Kimball Brienza is the Managing Partner of O-Ku, a modern Japanese restaurant with locations in Washington, DC, Atlanta, Charleston and Charlotte. Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Cooperstown, New York, Kimball began his hospitality career while in culinary school at the Otsego Area Occupational Center in New York.
In 2001, Kimball moved to Charleston, SC where he was hired as a server at Carolina’s Restaurant, a pioneering establishment serving Southern classics in a fine-dining atmosphere. He was later promoted to bar manager, then assistant general manager. It was here that Kimball first met and worked with Chef Jeremiah Bacon, now of Indigo Road restaurant group’s concepts Oak Steakhouse and The Macintosh.
After working his way up to a management position at Carolina’s, Kimball was offered the opportunity to serve as the dining room manager at The Boathouse in Charleston, where he was responsible for overseeing all dining room staff, allowing him to further cultivate his exceptional customer service skills and an unparalleled attention to detail.
Kimball joined the Indigo Road restaurant group team in 2009 as the assistant general manager of Oak Steakhouse. After a year, he was promoted to general manager at sister restaurant, O-Ku Charleston.
During his five-year tenure as general manager, restaurant was recognized as one of Esquire magazine’s 20 Best New Restaurants of 2010, chosen as one of the Top 50 Hot Spot Restaurants in the nation by OpenTable in 2011, featured as one of Travel + Leisure’s Top Sushi Restaurants in 2012, and named one of America’s best Japanese restaurants by The New York Post in 2016.
In 2016 Kimball was named the managing partner of O-Ku. In his current role, Kimball splits his time between the concept’s four locations, overseeing operations for the restaurants. When he’s not jet setting from city to city, you can find him boating, at the beach or spending time with friends and family in Charleston and New York.