roswell Road

ATLANTA (Feb. 9, 2016) - Sweet Charlie’s, the Philadelphia-based, rolled ice cream and yogurt phenomenon has signed a lease at 3872 Roswell Road in Buckhead (next to Superica). Opening late spring 2017, this will be the first-ever franchise location for the young brand, which features a hand-rolled, made to order dessert sensation that Forbes recently dubbed “the cool new trend in Asian sweets.”

Sweet Charlie’s is the brainchild of 19-year-old entrepreneur Kyle Billig, who after watching a video about the overseas trend of Thai-inspired rolled ice cream, teamed up with his older brother Jacob and figured out a way to duplicate and Americanize the delicious treat.

“We’re incredibly excited to debut our first Sweet Charlie’s franchise in Atlanta,” says Kyle Billig. “For us, it’s not just about serving ice cream; it’s about creating a revolution through new ways of making ice cream and flavors that customers love.”

Sweet Charlie’s combines the art of making rolled ice cream with its unique brand of crowd-pleasing modern American showmanship to create a one-of-a-kind, social experience for all ages. It starts with a base of either premium ice cream, nonfat yogurt or the company’s Nada-Moo vegan option. Customers then select a cup or one of Sweet Charlie’s signature oven-baked glazed donuts as an ice cream- carrying container and finally, one of Sweet Charlie’s signature flavors and toppings.

Each ice cream or frozen yogurt at Sweet Charlie’s is made to order on a super-cold surface that is below 20 degrees. Because the surface is so cold, very small ice crystals are formed quickly, eliminating the need to add stabilizers, emulsifiers and preservatives.

“In Philadelphia, people stand in line in the freezing cold for our rolled ice cream. Since Atlantans enjoy warmer temperatures throughout the year, we’re hoping that’s even better for business!” says Steve Billig, Sweet Charlie’s chief financial officer. “We look forward to being very involved throughout the development and launch of the first Sweet Charlie’s franchise in Atlanta, cutting the ribbon on opening day and meeting our newest customers.”   

The company has additional locations scheduled to open in Delaware and New Jersey this summer. For more information about Sweet Charlie’s in Buckhead, visit
About Sweet Charlie’s
We combine the art of making ice cream rolls with modern American showmanship to create a one of a kind experience for all ages. Each ice cream or frozen yogurt is made to order on a super, cold surface that is below 20 degrees. Because the surface is so cold, very small ice crystals are formed quickly. These ice crystals create the freshest, healthiest, most delicious end product. Our unique process eliminates the need to add stabilizers, emulsifiers, and preservatives like the other guys. The best part is… it tastes delicious! Visit us at


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Hojeij Branded Foods Welcomes Denise Fowlin-Mignott as New Global Food Safety Specialist

For more information:
 Emily Connolly or Morgan Lanier
Melissa Libby & Associates

Hojeij Branded Foods Welcomes Denise Fowlin-Mignott
as New Global Food Safety Specialist
Public health expert is uniquely qualified to help company become a global leader
in food safety

ATLANTA (Feb. 8, 2017) - In her new role as Hojeij Branded Foods’ (HBF) global food safety specialist, Denise Fowlin-Mignott is working behind the scenes to take some of the stress out of flying for guests. Fowlin-Mignott, who has dedicated her career to public health initiatives, is now responsible for instituting food safety best practices for over 2,000 employees at more than 75 HBF foodservice locations at 14 airports across the country.

In addition to traveling to locations daily to work with HBF restaurant leaders to check food temperatures and review food logs and records, Fowlin-Mignott makes sure all foodservice operations are running above and beyond government standards for food safety.

Fowlin-Mignott began as a nursing major at Southern Connecticut State University but quickly realized she would be able to help more people by switching to a public health concentration. She began her career going restaurant to restaurant with her food thermometers as a local health inspector and now oversees HBF’s exemplary food safety practices.

“We are focused on training and creating a superior food safety culture with all of our staff,” she says. “HBF is positioning itself to be a global leader in food safety, and it’s exciting to be a part of that.”

Fowlin-Mignott also oversees a unique company-wide communications system designed to send valuable real-time updates to its locations across the country anytime a food recall is received by a supplier so swift action can be taken.

“Food safety has been my passion my entire career,” says Fowlin-Mignott. “If I’m doing my job correctly, our guests may never meet me or even know about my role. That’s fine with me. Just knowing that each guest is the beneficiary of that work is incredibly rewarding.”

