A Georgian Restaurant featured in Business Insider
06 August, 2015
A Georgian Restaurant featured in Business Insider
“Want to know where to get authentic Georgian food? Give Old Tbilisi Garden a try, and enjoy the scenery in their backroom while you are at it,” wrote Business Insider’s Katrina Southerland recently in her piece titled “The 10 best restaurants in NYC for dining with a view.” Located on Manhattan’s Bleeker Street, the Georgian restaurant was opened by brothers Davit and Vasil Chkheidze a year ago.

Old Tbilisi Garden makes its home in Manhattan’s bohemian East Village district, among
Mexican, Italian and Spanish restaurants. For it to have caught the eye of Business Insider, a media outlet of choice for many businessmen living and working in NYC, says quite a lot about the restaurant.
Vasil, the restaurant’s co-founder, proudly says that the restaurant’s view is not the only thigeotv.geng that attracted Business Insider’s writers:
“Being praised by Business Insider came as a complete surprise for us. In general, journalists who visit our restaurants usually come undercover, completely unannounced. This is a good thing, though. It ensures that the feedback is authentic. We are happy; it’s not every day that a serious outlet like Business Insider writes about you. It’s invigorating.”
The brothers decided to open the restaurant at the location they chose because of the view and the fact that the place had a spring in the yard. Before being purchased by Vasil and Davit, the place was an unsuccessful Italian restaurant. A vast majority of the restaurant’s clients are Americans, though quite a few have visited Georgia before and sampled the local cuisine.
Vasil claims that the American public took to Georgian dishes quite well, with khinkali, khachapuri and pastries being the most popular. As for famous Georgian wine, the restaurant needed to be licensed to sell alcohol, and obtaining such a license is a long and laborious bureaucratic process. But thanks to their lawyer, the two brothers overcame that obstacle. Playing live music however, requires another license, and that’s where Vasil and Davit ended up in a bit of a conundrum.
“There shouldn’t be a church or a school in the restaurant’s vicinity, and those applying for a license must not have a criminal record. We were not given a live music license because we are in a public space and this is a residential district. And as you know, alcohol plus music equals a lot of noise. We can appeal this decision, but we aren’t sure if we should do it. geotv.geWithout music, it’s easier for our clients to communicate,” Vasil explains.
Vasil came to New York in 1992—a 20-year-old student with no knowledge of the language or any specific plans.
“I worked as a housekeeper, a gardener and a waiter. I changed many jobs, never considering myself above any of them. Honestly earning money with the sweat of one’s brow is what matters most,” he says.
Working as hard as he was, he never had enough time to get an education, but he nevertheless managed to forge connections with many experienced financiers due to his employment as a taxi driver. What he knows about business and finance, he got from literature. This knowledge allowed him to spend nine years at Wall Street trading securities, which he does to this day. Vasil claims that 20 years ago he came to the U.S. for just one year, but this single year has since stretched into twenty.
“Lately, I’ve been thinking about how long we are going to stay here. We are Georgians, after all, and all Georgians return to their homeland sooner or later. The last thing I want is for this to change!” Vasil says smiling.
Read the Georgian version of the article on Voice of America website.

Author: by Tea Tuashvili, VOA Georgian Service

geotv.ge

Related stories:

Old Tbilisi Garden listed among the 10 best restaurants for dining with a view in NYC

Find Georgian Food in Manhattan at Old Tbilisi Garden (+Photo Gallery)

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