Tuesday, July 25, 2017

HOBNOB Launches “Friday Night Blues” in Midtown Beginning Aug. 4

For more information:
Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

Live Music Series Also Spotlights Local Breweries and Distilleries

ATLANTA (July 25, 2017) – Fans of HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern have been singing its praises for years. Starting in August, customers will begin singing the blues as well, as Atlanta’s favorite neighborhood spot launches Friday Night Blues at its original Midtown location. The weekly series promises top-notch blues music by great local bands, in addition to tap takeovers by beloved local breweries and beer-and-a-shot specials.

The series launches on Friday, Aug. 4 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. with a night of British blues music by the Backyardbirds, accompanied by a tap takeover courtesy of Orpheus Brewing. The beer-and-a-shot special will pair a draft selection from Orpheus with American Spirit Whiskey for $9.

August’s lineup of blues and beer pairings continues with the following:
·         Aug. 11: The Hollidays and Scofflaw Brewing Co.
·         Aug. 18: The Wild Hares and Eventide Brewing
·         Aug. 25: Tiki Tonk and Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Friday Night Blues runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday evening at HOBNOB in Midtown. Other upcoming breweries include Monday Night Brewing and SweetWater Brewing Company. Full beer lineups and beer-and-a-shot specials will be announced closer to each week’s event.

“Friday Night Blues is a great opportunity for us to introduce our guests to outstanding local beers and spirits while enhancing our reputation as a casual, friendly hangout with excellent service and an exciting atmosphere,” says owner Sean Yeremyan. “We’re looking forward to kicking off every weekend with these Friday nights to remember.”

HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern boasts two locations: 1551 Piedmont Ave. NE in Midtown, 404-968-2288; and 804 Town Boulevard in Brookhaven, 404-464-8971. HOBNOB serves lunch weekdays, dinner nightly and brunch on the weekends. For more information, visit hobnobatlanta.com, or follow HOBNOB on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for additional updates.


Shingo Gokan Wins International Bartender of the Year Award

For more information:
Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

Himitsu’s Creative Director Wins Top Prize at Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards®

ATLANTA (July 25, 2017) – Shingo Gokan, creative director and master mixologist behind Himitsu, was named International Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail’s 11th Annual Spirited Awards®. Gokan was recognized for having the most influence and impact on drink styles and cocktail culture this year.

The Spirited Awards® were founded in 2007 to recognize the efforts of the best and brightest professionals within the cocktail and spirits industries. This year there were more than 1,000 incredibly qualified nominations, consisting of the industry’s most talented professionals. Twenty-four awards were given out to the industry’s best bars, bartenders, writers, distillers and more during the Tales of the Cocktail® conference in New Orleans on Saturday, July 22, 2017.

“It is incredibly humbling to be recognized by the Tales of the Cocktails committee in front of my peers and supporters,” says Gokan. “The craft of cocktails has evolved dramatically over the past few years and I am excited to play a role in the bar scene not only in Atlanta but in Shanghai as well.”

Gokan started his career in Tokyo in 2001, achieving global recognition in 2012 when he took first place in the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition ahead of more than 10,000 bartenders from 26 countries. After that success, Gokan was the first guest bartender ever to be invited to the Savoy Hotel in London, and he has gone on to visit more than 30 countries across the world teaching a master class and guest bartending at the most historically celebrated venues.  He is currently the director for Sober Company in Shanghai, which opened this past February.

Himitsu (Japanese for “secret”) promises an intimate, Japanese speakeasy experience meant to complement a night out at Umi. The reservation only lounge offers an elegant spot to enjoy a craft cocktail or some sake before or after dinner at the restaurant, along with bites from executive chef Fuyuhiko Ito and pastry chef Lisa Ito. Himitsu is located at 3050 Peachtree Road N.E.

Gokan often documents his global adventures via Instagram. Follow along to see where he will end up next.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Bulla Gastrobar to Open in August at 12th & Midtown

For more information:
Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle
Melissa Libby & Associates

Authentic Spanish Cuisine and Creative Tapas in a Fun, Casual Setting

ATLANTA (July 21, 2017) – Bulla Gastrobar, a Florida-based restaurant by Centurion Restaurant Group,  draws on the tradition and excellence of Spain’s best tapas and promises a casual yet sophisticated dining experience with the opening of its first Atlanta location. Known for its fun, communal atmosphere, imaginative cocktail program and contemporary takes on shareable Spanish cuisine, Bulla (pronounced “boo-ya”) plans an August opening at 60 11th Street NE in the 12th & Midtown development.

“Bulla to me is a celebration of the best things about Spanish culture and dining,” says Carlos Centurion, president and founder of Centurion Restaurant Group. “We provide excellent food and service, but more than that, we give our guests an exceptional dining experience; one that is casual and relaxed but also tasteful and elegant.”

Inspired by the famous gastrobars of Spain, which balance creative dishes with a fun, laid-back environment, Bulla serves as both a neighborhood gathering place and a destination for authentic Spanish cuisine. The name Bulla comes from the Spanish slang word for chatter and captures the restaurant’s namesake setting. A gather-around-bar sits center stage, while an urban loft feel inspired by European design from the traditional tapas bars of Barcelona is blended with a lively interior playing off of a traditional Spanish marketplace.  

