Better of Atlanta 2021: Eat

Best of Atlanta 2021 Eat

See all Best of Atlanta 2021 winners


The Breakfast Boys
The Breakfast Boys

{Photograph} by Ben Rollins

Soul Breakfast: The Breakfast Boys

A spate of breakfast eating places has opened in Atlanta lately, however this School Park spot—with its Insta-friendly decor, its cocktails, its jerk hen and candy potato waffles, its luscious catfish, shrimp, and grits—is definitely on the high of the record.

Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ
Rodney Scott’s Entire Hog BBQ

{Photograph} by Martha Williams

New ’Cue: Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ

A legend in his house state of South Carolina, Scott introduced his immaculately smoked meats this 12 months to Adair Park. Pulled pork is on the coronary heart of the enterprise, however there’s additionally hen, ribs, and fish, plus facet dishes nearly as good as the principle sights: Mac and cheese and banana pudding are each must-orders.

Caribbean: Escovitchez

A mixture of ’90s R&B, reggaeton, and Afrobeats retains the partitions bumping at this common Snellville restaurant, which serves island staples—oxtails and rice, curry goat—in addition to new twists on previous faves, reminiscent of ackee and saltfish egg rolls and loaded “nachos” made with fried plantains. Wash all of it down with rum punch or one of many signature mojitos—however sip slowly.

Executive Pastry Chef Claudia Martinez
Miller Union government pastry chef Claudia Martinez

Courtesy of Miller Union

Profession Transfer: Claudia Martinez to Miller Union

It was in all probability inevitable that Claudia Martinez, possibly the town’s greatest pastry chef, would take her abilities to Miller Union—possibly the town’s greatest restaurant, helmed by chef Steven Satterfield. As at her earlier gig at Tiny Lou’s, Martinez seems visually gorgeous, vibrant-tasting desserts made with seasonal produce.

New Ethiopian: Chef Winnie’s Kitchen

That is principally a one-woman present, and that girl—Addis Ababa native Woinshet Legesse Emory, aka Chef Winnie—is as charming as she is flexible, nearly as good with Ethiopian favorites like kitfo (spiced floor beef) as with extra bespoke creations: Probably the most satisfying gadgets at her Clarkston restaurant is the Ethiopian-spiced quesadilla.

Mezze and Extra: Nur Kitchen

You’ll be able to’t actually go incorrect on Buford Freeway, after all. However if you wish to go very, very, very proper? Head to this small however well-appointed eating room close to Norcross, the place chef Shay Lavi prepares the Mediterranean dishes that goals are fabricated from, together with hummus and baba ghanoush, falafel, and roasted-beet salad, plus sandwiches, shawarma, and beautiful combined platters.

Vegan: Grass VBQ Joint

At many eating places, vegan substitutes for historically meaty dishes usually style like what they’re: an afterthought. At this Stone Mountain spot, although, the animal-free options have been lovingly crafted by 20-year culinary vet Terry Sargent, whose care and expertise taste each chew. Varied plant-based “meats,” smoked over a mix of three woods, discover their means into dishes like brisket sandwich and Brunswick stew, a Georgia favourite made right here with jackfruit.

Burmese: Two Fish Myanmar

An inconstant presence on the Atlanta restaurant scene, the pungent, well-spiced delicacies of Myanmar (aka Burma) has made a triumphant return—not at an precise restaurant, however at a family-run takeout enterprise open two days every week in residential Clarkston. Noodles, biryani, tea leaf salads, and electrically coloured desserts are a few of the standouts on an ever-changing menu. To seek out the place and put in an order, seek for the title on Fb.

New York–Model Pizza: Piccola New York Pizza Dunwoody

Combat us on this in order for you, however a few of the greatest NY-style pizza round is hiding in a Dunwoody strip mall, the place proprietor Wilton Vinas creates pies—obtainable entire or by the slice—with a skinny, pliant crust and all the standard toppings.

Meatballs: Grana

Chef Pat Pascarella’s new Morningside Italian restaurant locations the common-or-garden meatball in such excessive esteem that it presents six completely different varieties—pork with whipped ricotta; beef with gouda, pink onion, and black truffle jam; and so forth—and, for true meatballheads, a tasting flight that includes considered one of every.

The Buttery
The Buttery

{Photograph} by Ben Rollins

Connoisseur Market: The Buttery

Jennifer Yee’s pastries alone justify the journey, as does the cheese choice; actually, your kitchen may benefit from nearly all the things in chef Linton Hopkins’s gourmand grocery, opened close to Cheshire Bridge Street within the depths of the pandemic. Hopkins and co. supply the uncooked components for a superb time (housemade pickles, charcuterie, contemporary eggs, hamburger buns) in addition to scorching nightly dinners (shrimp and grits, cassoulet).

Japanese Avenue Meals: Ok Yaki

Japanese road meals get the love they deserve at Corban Irby’s cheerful East Atlanta dangle, with its terrific okonomiyaki (an enormous, umami-rich vegetable pancake), Japanese-style fried hen, and handmade gyoza. Myriad drink choices embrace Japanese draft beers, shochu and sake, and Suntory whiskey highballs.

Birria: Chef Smokeys ATL

Shedding his development job when the pandemic hit, Mauro Cruz turned to promoting birria—silky stewed beef, usually enfolded in tacos which might be griddled until crisp—out of his Austell house. In 2021, he upgraded to this cozy restaurant in town’s most important drag, the place the centerpiece meat is accessible in varied guises (birria fries, birria pizza) and will be chased with margaritas. 2805 Veterans Memorial Freeway, Austell

New Ramen: Samurai Ramen

The ramen at this Duluth newcomer, in a strip mall alongside Nice Hill Street, is superfresh and immensely comforting. Order the spicy tonkotsu—a steaming bowl crammed with thinly sliced inexperienced onions, chewy wood-ear mushrooms, tender braised pork stomach (aka chashu), and bamboo shoots—and pair it with fresh-fried takoyaki or a veggie-filled chashu bun.

Empanadas: Belen de la Cruz Empanadas & Pastries

Argentina native Belen de la Cruz opened her first eponymous bakeshop in Johns Creek in 2020, since increasing to Marietta and Chattahoochee Meals Works. She retains ’em coming again with tender empanadas in a staggering variety of variations—beef, hen, squash, onion; the record goes on—and candy pastries together with alfajores: dulce de leche–crammed sandwich cookies.

Comeback Story: Cristy’s Kitchen

Hoping to depart hardship behind in Peru, Cristy Kisner and Sebastian Gracey moved with their 5 kids to Roswell, the place they opened a gluten- and dairy-free restaurant in December 2019—form of an inauspicious time to launch any form of enterprise, because it turned out. The pandemic practically wiped them out till they had been visited by Brandon Stanton of the wildly common Instagram account People of New York, whose thread concerning the couple’s struggles went viral—garnering them over $1 million in donations and a complete bunch of enthusiastic new clients. Now, folks journey from throughout for Kisner’s bagels, muffins, doughnuts, and different scrumptious (however wholesome!) snacks.

New Pop-Up, Italian: Gigi’s Italian Kitchen

The Candler Park restaurant Gato has served over time as a springboard for a formidable roster of native expertise—together with the younger crew behind Gigi’s, who launched a form of weeknight pop-up residency right here this fall, providing vibrant, fashionable interpretations like polenta cake with caviar and cultured cream, candy potato ravioli, and a transcendent Caesar salad.

The verdict on 5 new Atlanta restaurants: Che Butter Jonez, the Continent, Drawbar, the Abby Singer, Daisuki Sushi Izakaya
That Sh!t Slambing at Che Butter Jonez

{Photograph} by Martha Williams

Informal: Che Butter Jonez

The numerous followers of the meals truck operated by Malik Rhasaan (the titular Che) and Detric Fox-Quinlan (aka Bae Butter Jonez) welcomed the opening of this sunny Perkerson brick-and-mortar, which serves buyer faves with cheerfully profane names (get the lamb burger, That Sh!t Slambing) and rotating specials together with halal cart–fashion hen and rice.

