Welcome to Front & Center, a series highlighting front of the house professionals in Atlanta restaurants. Right now, food writer, travel writer, and founder of the non-profit Go Eat Give Sucheta Rawal writes about Fanoos Persian Cuisine's Jalal Khadivi:
Sometimes when I go out to eat, I still want to feel at home, and I can do this at Fanoos Persian Cuisine in Sandy Springs. My favorite FOH-er in Atlanta is Mr. Jalal Khadivi, who is a charming gentleman from Iran and owner/ manager of Fanoos. His mannerism is very charismatic and reminds me of the old English movies where the actors would address women as "lady," kiss their hands and open doors for them. Yes, Jalal would do all that and more! He always welcomes me to the restaurant as if I am visiting his private home in Iran, adorned with living room style décor of Persian rugs and a water fountain in the middle of the room. Staying true to his culture of honoring a guest, I would find Jalal personally overseeing the kitchen, the servers and the front of the house. He would even mix drinks and go around the room chatting with familiar faces. Many of the recipes on the menu are Jalal's own creations, so he is passionate about making sure they are implemented correctly for every guest.
It is not very often that I find restaurants where the owners are so hand-on in creating an authentic experience for their patrons, which not only includes serving good quality food, but a personal and welcoming atmosphere as well.
—Sucheta Rawal, Go Eat Give and @suchetarawal