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Atlanta's Industry Insiders Name Their Biggest Restaurant Grievances of 2015

Sad shutters, bad cocktails, and the local government make the list.

Local writers weren't happy to see so many solid restaurants, such as Abattoir, close their doors.
Local writers weren't happy to see so many solid restaurants, such as Abattoir, close their doors.
James Camp

We've touched on the good, but now it's time to go in the other direction. Eater's year-end survey of Atlanta food writers continues with a Festivus-like airing of grievances.

What was the biggest restaurant grievance of 2015?

Ligaya Figueras, Atlanta Journal-Constitution food editor: I roll my eyes at restaurants touting a great cocktail program and throwback classics yet they don't even chill the cocktail glasses. If I am ordering an "up" drink, it's highly likely that glass needs to be chilled. Also, just because a bar makes its own ice, if it's crappy ice (cloudy, full of impurities), that ice is going to melt quickly and my drink is going to get watery. That has happened way too often to me in Atlanta. Quality ice is just as important as the quality of the spirits and modifiers going into the glass. I'd like to see more places invest in a Kold-Draft.

Also, "walking" the customer through the menu has become a tiresome pre-game analysis. I appreciate that servers are hyper-informed of sourcing of ingredients and prep method, but the spiel needs to get condensed. A five-minute speech is too long. At that point, I'm looking to just throw a dart on the menu - and thirsty for a drink.

The Foodie Buddha: Too many local chefs doing too many specialty/collaborative dinners that are ridiculously expensive. If the food isn't good at your restaurant, why would I go to some special event to pay 2x as much? Get back in your own kitchen and make your menu kick ass.

Grant Goggans, Marie, Let's Eat! editor: Too darn many places closed this year. I hate to see so many people put out of work.

Angela Hansberger, Creative Loafing contributor: Parking.

Brad Kaplan, Creative Loafing contributor and Thirsty South founder:A combination grievance and condolence note — seeing great restaurants not being embraced and/or having to shut down. This isn't new, but the onslaught of new restaurant openings can make it harder for those that have been around to continue to draw well-deserved attention.

A second grievance — the ridiculous rigamarole our city government puts in the way of small businesses trying to get off the ground. Atlanta's licensing process is a mess and an embarrassment.

Evan Mah, Atlanta Magazine food editor: I'm still getting over Angus Brown's decision to close Lusca sometime in January. In the last year that restaurant was cranking out some stellar food, and I hate that he didn't get the support he deserved. I feel like we let a great one slip through our hands. [Ed note: Lusca's impending shutter has been pushed back to mid-2016.]

Beth McKibben, Eater Atlanta contributor: Terrible tippers and entitled diners. I don't have personal grievances toward restaurants as a whole.

Bob Townsend, Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributor: It feels like there are less places of quality to get a drink and a good meal at a reasonable price, though I understand the factors that contribute to that.