Leadership

Offering our guests great places to dine and providing our employees great places to work: this combination of commitments keeps Fifth Group Restaurants at the top of Atlanta’s hospitality industry. We thrive with a leadership team united by a love of food and deep respect for extraordinary hospitality.

Partners

Robby Kukler

Partner
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Robby works with and mentors Fifth Group Restaurants’ Operations, Marketing and Recruiting teams while focusing on vision-based company growth and concept development opportunities. Robby knew from an early age that restaurant ownership was in his future: By age 16 he was creating menus for his future restaurants and working weekends as a busboy and bar back. After earning his degree in Food Systems & Economics Management from Michigan State University, he spent a summer at Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne and was recruited by Morrison’s before founding Fifth Group. He is a long-time advocate of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, where he is a past Chairman of the Board, and a board member of the Food Well Alliance, a local organization supporting urban agriculture and local farmers. Robby was recently honored as one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle's "Most Admired CEOs" of 2018. An adventurous food, wine and beer lover, he is equally excited about trying Buford Highway noodle shops as the country’s best restaurants.

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Steve Simon

Partner
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Responsible for all corporate finance, legal, facilities management and investor relations at Fifth Group Restaurants, Steve’s passionate about making Fifth Group Restaurants a leader in sustainable practices. After earning a degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from Michigan State University, he headed south to begin his restaurant career. Steve serves as a board member of the Green Foodservice Alliance and a member of the Midtown Alliance, serving both his interests and his community.

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Kris Reinhard

Partner
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As a Partner at Fifth Group Restaurants Partner and the General Manager at Bold, Kris leads Bold as it sets the events industry standard in Atlanta. After earning a degree in Hospitality, Restaurant & Institutional Management from Pennsylvania State University, Kris started with Fifth Group in 1993 and was named as partner in 1996. He serves as a board member of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. He’s a devout Phish Head and an avid race car fan and instructor.

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Stuart Fierman

Operating Partner, Director of Restaurants
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As Director of Restaurants, Stuart oversees operations for all Fifth Group restaurants, making sure that each of our businesses upholds the highest standard of service. Stuart studied Advertising at the University of Texas and taught snow skiing in California and New Zealand before he started running restaurants around the South, including years spent managing Fifth Group favorites La Tavola and South City Kitchen Midtown. His current responsibilities run the gamut: He facilitates staff training, streamlines processes within the restaurants to enhance both employee and guest experiences, works to sustain profitability, and much more.

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Leadership

Jennifer Scott

Vice President of People & Culture
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As Vice President of People & Culture, Jennifer brings a unique blend of insight into what it takes to operate a successful restaurant with a desire to listen, understand and grow. A UT Austin grad, she started her restaurant career as a server during summer break. Jennifer transitioned from operations management to human resources during her 19 years with Bar Louie, where she ended up as VP of Human Resources and earned vast industry experience. In her role with FGR, she oversees practices that ensure every team member is supporting the company’s mission to provide exceptional customer service and memorable dining experiences.

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Jon Barkell

Director of Operations
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With nearly three decades of industry experience, Jon Barkell brings a passion for hospitality and strong leadership skills to his role as director of operations. Starting off in Ocean City Maryland, Barkell made his way to Atlanta and began his 8-year tenure with FGR: He served as the opening general manager for Alma Cocina, then moved to South City Kitchen Midtown. When he isn’t in our restaurants, Barkell can be found cheering on his Baltimore Ravens and sipping a bourbon in his Westside home.

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David Bridges

Director of Operations
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With 20+ years of hospitality experience, David Bridges brings a passion for people and a gift for solving problems to his role as Director of Operations. From bars with sawdust floors to white tablecloth establishments, David’s restaurant career led him to management positions at Fifth Group’s La Tavola & South City Kitchen Midtown, where he was able to focus on providing great food and great service with his signature sense of humor and strong work ethic.

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Jami Horowitz

Director of Marketing & Communications
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Jami Horowitz joins Fifth Group Restaurants as Director of Marketing & Communications, bringing over 15 years of hospitality marketing experience to the established restaurant group. An Atlanta native, she graduated from the University of Georgia and has spent her career primarily building restaurant and beverage brands. Having strong experience in advertising, media, branding, and creative development, Jami has been proud to work with brands such as The Coca Cola Company and Focus Brands. At Fifth Group, she leverages her expertise to bring new ideas and thoughtful strategies to enrich and grow the business.