New Pop-Up, Persian Pastries: Shirini Bakery

Shirini means “sweets” in Farsi—and at this household operation, run by sisters Nela and Zara Salehi, meaning stunning Persian desserts like their rose- and pistachio-flavored Goli cake, chewy macaroons, and an ethereal almond-lemon cake. They bake out of the shared Prep Kitchen in Doraville, ship domestically and ship nationally, and will be discovered at varied farmers markets.

Vibes: The Continent

It’s considered one of a gazillion companies on busy Buford Freeway, however entering into chef Scotley Innis’s long-awaited restaurant is like entering into one other—quieter, softer, sexier—world. The African and Caribbean influences and wealthy flavors in Innis’s cooking are simply as transporting.

New Pop-Up, Peruvian: La Chingana

In 2021, Arnaldo Castillo left his chef job at Minero to commit himself to a rising facet challenge: a pop-up highlighting the delicacies of Peru, the place Castillo’s household is from. Till he will get his brick-and-mortar—the last word objective—hold your eyes peeled for one-off La Chingana occasions that includes regional dishes ready with a chef’s precision, reminiscent of ceviche with the citrusy Peruvian marinade leche de tigre, the grilled Lima road meats often known as anticuchos, and hearty dishes like arroz con mariscos.

Atlanta's bagel boom
Pricey Buddy, Bagels

{Photograph} by Martha Williams

New Pop-Up, Bagels: Dear Friend, Bagels

In the future, it could be a standalone enterprise, however for now, Pricey Buddy is a facet challenge that Dale Donchey opens as a pop-up at his Toco Hills cafe Spiller Park. Among the many genius improvements: regionally milled flours within the dough, toppings like poppy-sumac, and the supply of the strained-yogurt product labneh—as shmears go, it’s as creamy as cream cheese however a bit lighter, with an acidic chew that’s simply excellent.

Breakfast Burritos and Sundry: Poco Loco

Come for the ever-changing array of evocatively named breakfast burritos (the “Brangelina,” as an example: roasted chiles, eggs, corn, cilantro crema), and keep for the assorted Tex-Mex takeaways that chef Nick Melvin serves up at this Kirkwood counter—which may embrace tubs of inexperienced chili queso, contemporary housemade tortillas, pickled greens, stewed beans, and scoops of frozen cookie dough.

Sandwiches, Fancy however Cheap: Lobster Banh Mi

The title of this cheerful new Vietnamese restaurant in Duluth tells you what it serves, but it surely doesn’t totally talk what an incredible deal that is: Ten bucks will get a crisp baguette full of tender claw meat and contemporary veggies. Different high-value choices embrace crab, shrimp, and hen curry banh mi.

Japanese Grocery: Wagaya Groceries

The grocery part connected to the Residence Park Japanese restaurant Wagaya is as tiny and crammed as a Tokyo comfort retailer, brimming with housemade ramen, baked items, sake and candies, and cabinets full of staples of the Japanese pantry. Want Japanese curry combine, contemporary produce, Pocky, or sashimi-grade fish? Right here you go.

Biscuit Brunch: Birdy Biscuits @ Redbird

Not content material merely to be a dinnertime hero, Redbird chef Zeb Stevenson now opens a window each weekend at his Westside restaurant providing flaky Birdy Biscuits. Sandwiches embrace the Pure Guava—whipped cream cheese, guava paste, salted cashew butter—and the so-brilliant-why-didn’t-anybody-think-of-it-sooner Ocean Man: principally a lox bagel, however on a biscuit as a substitute.

