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Oral Critics Bacchanalia 2000x


Oral Pleasures

In these absurd and horrifying times, I sometimes feel a little silly writing about food. In a previous life, working as managing editor for a magazine in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I spent most of my ink on human rights abuses, religious hypocrisy and vanishing indigenous cultures. I wrote about food, too, but it was always a separate, secondary interest. When I moved back to the states — just a few days before Trump announced his candidacy for president (nobody’s ever accused me of great timing) — and eventually nabbed the food editor gig at Creative Loafing, I was thrilled at the opportunity yet hesitant to box myself in. And as I watched the darkest parts of our national ethos advance with more and more impunity, my hesitancy remained. Neo-Nazis are marching the streets, for chrissakes. Who cares about the consistency of one’s crème brulée?

What I’ve learned over this past year, however, is that food can be political. Rather than a box, it’s an entry point. After all, everybody eats. Just ask the poor shmuck responsible for serving our tangerine fuckwad-in-chief’s well-done steak with ketchup every day.

With this notion in mind, we at CL have tried to use food as a lens to explore local issues like gentrification, homelessness and refugee rights. The 2017 edition of Oral Pleasures, positioned within this year’s overall theme of Evolution/Revolution, recognizes those within our culinary community who do the same.

Atlanta is a city of revolutionaries. We can and will fight the powers that be. We can and will evolve. Now, let’s eat.

— Hilary Cadigan, CL Food Editor


Featured


Best OTP newcomer

Spring
Praise be the OTP restaurant that makes intowners (not to mention out-of-towners) jealous. Marietta’s SPRING is such a place. Chef Brian So, formerly of Sobban, crafts elegantly simple compositions — like a recent sweet corn risotto with charred padróns and a scattering of local chanterelles —more...
Praise be the OTP restaurant that makes intowners (not to mention out-of-towners) jealous. Marietta’s SPRING is such a place. Chef Brian So, formerly of Sobban, crafts elegantly simple compositions — like a recent sweet corn risotto with charred padróns and a scattering of local chanterelles — that showcase our region’s bounty as well as any farm-driven ITP mainstay does. The rustic dining room, converted from an old train depot, makes good use of exposed brick and old wood beams, reminding you that you’re in the heart of a place with history — a feeling that’s increasingly hard to find among Midtown’s construction cranes. But be warned: Bon Appétit recently selected Spring as one of the 50 best new restaurants in the U.S., which will surely spur visits from well beyond Marietta’s bounds. 83 Church St., Marietta. 678-540-2777. www.springmarietta.com. less...

Best career move

Michael Hendricks Staplehouse
Chef and home cooks alike used to arrive early to Peachtree Road Farmers Market to get first dibs on forager MICHAEL HENDRICKS’ found edibles. This year, however, after nine years of working closely with Staplehouse’s Ryan Smith, Hendricks took a forager’s dream job, searching through the woodsmore...
Chef and home cooks alike used to arrive early to Peachtree Road Farmers Market to get first dibs on forager MICHAEL HENDRICKS’ found edibles. This year, however, after nine years of working closely with Staplehouse’s Ryan Smith, Hendricks took a forager’s dream job, searching through the woods full-time for chef Smith’s award-winning restaurant. Besides mushrooms, he brings in ramps, daylily shoots and buds, wood sorrel, Japanese knotweed and violet leaves. That dreamy chicken liver tart recently came tweezered with Hendricks’ golden chanterelles, and marrying their skills together is the basis Staplehouse was born upon: “health, happiness, and longevity through what we eat,” as Hendricks puts it. He can take a little credit for that edible flower in your cocktail, too, as he also cares for the herb garden out back. Staplehouse, 541 Edgewood Ave. S.E. 404-524-5005. www.staplehouse.com. less...

Best long-awaited recognition

Steven Satterfield Miller Union
Root to leaf to medal: After five consecutive years of nominations for one of the restaurant industry’s highest honors, Miller Union’s STEVEN SATTERFIELD was finally named Best Chef: Southeast of 2017 by the James Beard Foundation. In a ceremony last spring in Chicago, fellow titleholder Anne Quatranomore...

Root to leaf to medal: After five consecutive years of nominations for one of the restaurant industry’s highest honors, Miller Union’s STEVEN SATTERFIELD was finally named Best Chef: Southeast of 2017 by the James Beard Foundation. In a ceremony last spring in Chicago, fellow titleholder Anne Quatrano placed the coveted and well-deserved medal around Satterfield’s neck. And collectively, we in Atlanta cheered because Satterfield has long been a dedicated champion of both our local farmers and our bellies, churning out seasonal, veggie-focused food (not to mention an impeccably curated wine list, which was also nominated this year) at eight-year-old Atlanta gem Miller Union. You earned it, chef. Miller Union, 999 Brady Ave. N.W. 678-733-8550. www.millerunion.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best food spectacle

Gunshow Gunshow
Get your tickets to the GUNSHOW because there is no place quite like it. Kevin Gillespie’s Glenwood Park hot spot is the rare collision of cool concept meets exceptional food. There are no menus with set courses; rather, dishes audition for your choosing as chefs come to the table and present itemsmore...
Get your tickets to the GUNSHOW because there is no place quite like it. Kevin Gillespie’s Glenwood Park hot spot is the rare collision of cool concept meets exceptional food. There are no menus with set courses; rather, dishes audition for your choosing as chefs come to the table and present items both homey and exotic. A mashup of dim sum and Brazilian churrascaria, where a wide-open kitchen sets the stage for maximum chef-diner interaction, Gunshow is never the same place twice. Executive chef Joey Ward carefully curates a scene of clever, heartfelt and playful food. Cocktails come by way of a rolling cart, where your conductor, Mercedes O’Brien, mixes and stirs right in front of you. 924 Garrett St., Suite C. 404-380-1886. www.gunshowatl.com. less...

Best little chocolate factory in Atlanta

XOCOLATL
Nestled inside Krog Street Market sits the tiniest chocolate factory in Atlanta — and maybe the nation. Husband and wife team Elaine Read and Matt Weyandt opened XOCOLATL back in 2014 and have been steadily churning chocolate bars (and their highly addictive drinking chocolate — hot in the wintermore...
Nestled inside Krog Street Market sits the tiniest chocolate factory in Atlanta — and maybe the nation. Husband and wife team Elaine Read and Matt Weyandt opened XOCOLATL back in 2014 and have been steadily churning chocolate bars (and their highly addictive drinking chocolate — hot in the winter and frozen in the summer) out of their miniscule 250-something-square-foot space ever since. The couple is serious about ingredients and sourcing. All bars are single origin and start with a base of just cane sugar and pure cacao from South and Central America. Be sure to try their latest offering: Love & Happiness, made with Peruvian cacao beans, fresh raspberry and blood orange. 99 Krog St. N.E. 404-604-9642. www.xocolatlchocolate.com less...

