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 Huteliere de Lausanne and was recruited by Morrison’s before founding Fifth Group. He is a long-time board member and advocate of Atlanta Community Food Bank. 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. H Stuart studied Advertising at the University of Texas and taught snow skiing and 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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Directors

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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Michael Ward
Director of Talent Acquisition
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With 25 years of industry experience, Michael Ward works to recruit and hire talented hospitality professionals who want to build meaningful careers at Fifth Group. During his 14-year tenure at Hard Rock International, Michael’s passion for service and hospitality operations led him to a position in talent acquisition, working with employees to advance their careers and achieve success. When he isn’t interviewing candidates, Michael can be found mountain biking, hiking and backpacking in the great outdoors.

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Mark Wilson
Director of Operations
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With more than two decades in restaurants and hospitality, Mark’s love for the industry and non-stop work ethic shine through in his role as Director of Operations. After growing up in Maryland and attending college in Salt Lake City, Mark joined the Fifth Group team in 2004, serving as general manager of La Tavola, South City Kitchen Vinings, El Taco, and Ecco. He loves to cook and entertain, play golf, and go fishing, a hobby he hopes to share with his kids.

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Jim Robertson
Director of Marketing
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Jim oversees all marketing activities for Fifth Group restaurants and Bold Catering & Design, taking on brand strategy, PR, advertising and shaping Fifth Group’s narrative. He’s built his career on helping luxury and lifestyle brands tell their own compelling stories, most recently at IHG, the world’s largest hotel group: He spent time as the Americas brand leader for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and managed IHG’s strategic marketing partnerships with the PGA TOUR and BMW Motorsport. When not telling the Fifth Group story, Jim finds joy with his dog Albert exploring Atlanta’s Intown neighborhoods. As a North Carolina native, Jim is a pork enthusiast and a long-suffering NC State fan.

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Dionne Ohmstead
Director of IT
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Dionne oversees all technology systems for 11 locations at Fifth Group Restaurants, making sure everything from the point of sale systems to the telephones stay in tip-top shape. She got into the restaurant industry in 1996, with a stint at Buckhead Life before beginning with Fifth Group in 2001. She loves to get outside and go cycling in her free time, especially when she gets to kick back afterward with a margarita.

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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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Mike Pankow
Director of Facilities
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As Director of Facilities, Mike is responsible for coordination of all construction projects from design through opening, as well as oversight of the Facilities team. Originally from the Chicago area, Mike worked in restaurant operations before moving down south and overseeing purchasing, construction and maintenance for a local sports bar restaurant chain that tripled in size during his tenure. In the community, Mike serves on the Board of Directors for a baseball park in Woodstock. He and his wife Brandy spend most of their “free” time watching their son, Judson, play baseball and wrestle, and their daughter, Hannah, play softball and do Irish dance. They love getting to get out and go camping on the rare occasion they don’t have a kid’s rec sports game to attend.

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Culinary

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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