May 17, 2012

Warren Bruno
Our friend, Warren Bruno, was an icon among the Atlanta restaurant community.
Personally, he served as an early mentor and advocate for my career.  He hired me to serve as his publicist some 14 years ago and from time to time brought me back into the fold to serve on his various community initiatives including helping change liquor legislation, raise awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma, promote too many events and festivals to name and later, to help draft the mission and vision for Camden Commercial Real Estate.  He hired my friends to serve and manage in his restaurants, hired my interns to supplement their stipend.  While I was pregnant with Will, and had gained 60 pounds, he would still start every meeting by telling me that he thought I was beautiful.  Most importantly, he never failed to bust my chops when he felt I was making a misstep.  When I got the call yesterday from his old GM and my best friend, I was in Durham, NC and couldn't fully process the news.  He had been down so many times before and always bounced back by riding some 100 miles seemingly the next day on his bike. 
Warren Bruno created some of Atlanta’s favorite neighborhood restaurants. In the past 30 years, Bruno owned and operated 13 restaurants in the community, including Aunt Charley’s, Groundhog Tavern, Atkins Park Tavern, Ormsby's, and Phoenix Brewing Company (now 5 Seasons Brewing). An owner/operator himself, Bruno worked with many of our clients and friends over the past decade to identify great restaurant space opportunities and served as a mentor for their operations. 
Bruno served on the Morningside Elementary Local School Council, and the Inman Middle School Technology Foundation. Additionally, he worked with committees for governmental issues such as the City of Atlanta Commercial Areas and Public Safety Task Force, and was a member of the City of Atlanta License Review Board. He co-founded and served as president of the Virginia Highland Business Association, the Buckhead Village Merchants, and co-founded the Alcohol License Beverage Council (ALBC). He was a member of the Georgia Restaurant Association and the International Council of Shopping Centers. Bruno was awarded the Aaron Gross Community Citizen Award by the Virginia Highland Civic Association.
Bruno battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma for the last 10 years and spent much of that time raising awareness for a cure through his rides with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's annual events.
We had the honor of working with Warren for many years on various initiatives and on his restaurants.  My last memory of Warren was at our home two years ago.  The cancer was in remission and he, Sandra, his amazing wife, and longtime partner, Kevin Drawe, were in high spirits celebrating their General Manager, Melissa Poss Wall's upcoming wedding.  Warren was full of life. 
Our prayers go out to his loving wife, Sandra, and their four beautiful children, Partner Kevin Drawe, Chef Andrew Smith, former partner and Chef Rusty Hamlin, and the many staff who have passed through the doors.
- Elizabeth