In May, Executive Chef Daniel Porubiansky took over the kitchen after serving in the same role at one of the most prestigious and respected restaurants in the metro area, Bacchanalia, for six and a half years.
Porubiansky, who has lived in Woodstock for 13 years, said being close to home and a part owner of the local restaurant is what convinced him to make the career change from big city to suburbia.
“Here I am a partner — that was my big draw to come here — and I am going to use my skills of 30 years, not all of those always fancy, but the last 25 have been upper echelon restaurants,” Porubiansky said.
His skills are already paying off, as many customers are showing up on a regular basis to take advantage of his seasonal fare and innovative menu.
“People have been excited and thankful and kind and seem to be enjoying the food,” Porubiansky said. “We have tons of regulars. Most of the clientele live right here in Woodstock.”
The chef said he is just writing up his fall menu, and it is brimming with such autumnal offerings as halibut with sweet potato puree and candy pecans, squash soup and a delicious root vegetable risotto.
Porubiansky said his favorite on the new menu is the scallops with parsnip puree, parsnip chips and truffle vinaigrette.
“I think people have been receptive to the changes I have made. I now change the menu seasonally,” Porubiansky said.
Porubiansky said he is still transitioning to the fall menu, and while he is sad to see the summer vegetables go, he is excited about the menu, which showcases the best fall produce.
“I want the best ingredients I can get. If you don’t start with a great product, you will not have a great ending,” the chef said.
He points to local suppliers in Woodstock who help make the food at the restaurant outstanding and worthy of rave reviews.
“We have a couple of people in Woodstock who share their bounty with us: Will Womble, who has produce, and Robert Brown, who is awesome, he brings me stuff two or three times a week,” the chef said.
Porubiansky said in addition to the food, the ambience keeps diners returning.
Century House Tavern is located in an almost 120-year-old house, built in 1894 by George Fowler.
The Hubbard family later purchased the home in the 1940s and lived there until 2004, earning it the local name of the Hubbard House.
“I think it is perfect — the house has great energy and great history. And that relates to the food, ambience, staff, everything,” he said. “The house is comfortable and people feel comfortable in it. Everyone likes working here as well. It is fantastic.”
While the journey has been long, Porubiansky is glad to be home.
“Cherokee County is a great place to live,” he said.
Porubiansky was a protégé of Guenter Seeger, the German chef who headed up The Dining Room of the Ritz Carlton in Buckhead for many years.
In 1986, Porubiansky answered a newspaper ad for a kitchen opening with Seeger, and according to his biography, found his true calling.
“Chef Seeger not only developed me professionally and sent me to New York and Europe,” Porubiansky said in a release. “He also left me with the two most important lessons I’ll ever learn in a kitchen. First, he taught me to truly respect the ingredients. Second, he taught me to work hard by working hard alongside me.”
Porubiansky went to New York in 1988 to serve under Eberhard Muller at Le Bernardin, the legendary Michelin three-star French seafood restaurant still to this day ranked as the best restaurant in New York and one of the top 20 in the world, his biography states.
The chef went on to study in Germany and spend several years in various positions at top restaurants in Atlanta before being chosen in 2007 to lead operations and staff at Bacchanalia, Star Provisions and Quinones at Bacchanalia.
Nowadays the commute may be shorter for the chef, but there are no shortcuts in his love of the art of cooking. This fall, several wine dinners are planned at the restaurant, as well as some dining experiences centered around beer.
“Hopefully, the people will keep coming,” Porubiansky said.
Hours at the restaurant are Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 to 11 p.m. (bar open late); Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (bar open late) and Sunday from 11 to 9 p.m.
Century House Tavern is at 125 E. Main St. in Woodstock. For more information, call (770) 693-4552.