Best gluten-free oasis

Mediterranea
Housed inside an old trolley depot with a rooftop patio overlooking Ormond Park, MEDITERRANEA has been a more-than-welcome addition to the Grant Park neighborhood, and to celiacs all over the city. It’s the first full-service gluten-free restaurant in Atlanta, but it’s also so much more than that.more...
Housed inside an old trolley depot with a rooftop patio overlooking Ormond Park, MEDITERRANEA has been a more-than-welcome addition to the Grant Park neighborhood, and to celiacs all over the city. It’s the first full-service gluten-free restaurant in Atlanta, but it’s also so much more than that. With a menu of innovative, vegetable-driven dishes that pull from Italian, Greek, French and Israeli cuisines, the restaurant lives by author Michael Pollan’s simple edict: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” At dinner, you’ll find herb-roasted chicken or shrimp with manchego polenta alongside a number of hearty vegan options like roasted beet risotto or chard dolmas. The lunches and brunches are killer, too (gluten-free peach mascarpone French toast, anyone?), and there’s a sophisticated wine list and an array of classic cocktails on hand. And definitely, definitely don’t skip dessert. 332 Ormond St. S.E. 404-748-4219. www.mediterraneaatl.com. less...

Best brunch revolution

Brush Sushi Izakaya Brush Sushi Izakaya
There are countless brunches in Atlanta, but there is nothing like chef Jason Liang’s at Downtown Decatur’s BRUSH SUSHI IZAKAYA. He shakes up the typical ATL a.m. routine with a serving of Japanese tradition: super fluffy pancakes (both sweet and savory), lovely rice bowls with assorted treasuresmore...
There are countless brunches in Atlanta, but there is nothing like chef Jason Liang’s at Downtown Decatur’s BRUSH SUSHI IZAKAYA. He shakes up the typical ATL a.m. routine with a serving of Japanese tradition: super fluffy pancakes (both sweet and savory), lovely rice bowls with assorted treasures from the sea and a sizeable selection of sushi rolls. The eggs here are ajitsuke: marinated, soft-boiled, and resting atop oodles of noodles in a lobster or manila clam broth. Liang has gained a following for his skillful omakase presentation, but you haven’t seen his full range until you’ve had a Brush with his brunch. 316 Church St., Decatur, 678-949-9412. www.brushatl.com. less...

Best industry trend

Mindfully Sober Subculture
There is a new sort of sustainability being talked about among our food and beverage community — an industry with a well-documented tendency toward substance abuse. A MINDFULLY SOBER SUBCULTURE is emerging with the message that drugs and alcohol need not go hand-in-hand with restaurant work. This year,more...
There is a new sort of sustainability being talked about among our food and beverage community — an industry with a well-documented tendency toward substance abuse. A MINDFULLY SOBER SUBCULTURE is emerging with the message that drugs and alcohol need not go hand-in-hand with restaurant work. This year, local chefs Nick Melvin and Sean Brock have shared their journeys toward sobriety with a badge of honor. The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival offered a “Chill Space” for chefs and bartenders to be spirited without the spirits. Restaurateur Steve Palmer started Ben’s Friends, a support group “offering hope to the F&B industry.” Named for late chef Ben Murray, the group meets at 11 a.m. every Sunday at Westside’s O-Ku to bring the community together with “open ears, hearts, and minds.” The tone is communal, not preachy, and we think that’s pretty great. www.bensfriendshope.com/atlanta. less...

Best local coffee company

Radio Roasters
Now that Atlanta is well saturated with good coffee shops, the micro-roasters are the ones making waves — especially in the wake of regional player Revelator snapping up and rebranding local darling Octane. RADIO ROASTERS is all about serving ATL, and both its single-origin coffees and its sleek designmore...
Now that Atlanta is well saturated with good coffee shops, the micro-roasters are the ones making waves — especially in the wake of regional player Revelator snapping up and rebranding local darling Octane. RADIO ROASTERS is all about serving ATL, and both its single-origin coffees and its sleek design aesthetic have us amped up. (Scope their website, and you’ll see what we mean.) Radio Roasters was founded in 2013 by Chip Grabow, whose background lies in news media with NPR and CNN, but the business has kept a relatively low profile until this past year, focusing on coffees roasted to order. They now host Open Roastery Saturdays at their base in Scottdale, plus offer a free delivery zone stretching eastward from Downtown through Edgewood to Decatur and Avondale Estates — making it easy to get your hands on some killer beans. www.radioroasters.com. less...

Best Georgia beer development

Senate Bill 85
Following years of work by the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild and countless beer advocates around the state, SENATE BILL 85 was finally signed into law this year, allowing Peach State beer makers to start selling beer directly to their customers on Sept. 1. Georgia is the final state in the country to passmore...
Following years of work by the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild and countless beer advocates around the state, SENATE BILL 85 was finally signed into law this year, allowing Peach State beer makers to start selling beer directly to their customers on Sept. 1. Georgia is the final state in the country to pass such seemingly common-sense legislation, but hey, better late than never! Here’s how it works: You can now walk into a brewery and buy unlimited — well, you know, drink responsibly — beer by the glass, and you can take up to a case’s worth (up to 288 ounces) to go. Expect to see some interesting new breweries opening soon as result. less...

Best food revolutionary

Abiodun Henderson
Born in Brooklyn as the daughter of a Liberian immigrant and a Black Panther, 34-year-old ABIODUN HENDERSON is no stranger to social justice. Though her parents both died young, they instilled in her a passion for helping others, whatever the cost. Eventually, Henderson joined the Occupy the Hood movement,more...
Born in Brooklyn as the daughter of a Liberian immigrant and a Black Panther, 34-year-old ABIODUN HENDERSON is no stranger to social justice. Though her parents both died young, they instilled in her a passion for helping others, whatever the cost. Eventually, Henderson joined the Occupy the Hood movement, and dedicated her own life to empowering low-income black communities. In 2016, she founded her Westview-based social business, Gangstas to Growers, to provide formerly incarcerated young men with agriculture-centered job training. Once they graduate the educational program, participants are placed into local food industry externships designed to provide the tools and connections to pursue full-time employment. Gangstas to Growers even has its own hot sauce, Sweet Sol, a lavender and turmeric flavored blend made from ingredients grown by the program’s trainees. For Henderson, food is a tool for justice. “We need education so we can do for ourselves,” she says. “Agriculture is the way.” www.facebook.com/gangstastogrowers. less...

Best overall restaurant

8arm 8ARM
After the sad and sudden death of chef/partner Angus Brown in early January, the fate of four-month-old 8ARM was uncertain. But with deep love and tenacity, the tight-knit, uber-talented staff — including partner Nhan Le, pastry maestro Sarah Dodge and chefs Keith Remes, Wilson Gourley and Brooks Raymanmore...

