An athlete’s restaurant

28 02 2011

It’s kind of awkward to write about an athlete’s off-court/off-field business. I actually enjoy it quite a bit, but the conversation with the athlete can always feel so probing. Of course, it’s a journalist’s job to be inquisitive and to investigate. That doesn’t mean the athlete is willing to answer all questions. For this story on ESPN.com’s The Life section, I spoke with Atlanta Hawks forward Zaza Pachulia about his restaurant in Atlanta — as well as the one that got away.

Pachulia co-owns Buckhead Bottle Bar in Atlanta, what was supposed to be his second restaurant with his original, Eno by Zaza. But Eno closed last Fall after Pachulia and his partners closed it due to financial issues. Pachulia and one of the partners, restaurateur A.D. Allushi, declined to provide financial details of the losses they incurred during the year-long venture with the Eno franchise. It’s understandable they wouldn’t want to do that, especially in Pachulia’s case.

His salary is posted on HoopsHype.com and his past annual salaries are available on Basketball-reference.com. Contract terms for athletes are usually reported publicly, which has to be an uneasy feeling no matter how much money they make. The last thing an athlete wants to discuss are all the dollars he saw flushed down the toilet in his business venture.

But there is more to write about than just an athlete’s financial commitment. What’s his motivation for starting a business, in this case a restaurant? What are his responsibilities and how does he manage those with what the employees are responsible for? What are his future goals? These are thoughts I had in writing Pachulia’s story, which is posted below. I’m excited about upcoming stories in this realm for The Life, which includes a prominent former NFL player who operates a winery. Stay tuned for that; here is Pachulia’s story.

Click on the link below to read the story:

Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia learns from wins, losses in restaurant business

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