Rising to meet and overcome challenges - whether in life or in business - is what Gocha (pronounced "go-shay") does exceedingly well. It takes strong will and determination to be successful, and even more so when you've been on your own since the age of 14. Gocha Hawkins has allowed herself to be led as life unfolds before her. She's known for having the confidence and courage to "pack up and go" every few years or so; and wherever life takes her, she creates something beautiful, meaningful . . . and delicious.
A native of Detroit, Gocha had to develop tough skin and figure things out early in life. Naturally talented and gifted, she learned that doing hair was her passion. Gocha rocked the beauty industry for 28 years, doing hair for some of the biggest names in entertainment and sports - Serena Williams, Beyonce, Keyshia Cole, T.I., Kandi Burruss, Vivica Fox and many more - while creating a well-respected brand for herself. At a time when the performance industry was changing and social media began gaining traction, people started doing hair for free for promotional purposes. Gocha, with her solid brand and following, was unwilling to concede to the pressure and influences of the time. Instead, she decided it was time to move on.
Gocha has always cooked. Family and friends - young and old - would come together just to enjoy some of Gocha's delectable creations. Her natural ability to navigate and rule the kitchen is not surprising considering both of Gocha's grandmothers were undeniably awesome cooks. In 2006, while Gocha was living in Florida, she began thinking she would launch a restaurant business sometime in 2008, but the stock market crash made it clear the timing was not right.
The experience Gocha gained as an image consultant for the NBA, added to her expertise and reputation in working with celebrities. At the suggestion of a friend, Gocha moved to Atlanta in 2010 to test what she believed was a saturated market in the beauty industry. Atlanta proved there is enough business and opportunity for everyone - especially for a talented, award-winning hairstylist and cosmetologist. Gocha opened her salon the very next year, and just a couple of years later, packed up and moved to Los Angeles. "I move by my spirit. I never move in fear. I don't have any fear in myself. I feel like I can do anything." The move to L.A. resulted in her being cast in the hit reality TV series L.A. Hair.
"Follow your passion." That's the main thing I tell people. "You've got to have passion for whatever it is you want to do in order to excel because if you're just doing something for the money, it's going to show." By 2014, Gocha was back in Atlanta and opened her salon in 2015. Among the VIPs at Gocha's grand opening was John Paul DeJoria who attended to congratulate her. While the business was amazing and successful, Gocha sold the salon in 2018. The time had come to embark upon the restaurant business.
Like most entrepreneurs embarking upon a new venture, Gocha needed additional finances to open the first restaurant. Gocha reached out to those closest to her for help and was turned down. "Always move forward and even if it doesn't work for you, just keep trying." It was April 2018 and Gocha had already signed the lease for the restaurant. She decided to secure multiple loans to make her vision of becoming a restauranteur a reality. The restaurant opened its doors on December 23rd and six months later, those high-interest loans were fully satisfied.
Gocha has been in the restaurant business for three years now. It's had its challenges; especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Gocha's Breakfast Bar has been a hit in both Atlanta and Fayetteville. Southern-style pescatarian and vegan-friendly dishes make up the restaurant's menu. The restaurant offers a modern, friendly atmosphere, exceptional service and carefully prepared meals that "taste great and feel good". Gocha was concerned about the number of fast-food chains popping up in the neighborhood where she lives. She is proud and feels good about the quality food and healthy options offered at her restaurants. Everything is cooked fresh to order with fresh ingredients - tastefully and beautifully done. "Food is like art to me, which is why I am big on the presentation. You have to eat with your eyes before you even taste it."
On the business side of things, Gocha recognizes her blessings. "I never have a business plan. I just jump in. I don't have all the money at the time. It just always happens and works out that way." Gocha looks back and feels grateful she didn't hire a manager for the restaurant at the beginning. This decision allowed Gocha the opportunity to become the great business person she is today - having learned first-hand what it takes, what to expect, and what to look out for. "The business and I grew together."
"The main purpose for opening the restaurant is to be an asset to the community." Today, employees are few and customers are many, and despite this imbalance, both locations for Gocha's Breakfast Bar continue to thrive. The food is consistently delicious, and how does Gocha make certain of this? She makes all the sauces herself from scratch. Gocha likes for things to move along quickly, and is more than ready for things to get back to normal, as do most people in the hospitality business.
Perhaps one day Gocha's Breakfast Bar will open after hours; especially since it has a full bar. For now, the breakfast and lunchtime hours are from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at both locations, each day of the week. Check their website at www.gochasbreakfastbar.com for special occasion and holiday hours. Gocha, who has a milestone birthday in just a few months, has other ideas to expand the business. In the meantime, she looks forward to your visit to her Breakfast Bar.