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

Since not many of us have seen inside this secret lair

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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 DuranaCouture.com, 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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