After the sad and sudden death of chef/partner Angus Brown in early January, the fate of four-month-old 8ARM was uncertain. But with deep love and tenacity, the tight-knit, uber-talented staff — including partner Nhan Le, pastry maestro Sarah Dodge and chefs Keith Remes, Wilson Gourley and Brooks Rayman — managed to get the restaurant back up and running the next day … and every day since. From early mornings to late nights, cinnamon rolls to ceviches, they’ve been cooking and serving an ever-changing kaleidoscope of locally sourced culinary magic, keeping things fresh while loyally maintaining Brown’s earthy, funky vibe. The recently finished patio finds Joshua Fryer slinging drinks for the cool kids from a repurposed, tropical-themed shipping container late into the night. For all these reasons and more, 8arm is our pick for 2017’s best restaurant. We miss you terribly, Angus, but we think you’d be pretty proud of what you left behind. 710 Ponce de Leon Ave. 470-875-5856. www.8armatl.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best unexpected expansion

Yet Tuh Yet Tuh
If we had to guess which Atlanta restaurants might add a second location, YET TUH would have been near the bottom of the list. The original eatery, hidden a block off Buford Highway, is just so homey and unassuming that the very idea that it could multiply seemed implausible. But here they are, withmore...
If we had to guess which Atlanta restaurants might add a second location, YET TUH would have been near the bottom of the list. The original eatery, hidden a block off Buford Highway, is just so homey and unassuming that the very idea that it could multiply seemed implausible. But here they are, with a shiny new location in Duluth off Pleasant Hill Road, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Yet Tuh continues to offer some of the most soulful Korean fare around, from heartwarming stews to the delightful omurice (fried rice tucked inside an omelet blanket). We’ll still frequent the original location, but we now have a new favorite among the bevy of Korean restaurants buffering I-85 in Duluth. 2605 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. 470-488-5000. 3042 Oakcliff Road, Doraville. 770-454-9292. less...

Best dinner party secret weapon

Bakkal International Foods
Middle Eastern cuisines are in the spotlight, and there’s no better place in Atlanta than BAKKAL INTERNATIONAL FOODS, located just inside the Perimeter on Roswell Road, to source the hard-to-find ingredients necessary for cooking up these cuisines at home. Though Bakkal excels in Turkish products,more...
Middle Eastern cuisines are in the spotlight, and there’s no better place in Atlanta than BAKKAL INTERNATIONAL FOODS, located just inside the Perimeter on Roswell Road, to source the hard-to-find ingredients necessary for cooking up these cuisines at home. Though Bakkal excels in Turkish products, their wares cover a wide swath, from Bulgaria across the Mediterranean to Lebanon and Egypt. Here, you’ll find plentiful options for tahini or pomegranate syrup — a critical component in recreating the famous lamb shoulder in the Zahav cookbook, which is guaranteed to impress any and all dinner guests. Sip a cold mint yogurt soda (made in California, though Persian by heritage) while perusing fresh breads from Grand Prix Bakery in Lawrenceville and pistachio tahini helvasi by Turkish brand Koska, which will turn you on to the joys of this unfairly maligned Middle Eastern sesame dessert. 5690 Roswell Road, Suite 100, Sandy Springs. 404-847-9942. www.bakkalinternational.com. less...

Best restaurant group revolution

The Canteen
Why have one when you can have four? That’s the theory in play at Midtown newbie THE CANTEEN, which pushes the boundaries of the term “food hall” by splitting up a space that formerly housed one restaurant (the Spence) into three food stalls (Yalla, Fred’s Meat & Bread, TGM Bagel) and a fullmore...
Why have one when you can have four? That’s the theory in play at Midtown newbie THE CANTEEN, which pushes the boundaries of the term “food hall” by splitting up a space that formerly housed one restaurant (the Spence) into three food stalls (Yalla, Fred’s Meat & Bread, TGM Bagel) and a full bar (Square Bar). It’s a bold and, dare we say, revolutionary repurposing of the real estate overlooking the Centergy One plaza in Tech Square — and clearly one built off lessons learned by partners Todd Ginsberg, Jennifer and Ben Johnson and Shelley Sweet at their Krog Street Market locations of Yalla and Fred’s. From coffee and a bagel in the a.m. to decadent sandwiches at lunch to a burger and a beer as the sun sets, the Canteen packs plenty of punch to keep both residents and office-goers well fed all day. 75 Fifth St. N.W., Suite 170. www.thecanteenatl.com. less...

Best place to feast when you’re stoned

Food Terminal Food Terminal
Buford Highway has long been a bastion for fantastic Asian cuisine, but one of its most recent arrivals takes the scene to new heights. Uber-modern Malaysian food hall-style eatery FOOD TERMINAL has been racking up accolades ever since chef Amy Wong and partner Howard Ewe of bakery mini-chain Sweet Hutmore...
Buford Highway has long been a bastion for fantastic Asian cuisine, but one of its most recent arrivals takes the scene to new heights. Uber-modern Malaysian food hall-style eatery FOOD TERMINAL has been racking up accolades ever since chef Amy Wong and partner Howard Ewe of bakery mini-chain Sweet Hut opened doors this past spring. And when you have the munchies, there’s really no better spot to make your feasting fantasies come to life (trust us). The glossy, magazine-style menu boasts 50 pages of pan-Asian food options, from unctuous bone marrow ramen to barbecue pork noodles to a sizzling skillet of tomato-braised, Spam-studded rice covered in melty cheese that puts whatever brand of delivery chain pizza you ordered in college to shame. There are pictures of every item and a convenient menu form to fill out that cuts down on anxiety-inducing human contact, plus cold and creamy Thai tea for your dry mouth. Oh happy daze. 5000 Buford Highway, Chamblee. 678-353-6110. www.foodterminal.com. less...

Best gas station snack

Rap Snacks
Although obvious genius James “Fly” Lindsay invented RAP SNACKS in Philadelphia back in 1994, the self-described “official snacks of hip-hop” didn’t go mainstream until last summer, when a regional re-launch brought them to shelves up and down the East Coast (including Atlanta). Migos, ourmore...
Although obvious genius James “Fly” Lindsay invented RAP SNACKS in Philadelphia back in 1994, the self-described “official snacks of hip-hop” didn’t go mainstream until last summer, when a regional re-launch brought them to shelves up and down the East Coast (including Atlanta). Migos, our hometown heroes, helped with the brand’s reinvention, lending both their faces and an auto-tune-happy promotional jingle dubbed “Dab of Ranch” to accompany their signature potato chip flavor: Sour Cream with a Dab of Ranch (naturally). Best of all, each bag of snacks features a uncanny valley likeness of its namesake rapper plus an inspirational quote on the back like this one from the Migos: “Dabbin’ is a lifestyle.” The newest crop of Rap Snacks includes Lil Yachty’s Owee crunchy curls and Trina’s honeydew cheese puffs. Yes, honeydew cheese puffs. We just love Rap Snacks so much. www.rapsnacks.net. less...

Best new chef

Parnass Savang
At only 27 years old, Lawrenceville-raised chef PARNASS SAVANG boasts an impressive resume: early years spent in his father’s Thai-American restaurant, Danthai; a diploma from the Culinary Institute of America; stages at some of the world’s best Thai restaurants; and cooking experience at Empiremore...

