At this time we announce the winners of the 2021 Eater Awards, celebrating the brand new eating places and pop-ups that made the biggest impression on all 24 Eater cities since January 2020.
After deferring final yr’s awards because the business got here to grips with the state of eating in the course of the early days of the pandemic, eating places are actually settling into the cadence of a brand new regular. However eating places contemporary on the Atlanta eating scene are setting the usual for what the way forward for the business seems to be like and the way it operates.
Selecting these winners isn’t simple — a process made tougher this yr by the extenuating circumstances introduced on by the worldwide well being disaster. The 2021 winners embody two eating places that started as pop-ups and efficiently transitioned to neighborhood locations; a restaurant staying true to its homeowners’ culinary roots and bringing Atlantans alongside for the trip; a vegan restaurant with a contemporary tackle a Southern meals establishment; a pandemic pivot from full-service eating to a neighborhood market and counter-service restaurant; and a pop-up born from the need to create a meals legacy.
With that, congratulations to the Atlanta winners for Greatest New Restaurant, Greatest Pop-As much as Everlasting Restaurant, Greatest New Menu, Greatest Pandemic Pivot, Greatest New Pop-Up, and Greatest New Vegan Restaurant. Winners will obtain Eater’s illustrious tomato can trophy to placed on show.
Tum Pok Pok, Chamblee
5000 Buford Freeway
Atlanta features a multitude of American Thai eating places, some higher than others. However when Tum Pok Pok opened on Buford Freeway in April, it captured the eye of not solely eating critics, however these in search of tried and true Thai dishes in Atlanta. The Chamblee restaurant, owned by Adidsara Weerasin and Jakkrit Tuanphakdee, focuses on Isan avenue eats and meals bought by distributors or present in properties all through northeast Thailand bordering the Mekong River. Weerasin and Tuanphakdee’s menu is transportive and real, full of the dishes, flavors, warmth, and elements of the Isan area, much like these discovered within the neighboring nation of Laos. Assume som tum (inexperienced papaya salad), larb khaotord, crab and pork dumplings, inexperienced curry, and pad thai Pok Pok with large freshwater prawns tossed in aromatic tamarind sauce.
Talat Market, Summerhill
112 Ormond Avenue
When homeowners Parnass Savang and Rod Lassiter launched Talat Market as a pop-up 4 years in the past at Gato in Candler Park, they dedicated to showcasing Thai dishes utilizing Georgia elements. Savang, whose dad and mom personal restaurant Danthai in Lawrenceville, needed to convey the meals of his household and Thailand alive on the menu. His grandmother bought pineapples at a market in Thailand, which can also be the inspiration for the restaurant’s emblem. An aunt owns a mango stand. An uncle owns a meals stall that serves braised pork legs. After efficiently transitioning from pop-up to everlasting restaurant in April 2020, Talat Market is now a eating vacation spot. That dedication to household recipes, authentic takes on Thai dishes, and Georgia farmers continues in Summerhill, too, the place dishes like fish head soup, crispy rice salad, and grilled spiny lobster pair with martinis, pure wine, and beer slushies.
Little Bear, Summerhill
71 Georgia Avenue
After operating pop-up Eat Me Speak Me for years, chef Jarrett Stieber noticed his dream to personal a restaurant come to fruition in February 2020. Little Bear is an enthralling Summerhill spot the place Stieber and his crew poke enjoyable at advantageous eating’s proclivity for tweezer meals with dishes rivaling the five-star institutions the chef lampoons. However, simply three weeks after opening, the pandemic precipitated Stieber to close down the eating room and shift Little Bear to takeout. The takeout menus continued to be as fascinating and enjoyable as these Stieber created on the restaurant and for Eat Me Communicate Me. The intelligent meals right here is an expertise and listed with the identical tongue-in-cheek descriptions which sustained Little Bear by way of the lean, darkish days of the early pandemic till dine-in service returned to the restaurant this summer season. Whereas the menu gives no incorrect strikes, Little Bear regulars know to inform their server, “Simply f*ck me up, fam!”, to partake in a four-course meal of Stieber’s personal design.
Staplehouse Market, Outdated Fourth Ward
541 Edgewood Avenue
Staplehouse, the award-winning tasting menu restaurant on Edgewood Avenue, reworked right into a neighborhood market and counter-service institution with a wonderful backyard patio final fall after the restaurant’s chef Ryan Smith and spouse Kara Hidinger bought it from non-profit Giving Kitchen. Regardless of this drastic shift in operations, Smith and his group proceed to churn out a formidable record of dishes each day from the market kitchen, together with the previous restaurant’s rooster liver tart and tender slices of brisket smoked in a barrel smoker and served with contemporary tortillas. Don’t skip the pastry case right here, or a chance to create a charcuterie and cheese board with the Staplehouse The whole lot Crackers and spongy focaccia topped with onion jam. Order cocktails or seize a bottle of wine from the market and head out again to get pleasure from on the coated patio or tables within the backyard full of pals and households gathered for an informal afternoon.
Grass VBQ Joint, Stone Mountain
5385 5 Forks Trickum Highway
What began out as a pop-up, first on the World Grub Collective after which at Orpheus Brewing, has now develop into certainly one of metro Atlanta’s most profitable vegan eating places. However what units proprietor Terry Sargent’s Stone Mountain restaurant aside are his vegan takes on Southern barbecue staples. At Grass VBQ Joint, Sargent doesn’t skimp on the flavors anticipated in barbecue down South, doling out smoked pulled jackfruit, smoked chick’n with Alabama white sauce and bread and butter pickles, and veef brisket sandwiches topped with celery slaw and Vidalia onion sauce. Paired with conventional sides, together with vegan smoked mac and cheese, bourbon baked beans, and even Brunswick stew, Sargent proves at Grass VBQ Joint that there’s extra to Southern barbecue than smoked meat.
La Chingana, Varied places
Chef Arnaldo Castillo first launched La Chingana in 2020 whereas working as the pinnacle chef of Minero at Ponce City Market. At first, the only goal behind the pop-up was to supply reduction for important staff in the course of the pandemic. When Castillo discovered himself at a crossroads in his profession earlier this yr, he left his job at Minero to focus full time on rising La Chingana right into a roving Atlanta restaurant which tells his household’s story by way of the meals of Peru. Together with his personal enterprise, Castillo says, he can start constructing generational wealth for his future kids. Now, the chef might be discovered popping up at eating places throughout Atlanta providing menus full of traditional and deeply private Peruvian dishes filled with taste and coronary heart, like ceviche clásico, jamón del país sandwiches, choros a la chorrillana (mussel escabeche on sourdough toast), and causa limeña. Castillo plans to show La Chingana right into a everlasting restaurant, an homage to Lima and northern Peru, the place his household hails from, and his godmother’s restaurant there.