Well, Atlanta has made it now. This city's growing and improving restaurant scene is getting so hot, it's getting noticed all the way in New York City. The Times's Kim Severson, who lives in town, has a profile on the local dining industry, hailing Atlanta's recent culinary evolution.
"Over the last couple of years, a record number of new and independent restaurants have opened," Severson writes. "Especially in the urban core â what people here call intown Atlanta — veteran chefs and newcomers alike have taken advantage of cheap rents and a growing cadre of good line cooks who don't feel the need to prove themselves in bigger ponds."
That sort of feels like a backhanded compliment, but we'll take it. Severson quotes a few local industry insiders, such as Hugh Acheson, Anne Quatrano, and Linton Hopkins, who all pretty much agree Atlanta is finally coming into its own. Though, the profile is not without criticism.
Chefs still seem to be frustrated with too many steak orders, much of Atlanta's international cuisine is confined to Buford Highway, and there's still a penchant for following trends and siding with style over substance: "It's more inventive visually than it is gastronomically," Atlanta Magazine critic Corby Kummer tells Severson.
The Times offers a companion dining guide that highlights some of the usual suspects as Atlanta's best. Superlatives include Where Atlanta Chefs Will Likely Tell You to Go (Cakes & Ale: "iconoclastic but draws from the South's pantry"), Best Breakfast (The General Muir: "one of the best bagels in the South"), and Best Food to Rival New York's: (Gunshow and Staplehouse: "would be just as at home in Brooklyn" and "would be just as at home in Manhattan").
So read on, Atlanta denizens, and bask in the glowing praise for local food. And if you haven't been to any of the restaurants mentioned by Severson, what are you waiting for?