At only 27 years old, Lawrenceville-raised chef PARNASS SAVANG boasts an impressive resume: early years spent in his father’s Thai-American restaurant, Danthai; a diploma from the Culinary Institute of America; stages at some of the world’s best Thai restaurants; and cooking experience at Empire State South, Staplehouse and Kimball House. But now, with pop-up restaurant Talat Market, Savang has created something entirely his own: the first-ever “Georgian Thai” dining concept. Every weekend night since May, inside the tiny open kitchen of Candler Park’s Gato Bizco Café, Savang and sous chef Rod Lassiter have been churning out intricate dishes that blend traditional Thai techniques with Georgia-grown, seasonally driven ingredients. Here, you might find a classic spicy Thai salad packed with local peaches or a yellow crab curry with sweet potato greens. Savang has brought a whole new level to Thai food in our city, and Talat Market manages to stand out in a culinary landscape crowded with fantastic pop-ups. Rumor has it a brick-and-mortar version is coming soon, and we’re more than a little excited. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 6-10 p.m. Gato Bizco Café, 1660 McLendon Ave. N.E. www.instagram.com/talat_marketatl.

photo by: Eric Cash

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Best restaurant reinvention

Bacchanalia Bacchanalia
When California-trained chef duo Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison opened BACCHANALIA inside a repurposed Piedmont Road cottage back in 1993, they became one of the very first restaurants in Atlanta to embody the concept of farm-to-table. By 1999, they’d expanded to a former meatpacking plant onmore...

When California-trained chef duo Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison opened BACCHANALIA inside a repurposed Piedmont Road cottage back in 1993, they became one of the very first restaurants in Atlanta to embody the concept of farm-to-table. By 1999, they’d expanded to a former meatpacking plant on the Westside, where they solidified their reputation as Atlanta’s fine dining standard-bearer. Quatrano won a Best Chef: Southeast award from the James Beard Foundation in 2003 for her dedicated use of hyperlocally sourced ingredients, masterful techniques and gorgeous plating. Then, last year, the couple announced they’d be moving once again — this time to a purpose-built monolith of glass and wood designed in collaboration between the proprietors and design firm Perkins+Will. The new space opened this spring, complete with an attached gourmet market, Star Provisions and onsite herb garden. Today, newly appointed executive chef Jonathan Kallini keeps Bacchanalia’s prix fixe menu as strong as ever, and still just as dedicated to local sourcing: Much of the produce comes directly from Quatrano’s own Summerland Farm in Cartersville. Nearly two decades after it opened, amid an entirely new and entirely more crowded culinary landscape, Bacchanalia remains both relevant and fresh. 1460 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd. N.W. 404-365-0410. www.starprovisions.com/bacchanalia.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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Best barbecue

B’s Cracklin’ BBQ
Originally based in Savannah, B’S CRACKLIN’ BBQ pitmaster Bryan Furman came to the A and sweet-talked us with his no-frills culinary ode to Georgia: mustard-based and vinegar barbecue sauces made with peaches. Then we tasted the heritage breed whole hogs he smokes over oak and cherry wood. Furthermore...
Originally based in Savannah, B’S CRACKLIN’ BBQ pitmaster Bryan Furman came to the A and sweet-talked us with his no-frills culinary ode to Georgia: mustard-based and vinegar barbecue sauces made with peaches. Then we tasted the heritage breed whole hogs he smokes over oak and cherry wood. Further swooning. His dry-rubbed brisket has that red badge-of-honor smoke ring interior and dark, flavorful bark, and he leaves it to guests to sauce the expertly smoked chicken, slabs of ribs and chopped pork. Even more poetic is his hash over rice: no-waste meat gravy made from uber-fatty hog’s heads sent through a sausage grinder with smoked shoulder and burnt ends. Made-from-scratch sides are just as soulful, and hoecake-style cornbread sops up any leftover bits. Just make sure to save room for the banana pudding. 2061 Main St. N.W. 678-949-9912. www.bscracklinbbq.com. less...

Best ’hood for vegans

West End
As the Beltline’s Westside Trail opens and the developers descend upon Atlanta’s WEST END, many longtime residents feel wary, and rightfully so. The historically Afrocentric enclave has long been a nucleus for education, spirituality and culture, welcoming an array of religious groups and arts andmore...

As the Beltline’s Westside Trail opens and the developers descend upon Atlanta’s WEST END, many longtime residents feel wary, and rightfully so. The historically Afrocentric enclave has long been a nucleus for education, spirituality and culture, welcoming an array of religious groups and arts and wellness communities since the late 1960s. New development inevitably begets gentrification, and the community has a lot to lose. In the early ’90s, the West End became home to Soul Vegetarian, a vegan soul food cafeteria led by the local chapter of the Hebrew Israelite Community of Jerusalem. The restaurant became a catalyst for newer plant-based concepts, and today the neighborhood boasts half a dozen meat-free eateries within walking distance of each other, including Tassili’s Raw Reality for raw yet hearty wraps, Healthful Essence for Caribbean classics and KarbonStar Vitality for house-made soups and vegan pizzas called “Sizzlas,” and more.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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Best casual steakhouse

The Federal The Federal
The steakhouse genre too often comes in the form of overly stuffy bastions of masculine excess. THE FEDERAL does no such thing. It’s tempting to call Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere’s new Midtown spot a simple bistro, but the steak offerings at the heart of the menu stretch the definition. From hand-cutmore...
The steakhouse genre too often comes in the form of overly stuffy bastions of masculine excess. THE FEDERAL does no such thing. It’s tempting to call Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere’s new Midtown spot a simple bistro, but the steak offerings at the heart of the menu stretch the definition. From hand-cut Iowa filets ordered by the ounce to massive yet attractively priced porterhouses, the Federal tempts with well-sourced cuts cooked simply in cast iron. Plus, there’s the option of expertly prepared sauces like au poivre, béarnaise and chasseur on the side. A three-course steak frites prix fixe for $30 offers the best bargain on the menu, available from 5-7 p.m. at the bar, Monday through Fridays only. 1050 Crescent Ave. N.E. 404-343-3857. www.thefederalatl.com. less...

Best dessert revolution

Sweet, Sweet Syria
Last year, after fleeing war-torn Syria, Ruwaida, Khaled and their two young children came to Atlanta through local refugee resettlement nonprofit New American Pathways. As they struggled to acclimate to their new surroundings, they found community in a new neighbor, Amanda Avutu, who wrote a Modernmore...
Last year, after fleeing war-torn Syria, Ruwaida, Khaled and their two young children came to Atlanta through local refugee resettlement nonprofit New American Pathways. As they struggled to acclimate to their new surroundings, they found community in a new neighbor, Amanda Avutu, who wrote a Modern Love essay for the New York Times about the tight bond that eventually developed between them. Over the past months, that bond has led to SWEET, SWEET SYRIA, a supper club and bakery. Already a skilled chef in her home country, Ruwaida now hosts pop-up dinners and sells traditional Syrian cookies based on her mother’s recipe. The company is working on setting up an e-commerce system on their website, but cookies are currently available by preordered pick-up at Decatur’s Kavarna on a weekly basis. Stay tuned to the Sweet, Sweet Syria website and Facebook page for updates and future pop-ups. www.sweetsweetsyria.com. less...

