As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of restaurant industry insiders. We've already covered the restaurant standbys, best newcomers, 2014 in one word, and the best dining neighborhood. Now it's time for the year's biggest dining surprises. Readers, please leave your thoughts in the comments.
What was the biggest dining surprise of 2014?
Krista Miller, Atlanta Eats director of content
I'm not sure why it was such a surprise, because all the pieces were there, but the pure level of joy Krog Street Market inspires. Everything I've eaten there has been great. From Craft Izakaya to Fred's to Grand Champion BBQ, I've loved it all. And based on my Instagram feed, I'm definitely not the only one.
Joshua Charles, Flags of Origin owner/designer (Bocado Burger, Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall)
5 & 10 in Athens. Tucked in the middle of hormone central (fraternity and sorority row) in a beautifully remodeled craftsman home in Athens. It was the best ramen I've ever had ever. Best surprise was it was off-menu, BUT... apparently on Tuesdays it is available. I may make the drive every Tuesday.
Zach Meloy, Better Half chef/owner
That the whole hamburger thing is still going strong.
Jason Santamaria, Second Self Beer Company co-founder
Krog Street Market. It brings a new experience to Atlanta, and it's exciting to see a venue so well-received.
E.J. Hodgkinson, King + Duke executive chef
Todd Richards, The Pig & The Pearl and The Shed at Glenwood chef/partner
The dining offerings from Peach Dish. Usually home delivery meals are scoffed at, but the quality of ingredients from Love is Love Farm and White Oak Pastures truly will make any chef cook at home.
Linton Hopkins, chef/restaurateur/empire builder
Linton's in the Garden! We didn't know that was coming, but we love it and we're so excited to be a part.
Alex Brounstein, Grindhouse Killer Burgers owner
Hugh Acheson's amazing Cinco y Diez closing after less than a year in Five Points in Athens. WTF people??
Julian Goglia, The Pinewood owner/bartender
The first time I stumbled into Jarrett Stieber's Eat Me Speak Me, hands down. He is killing it.
Zeb Stevenson, Parish executive chef/soon moving to Watershed on Peachtree
Joe Schafer leaving King + Duke and resurfacing at Abattoir. Perfect fit for such a great cook.
Jarrett Stieber, Eat Me Speak Me chef
Eli Kirshtein, The Luminary chef/owner
Kyma still being a standard of dining in the city.