Skip navigation
Gocha Hawkins attributes her success to a genuine passion for the restaurant business.

Celebrity hairstylist turned restaurateur Gocha Hawkins expands service at her Atlanta Breakfast Bar by opening an adjacent food truck

Now with two Breakfast Bar locations and one more on the way, she plans to open a tapas restaurant

For nearly three decades, Gocha Hawkins was a hairstylist, counting celebrities like Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé and Serena Williams as clients. But it’s her second act that’s drawing the attention of hungry diners in Georgia.

While working at her hair salon in Atlanta’s Cascade Heights neighborhood, Hawkins noticed that the area was underrepresented by restaurants.

“There really wasn’t any nice dining in the neighborhood,” she said. “So, I thought it would be nice to bring a restaurant to the community. A breakfast joint didn’t yet exist in the area, so it seemed like a good opportunity.”

Hawkins has always enjoyed cooking for friends and family, but she had no professional experience running a restaurant. That didn’t stop her from finding a 2,000-square-foot space and opening the doors to Breakfast Bar in January 2019. The menu features waffles, pancakes, omelets, biscuits and gravy ($7.25), avocado toast topped with tomatoes and pickled onions (12.95), shrimp and grits ($17.95), and a chicken BLT ($14.95). The full bar serves beer, wine and cocktails. Service runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Breakfast Bar was never set up as to-go spot. Hawkins preferred her food to be eaten fresh and presented with real tableware. But during the pandemic, she pivoted to takeout orders like everyone else. Once restrictions relaxed, she was still getting so many to-go orders that it interfered with the in-person dining experience. That’s when she decided to open the food truck.

“With our small space and kitchen, we just didn’t have the capacity to fulfill to-go orders, so we began to exclusively serve those from the truck,” said Hawkins. This dual-pronged approach increased sales, decreased stress on the staff, and created a better experience for customers.

Today, Hawkins also operates a Breakfast Bar location in Fayetteville, Ga., and she’s currently negotiating a lease to open another Atlanta location. In the meantime, she’s working on a new tapas restaurant that she describes as more of a small plates concept than traditional Spanish. Located just a few minutes from Breakfast Bar’s Cascade Heights location, the 1,400-square-foot interior is supplemented by a spacious 2,100-square-foot patio. She plans to bring in musicians to perform and might host comedy nights in the lounge-y space.

“This neighborhood is still missing upscale restaurants,” said Hawkins. “Right now everyone has to drive to Buckhead, so I thought it’s a great area to open another spot, and there isn’t a tapas restaurant over here.” She’s waiting on permits but hopes to open the doors this summer.

Hawkins attributes her success to a genuine passion for the restaurant business.


“It’s hard work. You have to be passionate about it, be committed to it and stay consistent,” she said. “I work in the restaurant. I didn’t just open it and have someone else manage it and send me money.”

Hawkins developed all the recipes and still makes the sauces from scratch — everything except the ketchup and mustard. She’s settled into a groove as a multi-store owner, but notes that staffing is an issue.

“Everyone is dealing with the same thing in this industry,” she said. “It has gotten a little easier, but then we have other obstacles, like inventory, increased food costs and labor costs from paying higher wages.” Some of that can be passed on to the guest, but she’s wary about raising prices and losing customers.

“It’s a balancing act and a challenge. We’re just trying hard to focus on customer service, high food quality and consistency.” 

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.