Best late-night hangout

Bon Ton Bon Ton
Midtown’s BON TON is as seat-of-the-pants as a restaurant gets. The mode here is house party, and the décor is pure kitsch in the retro den of fictional founder Hoa Nguyen and his most interesting mashup of Louisiana-meets-Vietnam cookery. A cheeky neon sign reads “Fancy Service” as fried basketsmore...
Midtown’s BON TON is as seat-of-the-pants as a restaurant gets. The mode here is house party, and the décor is pure kitsch in the retro den of fictional founder Hoa Nguyen and his most interesting mashup of Louisiana-meets-Vietnam cookery. A cheeky neon sign reads “Fancy Service” as fried baskets of seafood, boiled peanuts and banh mi sandwiches roll through the dining room until 2 a.m. Maybe Prince comes through the speakers, maybe Otis Redding. All music pairs well with their frozen versions of Pimm’s Cups and Vietnamese Irish coffee, served in color-changing plastic vessels, of course. Though the Bon Ton family tragically lost their head bartender, the talented Patrick Kuhen, late last month in a road accident, they celebrated his life in true Nola fashion: with a second line led by a brass band through the streets of Midtown. 674 Myrtle St. N.E. 404-996-6177. www.bontonatl.com. less...

Best new café

Petit Chou Petit Chou
In a recently restored, periwinkle-painted edifice on Memorial Drive in Cabbagetown sits PETIT CHOU, a French-meets-Southern café that backs up its cozy ambiance with a serious commitment to local sourcing and a deeply felt mutual respect between management, staff and customers. Chef Diana Presson Ellermore...
In a recently restored, periwinkle-painted edifice on Memorial Drive in Cabbagetown sits PETIT CHOU, a French-meets-Southern café that backs up its cozy ambiance with a serious commitment to local sourcing and a deeply felt mutual respect between management, staff and customers. Chef Diana Presson Eller has called it her “little idealistic, egalitarian-dream, feminist anarcafé” and serves up an array of sandwiches, salads and house-made craft sodas with ingredients like hyssop and cardamom. At breakfast, there are hearty grit bowls, avocado toast and Croque Monsieurs, and the chicken liver mousse — available any time of day and served with house preserves, toast and seasonal produce — is a must-order. Currently open only for breakfast and lunch, Petit Chou will eventually expand to dinner hours with a full bar program. 662 Memorial Drive S.E. 470-270-8996. www.petitchouatl.com less...

Best unsung hero

Decatur’s Kimball House has a dedicated oyster room with a viewing window. In this lovely nook, about 5,000 oysters from around the world are shucked each week, and more than half of those (like, 3,500) get shucked by a hero. No really: His given name is HE RO, and for obvious reasons, he goes by Hero.more...

Decatur’s Kimball House has a dedicated oyster room with a viewing window. In this lovely nook, about 5,000 oysters from around the world are shucked each week, and more than half of those (like, 3,500) get shucked by a hero. No really: His given name is HE RO, and for obvious reasons, he goes by Hero. Part of the Karen ethnic group, Hero was born in war-torn Burma but spent most of his childhood in a Thai refugee camp near the border before arriving in the U.S. at age 15. Watching him swiftly and deftly open bivalves today, it’s hard to imagine Kimball House without him, and one would never guess he’d never even touched an oyster before joining Kimball House in September of 2013. So, next time you are slurping during oyster happy hour (5-7 p.m. every weekday) clink a glass for our culinary hero, Hero. 303 E. Howard Ave., Decatur. 404-378-3502. www.kimball-house.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best brunch

Rising Sun
Whether you’re hankering for a pile of pork chops with two eggs and grits or a healthful vegan grain bowl with seasonal veggies, the search ends at RISING SON, tucked away in the Tudor village of Avondale Estates. This mellow spot is soaked in familial comfort, with husband-and-wife team Kathryn andmore...

Whether you’re hankering for a pile of pork chops with two eggs and grits or a healthful vegan grain bowl with seasonal veggies, the search ends at RISING SON, tucked away in the Tudor village of Avondale Estates. This mellow spot is soaked in familial comfort, with husband-and-wife team Kathryn and Hudson Rouse focusing on vegetables from local farms, friends and even their own garden. In season, their tomato sandwich tastes like home, and you can always order from the meat-and-three menu. Standouts include a fried chicken, bacon and cheddar biscuit; chorizo tacos; fried trout over cheese grits; and crispy breakfast dumplings with ginger, cilantro, and maple soy glaze. Rising Son is a calm oasis amid the chaos of Atlanta brunch culture: satisfying but not sloppy, sophisticated yet chill. 124 N. Avondale Road, Avondale Estates, 404-600-5297. www.facebook.com/RisingSonavondale.

photo by: Lindsey Max

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Best biscuits

Erika Council
Known for her famous pop-up Sunday Supper Club, ERIKA COUNCIL’s biscuit recipe (and perhaps her graceful charm) comes by way of her grandmothers. Lately, she has been popping up at B’s Cracklin’ BBQ, mixing and folding flour, butter, shortening (or B’s famous lard) and buttermilk into layersmore...
Known for her famous pop-up Sunday Supper Club, ERIKA COUNCIL’s biscuit recipe (and perhaps her graceful charm) comes by way of her grandmothers. Lately, she has been popping up at B’s Cracklin’ BBQ, mixing and folding flour, butter, shortening (or B’s famous lard) and buttermilk into layers by hand. The softest, fluffiest biscuits and her iced Cinn-rolls draw long queues and early sellouts. Council’s grace extends to her pretty blog, Southern Souffle, where she shares her recipes and stories of the South. We crown her our Biscuit Queen. www.southernsouffle.com. less...

Best Atlanta beer

Juice Willis IPA Series Wrecking Bar Brewpub
Perhaps the most-talked-about craft beer trend of 2017 was the New England-style India Pale Ale. An easy-drinking riff on craft’s most popular style, NE IPAs prioritize tantalizing hop aromas and juicy flavor profiles over bitterness and the “hoppy” wallop generally associated with IPAs. Wreckingmore...
Perhaps the most-talked-about craft beer trend of 2017 was the New England-style India Pale Ale. An easy-drinking riff on craft’s most popular style, NE IPAs prioritize tantalizing hop aromas and juicy flavor profiles over bitterness and the “hoppy” wallop generally associated with IPAs. Wrecking Bar’s one-off JUICE WILLIS IPA SERIES — which the Little Five Points brewpub started in January — has been a joy to behold in that regard. They’ve released a new beer every few weeks (nine variations and counting at press time), each time adding new recipe tweaks and a new Bruce Willis pun for the name. It’s rare to see a local beer that’s so on trend, delicious and admirably exemplifying brewing innovation all at once. Check @wreckingbarbrewpub on Instagram for the latest batch. Wrecking Bar Brewpub, 292 Moreland Ave. N.E. 404-221-2600. www.wreckingbarbrewpub.com. less...

Best new brewpub

Hopstix Hopstix
In burgeoning Chamblee, HOPSTIX brewer and owner Andy Tan has blessed us with a concept both inventive and unprecedented. His Asian fusion brewpub, with its wood-laced, rustic chic interior, boasts a tap list of Georgia craft breweries alongside an array of consistently solid IPAs, wheat beers, portersmore...

In burgeoning Chamblee, HOPSTIX brewer and owner Andy Tan has blessed us with a concept both inventive and unprecedented. His Asian fusion brewpub, with its wood-laced, rustic chic interior, boasts a tap list of Georgia craft breweries alongside an array of consistently solid IPAs, wheat beers, porters and pilsners that Tan brews onsite. But it’s the food that separates Hopstix from the rest of Atlanta’s many breweries, thanks to executive chef Dony Raymond. An exposed kitchen showcases professionally garbed cooks filleting five-foot-long cuts of tuna, robata-grilling numerous satay variations, plating fried rice topped with Alaskan king crab and rolling fresh sushi to pair with the brewpub’s impressive array of suds. 3404 Pierce Drive N.E., Chamblee. 678-888-2306. www.hopstixbrewing.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best brunch

Atlanta Breakfast Club

Best Indian

Masala Indian Cuisine

Best Mexican

Nuevo Laredo Cantina Nuevo Laredo Cantina

Best Vietmanese

Lee’s Bakery Lee's Bakery

Best pizza

Antico Pizza

Best beer festival

Decatur Craft Beer Festival

Best service

Atlanta Breakfast Club

Best Chinese

Golden Buddha Restaurant

Best Italian

Bambinelli’s

Best Middle Eastern

Imperial Fez

Best food truck

King Kabob

photo by: Joeff Davis

Best Southern

The Colonnade Restaurant The Colonnade Restaurant

Best doughnut

Revolution Doughnuts

Best fried chicken

Matthews Cafeteria

Best cocktails

Red Phone Booth

Best jucies/smoothies

Arden’s Garden

Best restaurant to bring the kids

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best patio dining

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best hamburger

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best french fries

Fred’s Meat and Bread

Best food hall

Krog Street Market Krog Street Market

Best ice cream

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Best soup

Steamhouse Lounge Steamhouse Lounge

Best French

Bread & Butterfly Bread & Butterfly

Best chef

Rafih Benjelloun

Best bakery

Proof Bakeshop Proof Bakeshop

Best seafood

The Optimist The Optimist

Best Thai

L’Thai West Organic Cuisine & Wine Bar

Best tacos

Taqueria del Sol Taqueria Del Sol

Best sandwiches

Victory Sandwich Bar Victory Sandwich Bar

Best barbecue

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
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Best brunch

Atlanta Breakfast Club

Best Indian

Masala Indian Cuisine

Best Mexican

Nuevo Laredo Cantina Nuevo Laredo Cantina

Best Vietmanese

Lee’s Bakery Lee's Bakery

Best pizza

Antico Pizza

Best OTP newcomer

Spring
Praise be the OTP restaurant that makes intowners (not to mention out-of-towners) jealous. Marietta’s SPRING is such a place. Chef Brian So, formerly of Sobban, crafts elegantly simple compositions — like a recent sweet corn risotto with charred padróns and a scattering of local chanterelles —more...
Praise be the OTP restaurant that makes intowners (not to mention out-of-towners) jealous. Marietta’s SPRING is such a place. Chef Brian So, formerly of Sobban, crafts elegantly simple compositions — like a recent sweet corn risotto with charred padróns and a scattering of local chanterelles — that showcase our region’s bounty as well as any farm-driven ITP mainstay does. The rustic dining room, converted from an old train depot, makes good use of exposed brick and old wood beams, reminding you that you’re in the heart of a place with history — a feeling that’s increasingly hard to find among Midtown’s construction cranes. But be warned: Bon Appétit recently selected Spring as one of the 50 best new restaurants in the U.S., which will surely spur visits from well beyond Marietta’s bounds. 83 Church St., Marietta. 678-540-2777. www.springmarietta.com. less...

Best career move

Michael Hendricks Staplehouse
Chef and home cooks alike used to arrive early to Peachtree Road Farmers Market to get first dibs on forager MICHAEL HENDRICKS’ found edibles. This year, however, after nine years of working closely with Staplehouse’s Ryan Smith, Hendricks took a forager’s dream job, searching through the woodsmore...
Chef and home cooks alike used to arrive early to Peachtree Road Farmers Market to get first dibs on forager MICHAEL HENDRICKS’ found edibles. This year, however, after nine years of working closely with Staplehouse’s Ryan Smith, Hendricks took a forager’s dream job, searching through the woods full-time for chef Smith’s award-winning restaurant. Besides mushrooms, he brings in ramps, daylily shoots and buds, wood sorrel, Japanese knotweed and violet leaves. That dreamy chicken liver tart recently came tweezered with Hendricks’ golden chanterelles, and marrying their skills together is the basis Staplehouse was born upon: “health, happiness, and longevity through what we eat,” as Hendricks puts it. He can take a little credit for that edible flower in your cocktail, too, as he also cares for the herb garden out back. Staplehouse, 541 Edgewood Ave. S.E. 404-524-5005. www.staplehouse.com. less...

Best long-awaited recognition

Steven Satterfield Miller Union
Root to leaf to medal: After five consecutive years of nominations for one of the restaurant industry’s highest honors, Miller Union’s STEVEN SATTERFIELD was finally named Best Chef: Southeast of 2017 by the James Beard Foundation. In a ceremony last spring in Chicago, fellow titleholder Anne Quatranomore...

Root to leaf to medal: After five consecutive years of nominations for one of the restaurant industry’s highest honors, Miller Union’s STEVEN SATTERFIELD was finally named Best Chef: Southeast of 2017 by the James Beard Foundation. In a ceremony last spring in Chicago, fellow titleholder Anne Quatrano placed the coveted and well-deserved medal around Satterfield’s neck. And collectively, we in Atlanta cheered because Satterfield has long been a dedicated champion of both our local farmers and our bellies, churning out seasonal, veggie-focused food (not to mention an impeccably curated wine list, which was also nominated this year) at eight-year-old Atlanta gem Miller Union. You earned it, chef. Miller Union, 999 Brady Ave. N.W. 678-733-8550. www.millerunion.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best food spectacle

Gunshow Gunshow
Get your tickets to the GUNSHOW because there is no place quite like it. Kevin Gillespie’s Glenwood Park hot spot is the rare collision of cool concept meets exceptional food. There are no menus with set courses; rather, dishes audition for your choosing as chefs come to the table and present itemsmore...
Get your tickets to the GUNSHOW because there is no place quite like it. Kevin Gillespie’s Glenwood Park hot spot is the rare collision of cool concept meets exceptional food. There are no menus with set courses; rather, dishes audition for your choosing as chefs come to the table and present items both homey and exotic. A mashup of dim sum and Brazilian churrascaria, where a wide-open kitchen sets the stage for maximum chef-diner interaction, Gunshow is never the same place twice. Executive chef Joey Ward carefully curates a scene of clever, heartfelt and playful food. Cocktails come by way of a rolling cart, where your conductor, Mercedes O’Brien, mixes and stirs right in front of you. 924 Garrett St., Suite C. 404-380-1886. www.gunshowatl.com. less...

