As is the year end tradition, Eater Atlanta surveyed a handful of the city’s food editors on everything from their best meal to their biggest dining grievance in 2017. The experts have weighed in on their restaurant standbys, Atlanta’s top newcomers, the city’s best dining neighborhoods, the biggest dining surprises, the top dining grievances, and their best meal of 2017. Their responses are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited.
Now, in this final Year in Eater installment, each of Atlanta’s food editors share their thoughts on the future of the city’s food scene in 2018 with some headline and trends predictions.
Julia Bainbridge, Atlanta Magazine food editor
Trend Predictions: I think the delivery game will get stronger. We're already seeing restaurateurs address how food changes in the delivery process--Brian Lewis launched Al Forno's delivery pizza that you finish off in your home oven--and I bet we see more of that kind of innovation. And, I bet we see a delivery-only restaurant a la David Chang's Ando in New York. (In fact, I have it on good authority that a beloved restaurant group here has plans to do just that.) We'll see more great restaurants in the suburbs.
Wish list: Hopefully, we see more black-owned restaurants. Hopefully, we see more female head chefs. Hopefully, Sarah Dodge, formerly of 8Arm, opens her own bakery. I'd like more beverage directors to carve out space on their menus for thoughtful non-alcoholic drinks. And, I hope we'll see a Sweetgreen-type salad joint. Speaking of which, we'll probably see five more UpBeet locations open.
1. "Parnass Savang Opens Talat Market in Permanent, Brick and Mortar Space." That kid is brimming with ideas, and I want to see what he comes up with when he's forced to produce every day and not just at his weekend pop-up.
2. "[Insert Food Hall Name Here] Closes." This bubble's gotta burst.
3. "[Insert Restaurant Name Here] Redesigns Its Interior for Optimal Gramming." That will be sad.
Hilary Cadigan, Creative Loafing food editor
More pop-up concepts, interesting collaborations, and other stuff that doesn't involve the typical sit-down-at-a-restaurant, order-from-a-menu structure. More women and POC chefs in the spotlight. Um, more gourmet food with weed in it? I don't know, maybe these are just things I want.
Mike Jordan, Thrillist Atlanta editor, Southern Kitchen associate editor
"Black women "Storm" Atlanta as Restaurant Owners and Executive Chefs" (see what I did there with Storm?)
Christopher Hassiotis, Zagat Atlanta food editor
Despite a few notable crumbs tossed our way, the excellent but sometimes tough-to-summarize culinary scene(s) of Atlanta will continue to be overlooked and undervalued by national food media eager for easier-to-package stories. I hope that's not the case; I'd be very happy to be wrong.
Beth McKibben, Eater Atlanta editor
I want the same energy Atlanta generated and, frankly, kicked into high gear nationally when Southern food became a serious culinary contender to be refocused on the city’s women and people of color both in the kitchen and behind the bar. I think we are starting to see that movement already. I predict 2018 will be the year of the woman and, especially, the year of women of color. It’s time, and Atlanta is poised (again) to be the trailblazer. Pop-ups will continue to be a major part of the food scene but I predict (hope) at least one of these chefs lands in their own space or at least with a serious investor.