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Mimmo Alboumeh of Silver Fork Restaurants: “Take risks”

In general, everyone should experience this country and travel to see how great we have it here. This is the best country in the world. Americans are great people, as a society we have the most down to earth people around. We are free here and shouldn’t take that for granted. Southerners, in particular, are friendly, […]

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In general, everyone should experience this country and travel to see how great we have it here. This is the best country in the world.

Americans are great people, as a society we have the most down to earth people around. We are free here and shouldn’t take that for granted. Southerners, in particular, are friendly, helpful and loyal. Southern hospitality is alive and well. I have Southern roots and I appreciate the warmth that goes with it.

I love the melting pot that is America — — the languages, cuisine and culture. I am welcome here and appreciated for what I bring to the community.


Is the American Dream still alive? If you speak to many of the immigrants we spoke to, who came to this country with nothing but grit, resilience, and a dream, they will tell you that it certainly is still alive.

As a part of our series about immigrant success stories, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mimmo Alboumeh. Committed to creating an unforgettable dining experience for each and every guest, Mimmo Alboumeh’s contagious spirit has not only landed him a loyal following, but it’s also earned him the reputation as one of Atlanta’s most personable restaurateurs and chefs.

Chef Mimmo opened the doors of Botica Restaurant in 2021 to rave reviews. Inspired by the flavors of Spain and Mexico, Botica offers elevated, chef-driven Mexican cuisine. Located in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, Botica showcases Mimmo’s unique brand of hybrid gastronomy.

Chef/Owner of the highly successful Red Pepper Taqueria’s multiple locations for 12 years and Maya Steaks & Seafood for five years, Chef Mimmo boasts more than 20 years experience in the culinary industry. Born in Lebanon, he grew up in Spain and spent time in Italy before moving to Georgia, where he brings a Mediterranean flair to his gourmet, freshly-sourced cuisine.

Chef Mimmo has become synonymous with made-from-scratch dishes bursting with flavor, as well as freshly made craft cocktails and family-friendly environments — — full of energy and fun. His loyal staff of front and back of the house professionals has been with Mimmo for nearly 20 years.

With a giving spirit and benevolent heart, Mimmo is active in each community he serves, and regularly hosts charitable events and participates in numerous signature fundraisers in Atlanta. Mimmo is actively involved with Frank Ski Kids Foundation, T.J. Martell Foundation, 100 Black Men, CURE Childhood Cancer, Second Helpings Atlanta, The Giving Kitchen, National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Additionally, he actively responds to local and national disasters with relief fundraisers, donating a generous percentage of proceeds to designated charities.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born in Lebanon and grew up in Italy and Spain. My grandmother and great grandmother were great cooks and I got my love of food and cooking from them.

Was there a particular trigger point that made you emigrate to the US? Can you tell us the story?

No real trigger point, but I heard about all the opportunity in the US and how my relatives were chasing the American dream. In 1995 I moved to Athens, GA to work at my family’s Mexican restaurants.

Can you tell us the story of how you came to the USA? What was that experience like?

I had a cultural shock when I arrived in the US, as everything here is so spread out. People are in closer proximity in Europe and friends will just show up to your house without an invitation. It is much more casual there. Everything here is planned in advance. That aside, I think the US is the best country on the planet.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped make the move more manageable? Can you share a story?

My wife, Debbie. If I hadn’t met her at the Mexican restaurant in Athens, GA, I would have moved back to Spain. She and I have a family of three wonderful children and we have a lot of relatives here. This is home.

So how are things going today?

I opened my seventh restaurant, Botica, January 1, 2021, to amazing reviews and great response, despite the pandemic. A new generation of highly specialized cuisine inspired by the flavors of Mexico and Spain, Botica by Chef Mimmo features in-house smoked meats and a made-from-scratch menu from seasonally fresh and locally sourced ingredients.

The 5,002-square-foot open, fun and lively ambiance — — associated with my brand — — includes seating for 180, a private dining room and 42 high definition flat screen TVs. Accordion doors open from the bar to al fresco dining for 100 on the 2,000-square-foot covered patio, equipped with heaters, fans and a ringside seat on Peachtree Road.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I feel very strongly about giving back for the many blessings I have received, so I am very involved in Atlanta’s charitable community. I consider my staff to be my family and I take very seriously the commitment I have made to them. I am inclusive. Everyone is welcome at my restaurants — — to work here and to dine here.

You have first hand experience with the US immigration system. If you had the power, which three things would you suggest to improve the system?

First, make it easier on them. Immigrants shouldn’t be looked down upon for leaving a country that is full of corruption or a country where they can’t count on the basic essentials of life — — water, electricity, food. Those coming in to the US must have good intentions to work hard and respect the system, not drain the system. When I arrived here, my cousins helped me acclimate to the American way of life. It would be wonderful to have an American advocate for each immigrant to ease their transition to our culture and society.

Can you share “5 keys to achieving the American dream” that others can learn from you? Please share a story or example for each.

1. Hard work and an unconditional commitment to succeed. I do believe this is the land of opportunity. I have had great success here and I owe it to my fierce dedication to succeed, the support of my family and the community I serve. I am blessed and I am grateful.

2. Take risks. If you never ask “what if” it’s difficult to grow. Nothing is a given so taking educated risks, coupled with hard work, has been a good formula for me. Not every risk pays off. I have failed many times, but it encouraged me to try again until I succeed. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?. I’ve learned so much in the process.

3. Believe you can harvest what you plant. In the restaurant industry, true success and profitability can take years. If you believe in yourself, your team and what you’ve created and built, success will follow.

4. Embrace the blessing of success and stay humble. As a business owner I have an obligation to create jobs and help people achieve their livelihoods and goals. It’s a good vibe to help contribute to others’ success.

5. Be a role mode and put your ego aside. As chef/owner, I’m hands-on and involved in every post in the restaurant, from serving, to dishwashing to cleaning. One of the best parts of being a restaurateur is teaching and mentoring and investing in those relationships. It’s very satisfying to see someone you invest in flourish.

We know that the US needs improvement. But are there 3 things that make you optimistic about the US’s future?

In general, everyone should experience this country and travel to see how great we have it here. This is the best country in the world.

Americans are great people, as a society we have the most down to earth people around. We are free here and shouldn’t take that for granted. Southerners, in particular, are friendly, helpful and loyal. Southern hospitality is alive and well. I have Southern roots and I appreciate the warmth that goes with it.

I love the melting pot that is America — — the languages, cuisine and culture. I am welcome here and appreciated for what I bring to the community.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Prince Harry. He wants a humble, real life. He did what he did for love, and I admire that. In the end what matters is our legacy.

What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online? www.eatbotica.com

@BoticaAtl @alboumehm

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


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