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Five Atlanta Names Are Among Eater’s 38 Essential Southern Restaurants

The best of the best for Southern dining

A spicy Korean pork sandwich at Heirloom Market BBQ.
A spicy Korean pork sandwich at Heirloom Market BBQ.
Matthew Wong/Eater Atlanta

After compiling lists of America’s 38 best restaurants for the past three years, Eater roaming restaurant critic Bill Addison is narrowing his focus for regional accolades. First up is the Southern 38, which spotlights the best dining institutions the South has to offer (“South” meaning Louisiana to mid-Virginia). With five names included, the Atlanta metro area is tied with New Orleans for most in the region.

The state of Georgia has representation outside Atlanta too. Hugh Acheson’s Athens flagship, Five & Ten, and The Grey, where chef Mashama Bailey has been turning heads since opening in Savannah a couple of years ago, also made the cut.

Why is Atlanta so well represented? Sheer size is one factor, but the city’s “New South” diversity plays a role as well.

“Atlanta obviously has the most populated metro area in the South (we’ll be looking at Texas separately in the next year), and above all else the restaurants on this list recognize its vital, exuberant multiculturalism,” Addison tells Eater Atlanta.

“I’ve lived in Atlanta off and on since 1995. The ever-changing options array of cuisines from around the world — cooked by immigrants or the children of immigrants — is my favorite part of eating in the city. Occasionally in my career I’ve groaned about how not enough Atlanta chefs embrace more historical Southern cooking — traditions from, say, the nearby Appalachians and the Georgia coast. But Atlanta’s dining scene is at the center of the expanding definition of Southern food, and our choices reflect that.”

The South's 38 Essential Restaurants [E]

Five and Ten

1073 South Milledge Avenue, , GA 30605 (706) 546-7300 Visit Website

The Grey

109 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31401 (912) 662-5999 Visit Website


541 Edgewood Avenue Southeast, , GA 30312 (404) 524-5005 Visit Website

Heirloom Market BBQ

2243 Akers Mill Road Southeast, , GA 30339 (770) 612-2502 Visit Website

Miller Union

999 Brady Avenue Northwest, , GA 30318 (678) 733-8550 Visit Website


3940 Buford Highway Northeast, , GA 30096 (770) 622-1191 Visit Website

Kimball House

303 East Howard Avenue, , GA 30030 (404) 378-3502 Visit Website