Sandwiches, ATM-Model: Antico Roma

Stressed restaurateur Giovanni Di Palma’s Italian compound in Residence Park includes a pizza place, a hen place, a gelato place—and now, of all issues, an ATM-like window by means of which you will get hold of crisp sandwiches with terrific fillings: mortadella and ricotta, roasted turkey and pistachio pesto, and the like.

Tum Pok Pok
Tum Pok Pok

{Photograph} by Bailey Garrot

New Thai: Tum Pok Pok

Opening in spring 2021, this joyfully adorned BuHi spot instantly took its place among the many space’s high Thai eating places. One secret to its success? Proprietor Adidsara Weerasin’s give attention to the contemporary, bitter, pungent, spicy meals of the northern Thai area of Isan, which shares a border (and a few flavors) with Laos.

Rising Sandwich Empire: Cubanos ATL

Atlantans have such an enormous urge for food for what Ozzy Llanes is promoting (pork-, cheese-, and pickle-filled Cuban sandwiches, on bread shipped in from Florida) that what started as a takeout window in Sandy Springs has since expanded to areas in Cumming and Chattahoochee Meals Works. As at any good Miami-Cuban–fashion ventanita, there’s additionally sturdy espresso and flan that’s to die for.

New Farmers Market: Sun Market

The objective of this low-key new farmers market—in a Candler-McAfee church parking zone—is to present Black farmers a foothold within the native meals financial system. It’s closed for the season, however when it comes again subsequent spring search for the standard Georgia bounty—peanuts, scuppernongs, blueberries, okra—in addition to ready meals from a rotating solid of pop-up distributors.

Stone Mountain’s restaurant revival

On a breezy evening in Stone Mountain Village, {couples} stroll hand in hand and kids twirl on the sidewalks, spilling out of the downtown eating places. It’s the form of road scene that native boosters have had in thoughts for the final decade: Stone Mountain as a eating vacation spot.

“Eating places are one of many issues that drive visitors to any downtown space,” says Jelani Linder, chairman of the Stone Mountain Downtown Growth Authority. “Folks get pleasure from going out and seeing their pals and neighbors, and we’re changing into a downtown for the encircling communities as effectively.”

The town’s most important attraction, after all, is Stone Mountain Park, the place attracts embrace mountain climbing trails, laser exhibits, and vacation celebrations. Regardless of the foot visitors introduced by park guests, companies have struggled to thrive downtown—however that’s altering. It began a couple of years in the past when entrepreneurs Jeff Carey and Rory Webb rebooted Stone Mountain Public House as a cigar and piano bar. Round that point, David Downs of Keller Knapp Realty bought and renovated quite a lot of downtown buildings.

That non-public funding attracted extra companies to the world and introduced new neighbors to hidden gems reminiscent of Sweet Potato Cafe and Gilly Brew Bar. Over the previous 18 months, the world has seen the opening of Outrun Brewing Company, Cherokee Rose BBQ Bar & Kitchen, and the Vibrary, a chill house the place friends can sip on natural wines and loosen up on plush velvet couches whereas studying and speaking about books.

“I keep in mind the village’s outlets once I was youthful,” says Vibrary proprietor Candace Walker, who graduated from Stone Mountain Excessive Faculty. “I wished to be part of the brand new ecosystem and assist form the neighborhood as the town strikes ahead. I need the Vibrary to be a welcoming and inclusive house that permits clients to return in and loosen up, study one thing new, and interact with somebody new.”

Extra new exercise is on the way in which. The Mailroom Lounge, a vegan restaurant and jazz venue, is slated to open quickly within the previous publish workplace constructing. Linder says the town is at the moment trying to appeal to a Mexican restaurant. “We’re on a grid system, so it’s nothing to stroll to Gilly’s or Candy Potato Cafe, after which have a beer on the Public Home, eat dinner at Cherokee Rose, and finish the evening on the Vibrary,” Linder says. “We’re open to working with any restaurant or chef-driven idea that’s eager about Stone Mountain.” —Kelundra Smith

This text seems in our December 2021 issue.

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