Israeli Brings Schnitzel to the South

Israeli Brings Schnitzel to the South

Seven Hens’ second location aims to help concept take flight

By David Cohen

Photos by David Cohen – Israeli Michael Gurevich is pounding out a schnitzel empire in the Atlanta area at Seven Hens.

Michael Gurevich isn’t your typical entrepreneur. The food he serves at his restaurants isn’t typical either.

At least not in the United States.

Gurevich’s eatery, Seven Hens, features a dish that is popular globally but has yet to fully catch on in America. With his second location now open in Sandy Springs, the Israeli transplant who has lived in Atlanta since 2008 hopes that the South is ready for more schnitzel.

“In the United States, schnitzel is not as familiar as it is worldwide,” Gurevich said. “Different variants of the tenderizing technique are used here, but the original schnitzel is not as popular as it is around the world. I thought this would be a big opportunity to bring something from my own culture here because chicken schnitzel is a staple food item in Israel.”

Seven Hens’ Sandy Springs location, in Abernathy Square at 6615 Roswell Road, across Abernathy Road from the Weber School, opened in November. The original location in Decatur, at 2140 N. Decatur Road, just east of Clairmont Road, has served chicken dishes adapted from world cuisine since 2012.

The menu features schnitzel recipes inspired by seven countries: the United States, Mexico, China, France, Germany, India and Italy.

Gurevich created the concept to become a fast-casual staple in America. The Sandy Springs location has seen a boost from Israelis, Jews and other Atlanta natives who know what schnitzel is, but Gurevich is aiming for a much larger bite of the market.

“It helps that the Jewish population knows what schnitzel is, and the Israelis definitely know it,” he said.  “That’s only part of my market. My goal is to make schnitzel one of the go-to options for fast-casual food in the public at large.”

To that end, Seven Hens is launching an effort to franchise the concept.

Gurevich wasn’t always on the path to a chicken empire.

Seven Hens’ Sandy Springs location has been open since November at 6615 Roswell Road, across Abernathy Road from the Weber School

As part of a special program with the Israeli military, he got his bachelor’s degree before starting service as a logistics officer. The day after he finished his six-year term in the Israel Defense Forces, he moved to the United States and started classes at Florida Tech, where he earned a master’s degree in technical and professional communications.

After a job in the cosmetics field brought him to Atlanta, he saw an opportunity in fast-casual dining.

“I thought, ‘What is a good business opportunity using my skill set that is unique to this market?’ ” Gurevich said. “I decided to go with chicken schnitzel. It was a conscious choice to present this product to the American market.”

For prospective customers who don’t know what schnitzel is, Gurevich urges them to give it a try.

“I think that people need to come in and try the food here,” he said. “Once you have it and understand how good it is, it will put a smile on your face.”

read more: