Mimmo Alboumeh opened Maya Steaks & Seafood in the heart of Sandy Springs in 2015, and the Lebanese-born chef and restaurateur knew that connecting with the surrounding community would be a key factor in his success.
The upscale restaurant has received wide acclaim in its two years of operation, thanks in part to Alboumeh’s friendly demeanor and a menu full of high-end steaks sourced from farms as far away as Iowa and Tennessee.
“It’s all about relationships,” Alboumeh said. “Nothing happens without that. You’re not buying a product. Our guests are going to come back based on the relationship they have with us, so I want to make sure they leave happy. I’m not a corporate restaurant; I’m a mom-and-pop operation.”
To get closer to the Sandy Springs community, which includes a prominent Jewish population, the chef decided to get involved with a few Jewish organizations. He is now a partner of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival and is running a promotion at his restaurant to benefit Second Helpings Atlanta, a nonprofit organization started at Temple Sinai that aims to eliminate hunger through donations of leftover food.
Dine at Maya on a Wednesday through May 10 and 20 percent of your total bill will be donated to Second Helpings. You must also let the host or hostess know that you’d like to be seated at the chef’s table for Second Helpings.
“There’s a big Jewish community in Sandy Springs,” Alboumeh said. “I think the best way to work with the community is to be in it. My restaurant is here in the heart of the Jewish community, and for me to do well here, I have to get involved and give back to the community.”
Alboumeh is also the chef owner of the Red Pepper Taqueria locations in Buckhead and Toco Hills, the latter in the same shopping center as the Kosher Gourmet, Pita Palace and Broadway Cafe.
He also helps non-Jewish charitable organizations. In April, the chef will provide food for 500 people in Vine City at an event called Feeding God’s flock.
“People knock on you all the time to participate in this and that,” he said. “Thank G-d we are extremely busy and able to help.”
Born in Lebanon and raised in Spain and Italy, Alboumeh has been in Atlanta for 20 years. Drawing on his Spanish upbringing and Italian culinary school education, he opened his first Red Pepper Taqueria in Toco Hills five years ago, then opened the second location in Buckhead a year later.
He also instilled Spanish influences into Maya, which is named after his youngest daughter.
Alboumeh said he is working on plans to add one or two restaurants to his ME Restaurant Group in the next few years. In the meantime, the chef is excited about the City Springs development, due to be completed next year just up Roswell Road from Maya.
“People don’t understand, but this is the next Buckhead,” he said. “Inman Park is still just a neighborhood. West Midtown is a neighborhood. This is going to be a city. Sandy Springs is going to be more of a city than anything else. I can’t wait.”
What: Second Helpings fundraiser
Where: Maya Steaks & Seafood, 6152 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs
When: Wednesday nights through May 10
Reservations: Reserve spots for two to eight people at the chef’s table to benefit Second Helpings by calling 404-705-8880 or visiting www.opentable.com/maya-steaks-and-seafood; www.secondhelpingsatlanta.org/chefs-table-nights-maya