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Chuck Sobczuk

Director of Facilities
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With over twenty years of restaurant, hospitality, sales and maintenance experience, Chuck Sobczuk brings strong problem-solving skills and a passion for enhancing productivity to his role as Director of Facilities. Born and raised in Poland, Sobczuk moved to the US May of 1989, and began his career in the industry as the Restaurant Manager of La Madeline in 1997. Since joining Fifth Group Restaurants in November 2019, Sobczuk focuses on process improvement, managing and overseeing the maintenance of eleven restaurant properties’ building and grounds including Fifth Group’s headquarters in downtown Atlanta. When he’s not in our restaurants, he loves woodworking, entertaining at home or being outside on the lake with his wife and their two dogs.

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Troy Eichelberger

Director of IT
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With over 20 years of industry experience, Troy brings dynamic interpersonal skills and extensive knowledge of restaurant technology, F&B operations and hospitality. Prior to joining Fifth Group, Troy worked for NCR in Atlanta as their Global Product Manager. And prior to this, he led IT operations at Bar Louie including 115 company-owned stores and over 25 franchise locations first based in Chicago then out of Dallas, TX. As Director of IT Operations at Fifth Group, Troy leads and oversees all aspects of IT operations including development and implementation processes for the organization. When he’s not working or dining in our restaurants, Troy is either traveling or on the golf course!

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Richard Shirley

Vice President of Finance
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With over 30 years of finance experience under his belt, Richard Shirley joins the Fifth Group Restaurants family as Vice President of Finance. Richard graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology before becoming director of business planning and a key member of the IPO team for AFC Enterprises. He went on to work for Focus Brands for 13 years, directing strategic planning, running new product and concept analysis and steering operational finance for domestic/international franchises and restaurants. Prior to joining the Fifth Group team in September 2022, he served as CFO at Edible Arrangements and Atticus Franchise Group. As an Atlanta native and fan of the adored Fifth Group Restaurants, Richard looks forward to sharing his admiration for the ever-changing nature and fast-paced environment of the restaurant industry and how it affects effectiveness and profitability. Outside of the finance world, Richard loves hiking, playing golf, cooking and listening to live music.

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Jason Pristash

Controller
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Jason’s responsible for all financial administration throughout Fifth Group Restaurants and Bold Events - a byzantine task that he loves taking on and keeps our restaurants cooking. His hospitality career with him selling t-shirts at Planet Hollywood, later moving into accounting and working as National Regional Finance Director for House of Blues. This Chicago native loves the wonderful culture and people of the restaurant industry, and he also loves cats.

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Ian Mendelsohn

Director of Beverage Operations
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With over twenty years in restaurants, Ian brings passion, knowledge and a love of teaching to his role as Director of Beverage Operations. Ian has spent much of his career in the wine industry with his experiences ranging from sommelier to sales in St. Helena, CA, New York and Las Vegas. Additionally, the beverage enthusiast owned and operated Vine & Tap in Atlanta, a popular wine bar, from 2011-2017. While Ian loves all spirits, beer and wine, he prides himself as being a wine nerd, and he puts all his interests and experience to use overseeing the thoughtful beverage programs at six restaurant brands with multiple locations.

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Culinary

Mark Jeffers

Vice President of Culinary Operations
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As the Vice President of Culinary Operations, Mark guides the direction of Fifth Group’s menus, chef development and back-of-house standards across all locations. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Mark spent 12 years with the The Ritz-Carlton running on-premise and off-premise catering as well as designing, building and opening multiple award-winning restaurants. Most recently, he served as Director of Culinary Operations for the Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors, leading the development of the from-scratch food and beverage program. At Fifth Group, Mark challenges and inspires the creative choices of our executive chefs to reinforce a collaborative culture of culinary distinction in Atlanta's restaurant scene.

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Chip Ulbrich

South City Kitchen Culinary Director
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Overseeing all three of our South City Kitchen restaurants, Chip brings his unique contemporary blend of local ingredients, classic traditions and innovative presentations to these beloved Southern menus. Prior to his time as culinary director, Chip was the executive chef for South City Kitchen Midtown, Bold Events, and the Food Studio. Chip serves as a member of the American Culinary Federation and has also been named a Springer Mountain Farms “Celebrate the Chef” award winner. Highlights from his culinary endeavors have been featured in Food & Wine, Southern Living and Travel + Leisure.

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Eric Wolitzky

Executive Pastry Chef
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Eric creates the desserts at all of Fifth Group’s restaurants, developing dishes that ensure every meal ends on a sweet note. Prior to FGR, he worked at Baked in Brooklyn and Cakes and Ale in Decatur, and even appeared on Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts. He’s received praise from Bon Appétit for his desserts, earned a spot on Food & Wine’s “The People’s Best New Pastry Chef” list and was named a “Rising-Star Pastry Chef to Watch” by Atlanta Magazine.

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