For us mere mortals: A glimpse into the world of Himitsu’s VIPs

Since not many of us have seen inside this secret lair


For most of us, there’s only one way to get past the formidable, keypad-operated, metal door that slides open Bond-like to reveal the secret lair that is Himitsu: plead your case via email. But for a select group of VIPs, most of them holders of the Buckhead speakeasy’s all-access black card, the club is their regular playground. Himitsu allowed us a glimpse into the world of some of those regular guests, from restaurant moguls to sports execs.

After Dark: Himitsu
Giovanni Di Palma (left) and Kevin Gillespie

Photograph by Mike Colletta

Giovanni Di Palma (owner of Antico Pizza Napoletana and related empire)

Q: Who’s gonna win in a bar fight: Himitsu’s Ito-Gio Pizza [a playful nod to Giovanni from chef Fuyuhiko Ito] or your San Gennaro pie?
A: Tough call, but they tried to burn San Gennaro in a furnace in 300 AD, and he came out unscathed. I go with Gennaro.

Q: What are you and chef Kevin Gillespie chatting about?
A: We both are exotic-car fanatics, so mostly cars and a little about our next great food venture.

Kevin Gillespie (chef-owner of Gunshow, Revival, and Cold Beer)

Q: What’s good to order?
A: Funny enough, I’ve never ordered my own drinks here. The bartenders know me from [sister restaurant] Umi and know that I am a huge Japanese whiskey fan, so I trust them to choose my drinks for me.

After Dark: Himitsu
John Paulson and Rachel Powers

Photograph by Mike Colletta

John Paulson (owner of a civil engineering business)

Q: How’d you get in?
A: Farshid [Arshid, Himitsu and Umi co-owner] invited me to join. When they first opened, you were granted access with an eye scan.

Rachel Powers (Georgia State University computer programming student)

Q: Tell me about the green suit.
A: The green suit is my power move. It’s flashy without being too loud and is a great conversation starter. It fits my personality and accentuates my androgyny.

After Dark: Himitsu
Ryan and Lauren Harrison

Photograph by Mike Colletta

Ryan Harrison (professional tennis player) and Lauren Harrison (former freelance television producer)

Q: How’d you hear about this place?
Ryan: We heard of it through our friends on the ATP Tour.
Lauren: Whenever there is a tournament in Atlanta, everyone always goes and raves about it.

Atlanta After Dark: Himitsu
Carlos and Lita Bocanegra

Photograph by Mike Colletta

Carlos Bocanegra (Atlanta United vice president and technical director) and Lita Bocanegra (stay-at-home home)

Q: What do you like about Himitsu?
Carlos: It’s private. It’s like a little hideaway in the city.
Lita: The otoro tartare with caviar!

Q: Why is that duck looking at your husband like that?
Lita: He always carries duck snacks.

After Dark: Himitsu
Durana and Shahab Sean Elmi

Photograph by Mike Colletta

Durana Elmi (CEO of L’Amour Floral, a flower-design company, and owner of, a statement jewelry retail site) and Shahab Sean Elmi (CEO of health supplements company Cymbiotika and COO of music platform Dash Radio)

Q: What interesting people have you met?
Shahab: Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle were here one night. Beyond celebs, my wife and I have made some great friends.

Q: What’s good to eat?
Durana: Never leave without having the crepe cake. Worth all the calories.

Carlos Bocanegra (Atlanta United vice president and technical director) and Lita Bocanegra (stay-at-home mom)

Q: What do you like about Himitsu?
Carlos: It’s private. It’s like a little hideaway in the city.
Lita: The otoro tartare with caviar!

After Dark: Himitsu
Matt and Lindsey Capps

Photograph by Mike Colletta

Andy Capps (founder and co-CEO of RESICAP, a provider of single-family real estate services) and Lindsey Capps (stay-at-home mom)

Q: What brought you here?
Matt: I frequented Umi often and had heard about the “private club” just a few storefronts away. A buddy introduced me to Farshid, and we hit it off.
Lindsey: Next thing we knew, we got our Himitsu black cards in the mail.

After Dark: Himitsu
Whitney and Van Council

Photograph by Mike Colletta

Whitney Council (real estate agent) and Van Council (owner and president, Van Michael Salons)

Q: What was your first impression of this place?
Van: It’s bringing a Tokyo- or New York–type atmosphere to Atlanta. One time, I did see Jennifer Lawrence here, so that was pretty cool!

Q: How good are people’s hairstyles here, on a scale of one to 10?
Whitney: I gave the bartender a complimentary service at Van Michael Men. I give him a 10.
Van: If they’re a Van Michael client, then they’re definitely a 10. All the others are about a five.

This article appears in our September 2019 issue.

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