In this lively, animated environment, guests enjoy handcrafted cocktails and top-shelf beer and wine selections alongside a menu that employs the “alta cocina” approach to tapas, applying modern innovations to traditional Spanish recipes. Shareable offerings like Huevos ‘Bulla’ (with eggs, Serrano ham, potato foam, truffle oil and homemade potato chips) and Iberian ham croquettes (with Jamón Serrano and fig jelly) are characterized by bold flavors and fresh ingredients.

In addition, guests can enjoy larger signature entrées that feed two comfortably, including paella (Bomba rice, seafood, red sofrito and saffron); braised short ribs (with tetilla cheese, potato foam, cipollini onions and red wine sauce); and Iberian pork tenderloin (with sautéed apple and wild mushrooms in a rosemary demi-glace). 

Bulla Gastrobar currently has three South Florida locations around Miami and Winter Park. The Atlanta restaurant at 60 11th Street NE in Midtown Atlanta will serve lunch and dinner daily, with brunch on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 404-900-6926 or visit bullagastrobar.com.

For a selection of high-res images of Bulla Gastrobar, click here.

Centurion Restaurant Group is a company created by a food enthusiast founded on four pillars: share, passion, discover and soul. From the inviting ambiance and design of each of the restaurants to the world-class cuisine infused with authentic flavors, the group delivers a distinct experience to its guests. Under the leadership of seasoned restaurateurs, Centurion Restaurant Group is committed to delivering the highest level of hospitality and guest experience for each of its restaurant brands. The group’s core values and mission include creating unique environments, timeless concepts and outstanding food. Centurion Restaurant Group operates Bulla Gastrobar in Downtown Coral Gables, in The Shops at Downtown Doral and Winter Park Florida. Additionally, the group runs Pisco y Nazca at The Palms at Town & Country plaza in Kendall and Pisco y Nazca located in The Shops at Downtown Doral with plans of expanding both brands further in Florida and throughout the United States.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hojeij Branded Foods Acquires Premier Airport Wine Bar Chain Vino Volo

For more information:

 Morgan Lanier or Olivia Tuttle

Melissa Libby & Associates




The two companies will join forces to offer guests a one-of-a-kind high-end experience in a relaxed atmosphere in airports across North America

ATLANTA (July 20, 2017) - With its acquisition of North America’s largest airport wine bar and wine retail chain Vino Volo, Hojeij Branded Foods (HBF) creates a powerful new partnership, bringing together two companies that share an unwavering commitment to quality and an outstanding guest experience. Currently with more than 40 locations in 32 airports throughout North America, Vino Volo (Italian for “wine flight”) has an unparalleled reputation for offering guests a premier experience with wines from around the world by the glass.

“Combining the forces of HBF and Vino Volo is a natural fit for both companies,” says HBF CEO Regynald G. Washington. “Vino Volo believes as we do that modern travelers expect and deserve a high-end airport wine experience. Both organizations are widely recognized for operational expertise, top-notch guest service and a strong commitment to employees. As a result of this acquisition, HBF is now uniquely positioned to serve more guests in more cities than ever before.”

Like HBF, Vino Volo has received extensive accolades from the industry, counting 34 Airport Revenue News awards, including "Food Operator with Highest Regard for Customer Service" 11 years in a row and “Best Airport Wine Bar” at the Airport Food & Beverage awards.  With the company’s commitment to bringing the wine country experience to business travelers, Vino Volo has become a customer favorite by offering a relaxed, knowledgeable atmosphere and the combined services of a lounge, restaurant-quality light bites and wine shop to travelers on the go.

“We are delighted to join forces with HBF,” says Vino Volo CEO Doug Tomlinson, who founded the company in 2004 in San Francisco. “Like HBF, Vino Volo has experienced tremendous growth by delivering high quality and an exceptional experience. With our shared guest-centered culture, the two companies have achieved success by building unique, complementary strengths and assets.  By now joining forces, we are confident that the combined company will see even greater growth.”

Wassim Hojeij, founder of HBF added, “This acquisition is a continuation of our strategy of partnering with top brands and delivering a level of service and quality unparalleled in the airport industry.  This also continues our goal of becoming one of the largest and the best airport food and beverage operators in North America.”

With the retention of Vino Volo founder Tomlinson as president, Vino Volo will become a wholly owned subsidiary of HBF, run by Vino Volo’s current leadership team under the leadership of the HBF CEO.

Together, HBF and Vino Volo are exceptionally well positioned to embrace and enhance HBF’s mission of “enhancing the passenger’s dining experience, one airport at a time.”

About Hojeij Branded Foods

Hojeij Branded Foods (HBF) is an Atlanta-based company operating more than 70 restaurants and bars across 14 airports in the United States.  HBF’s portfolio includes over 40 widely known national, regional, and local brands that range from full service to fast casual and quick serve.  Across all its locations, HBF strives for operational excellence and outstanding service in order to deliver on its mission of “Enhancing the passenger’s dining experience, one airport at a time.”  HBF is a Morgan Stanley Private Equity Portfolio Company.  For more information, visit www.hbfairports.com.        

About Vino Volo

Vino Volo establishments combine an upscale wine lounge, restaurant and boutique wine shop under one roof, and are primarily located in airports across  North America. Vino Volo (derived from “wine flight” in Italian) is a trusted wine authority that makes wine approachable, offering hand-selected wines from around the world by the glass, in tasting flights and by the bottle for customers to take home or have shipped. Vino Volo also offers a Wine Club for enthusiasts and a loyalty program to reward its guests. For more information, visit www.vinovolo.com.