Time for Thai: Restaurant features traditional cuisine in new location
by Sally Litchfield
MDJ Features Editor
sallylit@bellsouth.net
October 04, 2012 12:00 AM | 3238 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Fuji Hana & Thai Peppers Restaurant and Sushi Bar is owned by Nick Chompoonich.  A Sapporo roll is among the many menu items at the restaurant. <br> Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan
Fuji Hana & Thai Peppers Restaurant and Sushi Bar is owned by Nick Chompoonich. A Sapporo roll is among the many menu items at the restaurant.
Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan
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The restaurant’s new location is at 2606 George Busbee Parkway.
The restaurant’s new location is at 2606 George Busbee Parkway.
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Chef Julio Cesar
Chef Julio Cesar
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Meats and vegetables are prepared.
Meats and vegetables are prepared.
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Chef Cesar cooks for diners.
Chef Cesar cooks for diners.
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Fuji Hana & Thai Peppers Restaurant and Sushi Bar provides diverse dining in Kennesaw. In its new location at 2606 George Busbee Parkway, the restaurant features authentic Thai cuisine, sushi, and traditional Japanese hibachi fare.

In the redesigned interior, the dining room showcases a globally inspired design. Hand-laid chocolate mosaic tiles set the backdrop for beautiful leather booths and an expansive 31-foot sushi and cocktail oak bar. The restaurant also features two separate dining rooms with six hibachi tables with chefs Mr. Sao and Julio Cesar there to entertain guests.

Fuji Hana and Thai Peppers established a strong following in its 14 years of business.

“We wanted to build off the customer base and bring the restaurant to a more visible location,” said owner Nick Chompoonich. He purchased the restaurant in January when it was previously located in the Esplanade Plaza outside Town Center Mall, near Longhorns.

Chompoonich grew up in the restaurant business. His parents owned several Thai and Japanese restaurants, and his father was a founding partner in a group of Japanese fast-food style restaurants located in malls.

“Growing up, it pained me to watch my parents work such long, hard hours in their restaurants, and I told myself that I didn’t want to live like that and I would have a different career,” Nick said. “But the fact was that I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I actually enjoyed every aspect of food, from exploring new foods, to creating and enjoying different dishes.

Chompoonich, who has lived all over the world and who earned a culinary arts degree at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 2003, returned to his roots in Bangkok where he immersed himself in Thai culture. He, his wife Jenny and son Justin moved to Kennesaw to join his family who came to Cobb County in 1993, bringing his expertise to Fuji Hana & Thai Peppers.

“We have revamped the menu to include family recipes. Everything is made from scratch and fresh made to order. We want to ensure that our customers get the quality of food that they expect,” he said.

For a unique taste of the restaurant, Chompoonich recommends Thai-style basil composed of ground chicken, whole leaf basil on rice, mixed with sauce and fried egg on top.

“We are one of the very few restaurants that offers Thai-style basil. It’s very common in Thailand. It’s very unique to this area. That’s one of our specialties,” he said.

Another different feature is a smaller version of the signature rolls accompanied by a side salad.

“(This option) gives you the opportunity to try different rolls at the same time,” he said.

As part of the restaurant’s makeover, Chompoonich partnered with Atlanta’s 2010 Sommelier of the Year, Harry Constantinescu, to create a unique wine list.

“A lot of the wines are tailored and match well with our type of cuisine. It’s quite enjoyable to experience these wines,” he said.

Service is also part of the equation in creating the relaxing atmosphere at Fuji Hana & Thai Peppers.

“We make sure everyone enjoys friendly and excellent service,” Chompoonich said.

Fuji Hana & Thai Peppers is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner on Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Hibachi closes a half hour earlier in evenings.

Visit www.fujihanathaipeppers.com or call (770) 419-9500.

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