Lilburn has a new restaurant and bar in town, and it's not what many would call a traditional eatery.
Haven Restaurant and Lounge is a Mediterranean establishment that has many hats. It's a full-service bar with dozens of items on its food menu, but it also offers hookah with different flavors galore. There's also a dance floor, a lounge area, floor seating and futons, and a number of televisions for watching sports and everything else.
The restaurant opened just five weeks ago in the Publix shopping center off Rockbridge Road. Lilburn Patch caught up with two of the owners, Arif Panjwani and Zamir Jivani, to see how the business has been doing.
Patch: So Haven is a hookah bar, but it sounds like it's a lot more than that.
Zamir Jivani: It's primarily a restaurant and lounge together. I don't want to consider it a restaurant first or a lounge first; it's together because we have a full menu. We have a big variety and we're always adding specials to it. We focus a lot on our food. We have chef from Morocco, so the food is as authentic as it can be, too.
Patch: What specific types of entrees do you guy have?
Jivani: There's kebobs, we have wraps, and we even added pastas and pizzas to the menu.
Arif Panjawni: [We still have the first menu now, but] by next week we'll have more varieties, more stuff in the next menu.
Patch: How would you describe hookah to someone who's new to it?
Jivani: It's flavored tobacco. It's a much cleaner form of smoking, there's very little nicotine, there's no tar, none of the harmful stuff. It's water-based, so all the steam gets built up over the water and that's what you're smoking, so it's easier on you that cigarettes. It's not even the inhaled type of smoking, it's just enjoying the flavor. It's more of a leisure than a habit.
Panjwani: It relaxes your mind a lot when you smoke it.
Patch: You guys have tons of different flavors, from watermelon to fuzzy navel and beyond. What are your top sellers or personal favorites?
Jivani: It's hard to put a finger on that because it's so sporadic, it's just all over the place. Everybody has a different preference. But most people who come in here and don't know what to get, we ask them what their favorite fruit is, and then we make a flavor around that fruit.
Panjwani: The big best seller right now is the Iceberg. It's more bubblegum minty, strong like a Trident or a Dentyne flavor. We have all seven different flavors of Paan, too.
Patch: What's Paan?
Jivani: It's like a mint leaf extract.
Panjwani: It's huge with the Indian and Pakistani communities.
Patch: Why did you choose Lilburn as your location?
Jivani: We live right around the corner. There are [hookah] spots going toward Decatur and there are spots going further up north. We needed something in the middle, so we figured we'd put it here.
Panjwani: It's close to [interstates] 285, 85 and 78, too.
Patch: Is there anything you want to add?
Jivani: It's not just your regular lounge because we have your traditional seating inside with floor and futons, we have contemporary seating outside, we have a full bar and a full restaurant. What we did is put all the different hookah lounges and restaurants that you see, and we see what they're missing, and we put it in one place. We give you the sports, we give you the food, we give you everything you want.
Haven Restaurant and Lounge is located at 375 Rockbridge Rd. in Lilburn. It's open for lunch and dinner. For more details, visit www.havenfusion.com or call (770) 921-8011.