Today we’d like to introduce you to Tal Baum.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I moved to Florence, Italy, at the age of 21 to study architecture at Florence University. Living in Italy opened my eyes to a completely different approach towards food and hospitality. I discovered a whole new appreciation towards ingredients, sourcing and telling the story behind them. During my seven years in Italy, I mastered the language and developed an intimate knowledge of Italian cuisine.
It was this culinary journey, coupled with my architecture and entrepreneurial background, that inspired me to open Bellina in 2015. After 3 successful years in business, I finally feel ready to face my roots and open two new concepts that will be sharing the culture and hospitality traditions I grew up within Israel. Rina, located in Ponce de Leon next to Ponce City Market just off of the Eastside BeltLine trail will serve Israeli street food with a menu that centers around quick bites and lighter fare like skewers, pita sandwiches, falafel, and salads. Aziza in Westside Provisions District will feature a larger menu and expose the guests to some less known middle eastern, more sophisticated dishes. Both restaurants are planned to open in spring 2019.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It is never a smooth road. You have to have a really tough skin to be in this business. One of the most pressing challenges we are facing today is been able to create an environment people want to be a part of and feel rewarded for their work. The competition out there is bigger than ever and founding a sense of loyalty is extremely challenging. You need to listen to your employees and support them. Creating a fun and healthy work environment, providing benefits, maintaining a good work-personal life balance, providing opportunities for growth, programs for continues educations and making sure their voice is being heard are among the steps we take to ensure our team’s wellbeing while keeping the business profitable.
Please tell us about Bellina Alimentari.
Bellina is composed of four different elements that provide the guests a whole experience. We are so much more than just a restaurant. Our kitchen serves authentic Italian dishes with great commitment to ingredient sourcing, scratch cooking, seasonality, and freshness. Our intimate wine bar serves natural wines, craft cocktails, and beers with a wide selection of amaros. In our market guests can find a fine variety of goods we import directly from Italy. The last piece of the puzzle and the one that is the dearest to my hearty is our culinary room. An intimate space where we teach cooking classes, tastings, and workshops to help spread the love towards Italian cuisine and the philosophy behind it to a growing community of guests. We do all the above while operating with a strong identity when it comes to food sourcing and sustainability and maintaining a healthy, fair and prosperous work environment to our employees.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Friday night dinners at my grandma’s house. My new restaurant Rina is called after her. She was an amazing cook who never used a cookbook or a written recipe in her life. Big family meals in my grandma’s dining room were always a feast. I often helped her prepare and cook those big meals and learned so much about cooking and life in general from this smart, strong and ambitious women.
- Address: 675 Ponce de Leon Ave
Atlanta, GA 30308
- Website: BELLINA-ALIMENTARI.COM
- Phone: 404-330-9933
- Email: INFO@BELLINA-ALIMENTARI.COM
- Instagram: @BELLINAALIMENTARI
- Facebook: Bellina Alimentari
- Twitter: Bellina Alimentari
- Yelp: Bellina Alimentari
- Other: Bellina Alimentari
Heidi Geldhauser, Andrew Thomas Lee