The food and ambience of 5Church aren’t the only reasons visitors keep coming back to the Midtown restaurant, owner Ayman Kamel says.
The concept for 5Church began six years ago in Charlotte, N.C., after Kamel sought to get away from the hustle and bustle of New York.
“There may be five restaurants on every block in New York right now, so thinking outside the city was perhaps the best decision I made,” Kamel said.
Since its Atlanta opening in June 2016, 5Church has garnered attention from locals, some of whom stop by for a selfie while strolling down Peachtree Street, he said.
“We wanted to offer a cool and modern experience that would not only introduce great food and cocktails, but also a total experience focusing on every detail, such as the art, music and the temperature,” he said. “We want people to leave the restaurant saying they had a great experience not just diningwise, but that they really had a great time.”
The reality is not far from what Kamel envisioned for 5Church’s customers.
When visitors walk into the restaurant, which occupies the former Shout space at Colony Square, they are immediately drawn to the black-and-white ceiling, which contains hand-painted scripts by artist Jon Norris from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” and to massive pieces of art, such as a yellow-and-green $5 bill displaying Martin Luther King Jr.
“Art is another way to feed the soul,” Kamel said. “It’s very abnormal for a restaurant to include a lot of colors. … But I think the idea is to keep people focused on the art.”
There is a 99 percent chance diners at 5Church will see Kamel walking around the dining room, asking how everything is. “The smile on my guest’s face is what makes my night,” he said. “It’s as simple as that.”
An immigrant of Egyptian and Italian descent, Kamel said most migrants like him are destined to become engineers or work in restaurants. Although he has a degree in engineering, he still enjoys the restaurant business. “I love to do something nice for people, which is similar to engineering. You do something that people will hopefully love, even though you might not see it there and then.”
The food industry does present challenges, however, Kamel said. “Our business evolves around the clock, and if you’re not ahead of the game, your ideas start to become old.”
Guests will always find something new at 5Church, he said. The restaurant recently launched its fall menu, which includes local produce and dishes prepared from scratch.
“We love the fact that we can diversify the menu to everyone’s liking,” he said.
After moving to Atlanta with his wife and children two years ago, Kamel considers himself a native. “I told myself that I was not going to bring my New York mentality with me but rather embrace every moment,” he said. “I love the people in Atlanta and think you really have to work hard to impress them.”
Kamel welcomes visitors Friday and Saturday nights to enjoy a glass of cabernet sauvignon while they sit on the 5Church patio and gaze at the sky. “I want everyone who leaves 5Church to not only remember the food, but also say, ‘You know what? I was at that amazing place, 5Church Atlanta, I remember the art, the music and food and will be back.’”