Best little chocolate factory in Atlanta

XOCOLATL
Nestled inside Krog Street Market sits the tiniest chocolate factory in Atlanta — and maybe the nation. Husband and wife team Elaine Read and Matt Weyandt opened XOCOLATL back in 2014 and have been steadily churning chocolate bars (and their highly addictive drinking chocolate — hot in the wintermore...
Nestled inside Krog Street Market sits the tiniest chocolate factory in Atlanta — and maybe the nation. Husband and wife team Elaine Read and Matt Weyandt opened XOCOLATL back in 2014 and have been steadily churning chocolate bars (and their highly addictive drinking chocolate — hot in the winter and frozen in the summer) out of their miniscule 250-something-square-foot space ever since. The couple is serious about ingredients and sourcing. All bars are single origin and start with a base of just cane sugar and pure cacao from South and Central America. Be sure to try their latest offering: Love & Happiness, made with Peruvian cacao beans, fresh raspberry and blood orange. 99 Krog St. N.E. 404-604-9642. www.xocolatlchocolate.com less...

Best beer festival

Decatur Craft Beer Festival

Best service

Atlanta Breakfast Club

Best Chinese

Golden Buddha Restaurant

Best Italian

Bambinelli’s

Best Middle Eastern

Imperial Fez

Best food truck

King Kabob

photo by: Joeff Davis

Best Southern

The Colonnade Restaurant The Colonnade Restaurant

Best doughnut

Revolution Doughnuts

Best fried chicken

Matthews Cafeteria

Best cocktails

Red Phone Booth

Best jucies/smoothies

Arden’s Garden

Best gluten-free oasis

Mediterranea
Housed inside an old trolley depot with a rooftop patio overlooking Ormond Park, MEDITERRANEA has been a more-than-welcome addition to the Grant Park neighborhood, and to celiacs all over the city. It’s the first full-service gluten-free restaurant in Atlanta, but it’s also so much more than that.more...
Housed inside an old trolley depot with a rooftop patio overlooking Ormond Park, MEDITERRANEA has been a more-than-welcome addition to the Grant Park neighborhood, and to celiacs all over the city. It’s the first full-service gluten-free restaurant in Atlanta, but it’s also so much more than that. With a menu of innovative, vegetable-driven dishes that pull from Italian, Greek, French and Israeli cuisines, the restaurant lives by author Michael Pollan’s simple edict: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” At dinner, you’ll find herb-roasted chicken or shrimp with manchego polenta alongside a number of hearty vegan options like roasted beet risotto or chard dolmas. The lunches and brunches are killer, too (gluten-free peach mascarpone French toast, anyone?), and there’s a sophisticated wine list and an array of classic cocktails on hand. And definitely, definitely don’t skip dessert. 332 Ormond St. S.E. 404-748-4219. www.mediterraneaatl.com. less...

Best brunch revolution

Brush Sushi Izakaya Brush Sushi Izakaya
There are countless brunches in Atlanta, but there is nothing like chef Jason Liang’s at Downtown Decatur’s BRUSH SUSHI IZAKAYA. He shakes up the typical ATL a.m. routine with a serving of Japanese tradition: super fluffy pancakes (both sweet and savory), lovely rice bowls with assorted treasuresmore...
There are countless brunches in Atlanta, but there is nothing like chef Jason Liang’s at Downtown Decatur’s BRUSH SUSHI IZAKAYA. He shakes up the typical ATL a.m. routine with a serving of Japanese tradition: super fluffy pancakes (both sweet and savory), lovely rice bowls with assorted treasures from the sea and a sizeable selection of sushi rolls. The eggs here are ajitsuke: marinated, soft-boiled, and resting atop oodles of noodles in a lobster or manila clam broth. Liang has gained a following for his skillful omakase presentation, but you haven’t seen his full range until you’ve had a Brush with his brunch. 316 Church St., Decatur, 678-949-9412. www.brushatl.com. less...

Best industry trend

Mindfully Sober Subculture
There is a new sort of sustainability being talked about among our food and beverage community — an industry with a well-documented tendency toward substance abuse. A MINDFULLY SOBER SUBCULTURE is emerging with the message that drugs and alcohol need not go hand-in-hand with restaurant work. This year,more...
There is a new sort of sustainability being talked about among our food and beverage community — an industry with a well-documented tendency toward substance abuse. A MINDFULLY SOBER SUBCULTURE is emerging with the message that drugs and alcohol need not go hand-in-hand with restaurant work. This year, local chefs Nick Melvin and Sean Brock have shared their journeys toward sobriety with a badge of honor. The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival offered a “Chill Space” for chefs and bartenders to be spirited without the spirits. Restaurateur Steve Palmer started Ben’s Friends, a support group “offering hope to the F&B industry.” Named for late chef Ben Murray, the group meets at 11 a.m. every Sunday at Westside’s O-Ku to bring the community together with “open ears, hearts, and minds.” The tone is communal, not preachy, and we think that’s pretty great. www.bensfriendshope.com/atlanta. less...

Best local coffee company

Radio Roasters
Now that Atlanta is well saturated with good coffee shops, the micro-roasters are the ones making waves — especially in the wake of regional player Revelator snapping up and rebranding local darling Octane. RADIO ROASTERS is all about serving ATL, and both its single-origin coffees and its sleek designmore...
Now that Atlanta is well saturated with good coffee shops, the micro-roasters are the ones making waves — especially in the wake of regional player Revelator snapping up and rebranding local darling Octane. RADIO ROASTERS is all about serving ATL, and both its single-origin coffees and its sleek design aesthetic have us amped up. (Scope their website, and you’ll see what we mean.) Radio Roasters was founded in 2013 by Chip Grabow, whose background lies in news media with NPR and CNN, but the business has kept a relatively low profile until this past year, focusing on coffees roasted to order. They now host Open Roastery Saturdays at their base in Scottdale, plus offer a free delivery zone stretching eastward from Downtown through Edgewood to Decatur and Avondale Estates — making it easy to get your hands on some killer beans. www.radioroasters.com. less...

