After nearly a week of intensive reader voting, today we announce the winners of the eighth annual Eater Awards, celebrating the chefs and restaurants that made the largest impact on all 24 Eater cities over the past twelve months.
Here now are the establishments — from barbecue and hip cocktail bars to pop-ups and old school diners clubs — that have taken the Atlanta food world by storm. Thank you to everyone who voted last week, and congratulations to the winners of the readers’ choice and editors’ choice awards. Read on to learn more about this year’s best of the best. Editors’ choice winners will receive an illustrious tomato can trophy via FedEx, along with a full feature on Eater Atlanta in the coming year.
Restaurant of the Year
B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque, Riverside
Pitmaster Bryan Furman and his wife Nikki opened an Atlanta outpost of their popular Savannah smokehouse late last year in the burgeoning Riverside neighborhood on the city’s westside. Furman specializes in South Carolina-style whole hog barbecue using heritage breed hogs dressed with either East Carolina vinegar or peach-mustard sauces. The sleeper hit at B’s is Furman’s hash and rice, a classic South Carolina dish made from chopped hog’s head meat served in a thick stew over rice. The Furman’s have seen triumph and tragedy. Their first restaurant burned to the ground in 2015 after it was named to several “best of” barbecue lists. The couple rebuilt the Savannah location and opened their second restaurant right here in Atlanta where it has become an integral part of the Riverside community and a must-visit for the city’s barbecue lovers.
Restaurant of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Bon Ton
Chef of the Year
Chef Parnass Lim Savang launched onto the Atlanta food scene in April with his weekend “Georgian Thai” pop-up Talat Market at Gato Cafe. Savang has made it his mission to serve Atlantans traditional Thai dishes using Georgia-grown meats and produce. In other words, rather than sourcing his ingredients from Restaurant Depot or Sysco as many American Thai restaurants do, guests dine on crispy pork belly from Riverview Farms or greens and chilis from Woodland Gardens. The menu consists of seven dishes served with jasmine or sticky rice and changes weekly and with the seasons. There is frequently a waiting list for a seat at Talat’s BYOB dinners which often sees people hovering outside Gato several minutes before the doors even open.
Chef of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Bryan Furman, B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque
Design of the Year
Golden Eagle, Reynoldstown
Restaurant designer Elizabeth Ingram completely transformed the interior of the former H. Harper Station into an old school, mid-century cocktail lounge and diner’s club. The dark and clubby vibe of Golden Eagle harkens back to an age when martinis were flowing, cocktail dresses were casual wear, and a thin layer of smoke quietly hung above the crowd. Rich jewel tones of ruby reds, turquoise, and orange topaz set against the dark wood, golds, and plaids throughout the lounge bring warmth to a space that neither feels too masculine or feminine. It’s simply a comfortable place to enjoy a round of cocktails with friends or a steak dinner for two in a quiet corner.
Design of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Bar Mercado
Bar of the Year
The purple glow illuminating the outdoor bar at 8 Arm draws a crowd nightly who come to sip Toña lagers, bubbly, and unpretentious riffs on classic cocktails. The converted shipping container which houses the bar is covered in painted palm fronds on a vibrant pink background. Dwarfed by the behemoth Ponce City Market across the street, the bar is constantly full as beverage director and general manager Joshua Fryer and his crew mix cocktails with a solid helping of old-fashioned hospitality. Even on a chilly night, bar patrons huddle under heat lamps happily sipping on a coronation cocktail or a Gibson. A highly-focused wine list of eight by-the-glass and bottle selections rounds out this bar which has quickly become an Atlanta essential.
Bar of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Bon Ton
Instagram of the Year
Bon Ton, Midtown
Bon Ton’s Instagram feed is an oddly compelling stream of consciousness filled with art film shorts, weather and man-on-the-street reports, and even a commercial for Atlanta’s forgotten (faux) parking lots. The account is about anything and everything but their food and drinks. It might be considered marketing genius. The memorable short film ‘grams continually intrigue people who come to Bon Ton just to see what’s up. Bon Ton’s Instagram feed has certainly earned the hashtag the restaurant first coined when it opened in February—#bontonaf.
Instagram of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Bon Ton