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SEAN BROCK PARTNERS WITH TOP HOSPITALITY TALENT TO EXPAND JOYLAND

Nick Pihakis and Paul Mishkin join forces to scale the popular fast casual concept 


Nick, Sean, and Paul

James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock has partnered with Nick Pihakis of Pihakis Restaurant Group and Southall Farm and Inn founder Paul Mishkin in the opening of the second location of his popular fast casual concept, Joyland, in Birmingham, AL this spring. This will be the first of several new Joyland locations slated to open across the country in the coming months.  

Joyland is an imaginative concept inspired by the original fast-food restaurants of yesteryear. The concept came from Brock’s innate curiosity and extensive research and development, combining quick service and indulgence with the innovation and exploration he has experienced in some of the world’s best restaurants. What appears as a simple menu of biscuits, burgers, fried chicken, and more has been furiously studied, tested, and perfected over countless trials, utilizing pioneering food technologies and the highest quality ingredients to create a delightfully fun experience that harks back to the heyday of fast food. Its flagship location opened in East Nashville in 2020. 

Pihakis is no stranger to seeking out promising concepts and stepping in to help them grow. In 2017, he partnered with longtime friend and collaborator Rodney Scott on the creation and expansion of Rodney Scott’s BBQ, and several years later, co-founded and scaled Hero Doughnuts & Buns with Wil Drake. The partnership with Brock blossomed following a yearslong friendship, during which they were both members of the FatBack Collective, a group of Southern chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, and others dedicated to reinvigorating the dwindling practice of small hog farming, among other endeavors.  

As a mentor and investor, Mishkin has been deeply involved in the development of all of Brock’s Nashville concepts – Audrey, Bar Continental, and June – in addition to Joyland. He brings keen financial acumen to the group; he started his career as a stock options trader and later founded Simplex Trading, a technology-driven proprietary trading firm. He later switched gears to focus on hospitality, founding and opening luxury farm resort Southall Farm and Inn in 2022. 

Joyland is an imaginative concept from James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock inspired by the original fast-food restaurants of yesteryear. The concept came from Brock’s innate curiosity and extensive research and development, combining quick service and indulgence with the innovation and exploration he has experienced in some of the world’s best restaurants. What appears as a simple menu of biscuits, burgers, fried chicken, and more has been furiously studied, tested, and perfected over countless trials, utilizing pioneering food technologies and the highest quality ingredients to create a delightfully fun experience that harks back to the heyday of fast food. The resulting menu includes his twist on classic favorites, such as Joysticks, a cross between Japanese kushikatsu and Mississippi’s tradition of fried chicken-on-a-stick; buttermilk biscuits, which are also available gluten-free, a variety of handmade-to-order shakes, and a revolving hand pie that changes seasonally. Brock’s unwavering commitment to thoughtfully sourced ingredients is evident throughout the menu, with organic chicken from family-owned Springer Mountain and a proprietary Joyland beef blend from Bear Creek Farm. For more information, visit eatjoyland.com

Pihakis Restaurant Group is a collective of restaurateurs, chefs, and creatives coupled with technology, management, and accounting professionals who came together with a singular goal of creating restaurants with the highest levels of care for their people, their guests, and their food. Founded by Nick Pihakis and partners in 2014, the group has grown to six brands including Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Hero Doughnuts & Buns, Little Donkey, Tasty Town Greek Restaurant and Lounge, Luca Lagotto, and Luca Mercato Lagotto. Headquartered in Birmingham, AL, the company operates restaurants throughout the South in cities including Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Charleston, SC; Montgomery, AL, and Nashville, TN. The very core of the business is built around growing a kernel of culinary inspiration into a thriving business that provides delicious food, pleasant environments, and employment opportunities to local communities. The Pihakis team believes that restaurants are places to enjoy – the food, the company, the atmosphere, and, above all, the experience of belonging. For more information, visit pihakis.com


Located in historic Franklin, TN, Southall Farm and Inn encompasses over 425 acres of lush, rolling Middle Tennessee hillside, creating a unique escape dedicated to saluting the agricultural heritage of the region, while advancing innovative practices for a sustainable future. Southall features 62 guest rooms and suites, along with 16 separate cottages; a spa that empowers guests’ well-being journeys with transformative treatments and mindful rituals rooted in natural elements; a wealth of farm, wellness, and adventure activities, and a signature restaurant and culinary program led by Chefs Andrew Klamar and Nate Leonard. For more information, visit southalltn.com. 

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