Best Georgia beer development

Senate Bill 85
Following years of work by the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild and countless beer advocates around the state, SENATE BILL 85 was finally signed into law this year, allowing Peach State beer makers to start selling beer directly to their customers on Sept. 1. Georgia is the final state in the country to passmore...
Following years of work by the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild and countless beer advocates around the state, SENATE BILL 85 was finally signed into law this year, allowing Peach State beer makers to start selling beer directly to their customers on Sept. 1. Georgia is the final state in the country to pass such seemingly common-sense legislation, but hey, better late than never! Here’s how it works: You can now walk into a brewery and buy unlimited — well, you know, drink responsibly — beer by the glass, and you can take up to a case’s worth (up to 288 ounces) to go. Expect to see some interesting new breweries opening soon as result. less...

Best food revolutionary

Abiodun Henderson
Born in Brooklyn as the daughter of a Liberian immigrant and a Black Panther, 34-year-old ABIODUN HENDERSON is no stranger to social justice. Though her parents both died young, they instilled in her a passion for helping others, whatever the cost. Eventually, Henderson joined the Occupy the Hood movement,more...
Born in Brooklyn as the daughter of a Liberian immigrant and a Black Panther, 34-year-old ABIODUN HENDERSON is no stranger to social justice. Though her parents both died young, they instilled in her a passion for helping others, whatever the cost. Eventually, Henderson joined the Occupy the Hood movement, and dedicated her own life to empowering low-income black communities. In 2016, she founded her Westview-based social business, Gangstas to Growers, to provide formerly incarcerated young men with agriculture-centered job training. Once they graduate the educational program, participants are placed into local food industry externships designed to provide the tools and connections to pursue full-time employment. Gangstas to Growers even has its own hot sauce, Sweet Sol, a lavender and turmeric flavored blend made from ingredients grown by the program’s trainees. For Henderson, food is a tool for justice. “We need education so we can do for ourselves,” she says. “Agriculture is the way.” www.facebook.com/gangstastogrowers. less...

Best restaurant to bring the kids

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best patio dining

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best hamburger

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best french fries

Fred’s Meat and Bread

Best food hall

Krog Street Market Krog Street Market

Best ice cream

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Best soup

Steamhouse Lounge Steamhouse Lounge

Best overall restaurant

8arm 8ARM
After the sad and sudden death of chef/partner Angus Brown in early January, the fate of four-month-old 8ARM was uncertain. But with deep love and tenacity, the tight-knit, uber-talented staff — including partner Nhan Le, pastry maestro Sarah Dodge and chefs Keith Remes, Wilson Gourley and Brooks Raymanmore...

After the sad and sudden death of chef/partner Angus Brown in early January, the fate of four-month-old 8ARM was uncertain. But with deep love and tenacity, the tight-knit, uber-talented staff — including partner Nhan Le, pastry maestro Sarah Dodge and chefs Keith Remes, Wilson Gourley and Brooks Rayman — managed to get the restaurant back up and running the next day … and every day since. From early mornings to late nights, cinnamon rolls to ceviches, they’ve been cooking and serving an ever-changing kaleidoscope of locally sourced culinary magic, keeping things fresh while loyally maintaining Brown’s earthy, funky vibe. The recently finished patio finds Joshua Fryer slinging drinks for the cool kids from a repurposed, tropical-themed shipping container late into the night. For all these reasons and more, 8arm is our pick for 2017’s best restaurant. We miss you terribly, Angus, but we think you’d be pretty proud of what you left behind. 710 Ponce de Leon Ave. 470-875-5856. www.8armatl.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best unexpected expansion

Yet Tuh Yet Tuh
If we had to guess which Atlanta restaurants might add a second location, YET TUH would have been near the bottom of the list. The original eatery, hidden a block off Buford Highway, is just so homey and unassuming that the very idea that it could multiply seemed implausible. But here they are, withmore...
If we had to guess which Atlanta restaurants might add a second location, YET TUH would have been near the bottom of the list. The original eatery, hidden a block off Buford Highway, is just so homey and unassuming that the very idea that it could multiply seemed implausible. But here they are, with a shiny new location in Duluth off Pleasant Hill Road, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Yet Tuh continues to offer some of the most soulful Korean fare around, from heartwarming stews to the delightful omurice (fried rice tucked inside an omelet blanket). We’ll still frequent the original location, but we now have a new favorite among the bevy of Korean restaurants buffering I-85 in Duluth. 2605 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. 470-488-5000. 3042 Oakcliff Road, Doraville. 770-454-9292. less...

Best dinner party secret weapon

Bakkal International Foods
Middle Eastern cuisines are in the spotlight, and there’s no better place in Atlanta than BAKKAL INTERNATIONAL FOODS, located just inside the Perimeter on Roswell Road, to source the hard-to-find ingredients necessary for cooking up these cuisines at home. Though Bakkal excels in Turkish products,more...
Middle Eastern cuisines are in the spotlight, and there’s no better place in Atlanta than BAKKAL INTERNATIONAL FOODS, located just inside the Perimeter on Roswell Road, to source the hard-to-find ingredients necessary for cooking up these cuisines at home. Though Bakkal excels in Turkish products, their wares cover a wide swath, from Bulgaria across the Mediterranean to Lebanon and Egypt. Here, you’ll find plentiful options for tahini or pomegranate syrup — a critical component in recreating the famous lamb shoulder in the Zahav cookbook, which is guaranteed to impress any and all dinner guests. Sip a cold mint yogurt soda (made in California, though Persian by heritage) while perusing fresh breads from Grand Prix Bakery in Lawrenceville and pistachio tahini helvasi by Turkish brand Koska, which will turn you on to the joys of this unfairly maligned Middle Eastern sesame dessert. 5690 Roswell Road, Suite 100, Sandy Springs. 404-847-9942. www.bakkalinternational.com. less...

Best restaurant group revolution

The Canteen
Why have one when you can have four? That’s the theory in play at Midtown newbie THE CANTEEN, which pushes the boundaries of the term “food hall” by splitting up a space that formerly housed one restaurant (the Spence) into three food stalls (Yalla, Fred’s Meat & Bread, TGM Bagel) and a fullmore...
Why have one when you can have four? That’s the theory in play at Midtown newbie THE CANTEEN, which pushes the boundaries of the term “food hall” by splitting up a space that formerly housed one restaurant (the Spence) into three food stalls (Yalla, Fred’s Meat & Bread, TGM Bagel) and a full bar (Square Bar). It’s a bold and, dare we say, revolutionary repurposing of the real estate overlooking the Centergy One plaza in Tech Square — and clearly one built off lessons learned by partners Todd Ginsberg, Jennifer and Ben Johnson and Shelley Sweet at their Krog Street Market locations of Yalla and Fred’s. From coffee and a bagel in the a.m. to decadent sandwiches at lunch to a burger and a beer as the sun sets, the Canteen packs plenty of punch to keep both residents and office-goers well fed all day. 75 Fifth St. N.W., Suite 170. www.thecanteenatl.com. less...
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