About Hojeij Branded Foods
Hojeij Branded Foods is a Morgan Stanley Private Equity Portfolio Company founded by Wassim Hojeij, president of business development. HBF is an Atlanta-based company operating more than 75 restaurants and bars with over 40 widely known national, regional and local brands in its U.S. portfolio. For more information, visit


Thursday, February 2, 2017

KUDU Safari Braai’s Innovative Live Fire Cooking System Goes International

For more information:
 Emily Connolly or Morgan Lanier
Melissa Libby & Associates

USA eShop to Distribute South African Inspired, American Made Grills in Europe

ATLANTA (Feb. 2, 2017) – The KUDU Safari Braai, a Macon, Georgia-based manufacturer of open fire grilling systems, has recently appointed American multiple channel sales organization USA eShop LLC to distribute its product range in Europe. KUDU’s products were launched in the United States in fall 2016, and its patented elevated grate system allows users to cook different components of a meal on multiple surfaces simultaneously, all over an open fire. Named for the universal South African word for grilling meat over coals, a simple act that has turned into a beloved cultural touchstone, KUDU Safari Braai educates and unites grilling enthusiasts while also teaching users to slow down and take stock in the things they care about most.

“Ever since KUDU launched, we have had great interest from the European market,” says Stebin Horne, founder of KUDU Safari Braai. “Europeans love open fire grilling, and the KUDU has perfected its product for the residential consumer to enjoy. When looking to expand our footprint, the obvious choice was Jerry Smith and USA eShop. They have built an incredible e-commerce organization allowing American made products to access consumers throughout Europe,” he adds.

USA eShop is an award-winning exporter of American made products that connects businesses like KUDU to global markets through a blend of export management and global e-commerce channels. Additionally, through its United Kingdom-based warehouse and fulfillment center, the company sells to Amazon/Europe and B2B operations.

“We are very excited about forging a relationship with KUDU,” says Jerry Smith, founder and CEO of USA eShop. “Outdoor grilling is a growing market in Europe, and the ability to offer such an outstanding and high quality grill to our customer base has great potential for increasing both companies’ revenues."

The KUDU’s simplistic yet sturdy form is meant to last a lifetime and makes the grilling process straightforward and intuitive. Portability is another prominent aspect of the grill’s design, making it easy to pack up, put in the back of a car and take to a friend’s house for a shared culinary experience. The company also offers a line of accessories to further enhance the grilling experience.

KUDU Safari Braai products are currently sold online and in select grill and hardware stores. More information can be found online at or by calling 404-719-8063. Follow KUDU on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for further updates.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hojeij Branded Foods Welcomes New Chief Development Officer, Andrew Weddig

For more information:
 Emily Connolly or Morgan Lanier
Melissa Libby & Associates

Airport food and beverage expert overseeing the
addition of exciting new brands 
to company portfolio

ATLANTA (Feb. 1, 2017) - After spending 20 years helping airports across the country determine the next food and beverage trends, Andrew Weddig is now bringing his expertise and skill set to the other side of the business transaction as Hojeij Branded Foods’ (HBF) chief development officer. His focus is on continuing to bring innovative culinary and beverage brands to HBF airport properties in cities like Atlanta, Washington D.C., Baltimore, San Francisco and Orlando and expanding the company’s industry-redefining guest engagement initiatives.

Formerly a longtime senior vice president for Unison Consulting, Weddig has dedicated much of his career to assisting airports in implementing and managing their food and beverage programs. “I’ve seen many larger companies handcuffed by their size,” says Weddig. “HBF is not afraid to be creative, introduce exciting new brands to our guests like Cat Cora’s Kitchen and position themselves to be an industry leader.”

Says Wassim Hojeij, co-founder and president of business development for HBF: “We’re excited to welcome Andy and his industry expertise to the HBF family. One of the cornerstones of our success has always been to attract the best people and give them the opportunity to excel at what they do. With talent like Andy in place, we are positioned for even more growth in 2017.”

Explains Weddig, “No one goes to the airport strictly to shop or dine. Our job is to create a memorable experience and engage our guests so they want to return time and time again. Introducing inventive, unique dining opportunities, including The Plant Café Organic in San Francisco and Varasano’s Pizzeria in Atlanta, is a great way for us to achieve that.”

Weddig is flying across the country regularly and has an opportunity to interact with the company’s brands himself. “Even at a peak time of 7 a.m. on a recent trip, I walked into one of our restaurants without anyone knowing who I was and experienced the friendliness, the accuracy, the speed and the smile that’s the trademark of HBF’s guest services,” says Weddig. “It’s a vivid example of what sets us apart and why I’m proud to be a part of this company.”

About Hojeij Branded Foods
Hojeij Branded Foods is a Morgan Stanley Private Equity Portfolio Company founded by Wassim Hojeij, president of business development. HBF is an Atlanta-based company operating more than 75 restaurants and bars with over 40 widely known national, regional and local brands in its U.S. portfolio. For more information, visit