The year is drawing to a close and, as is tradition, Eater Atlanta has surveyed several Atlanta food writers and dining experts on everything from their best meal in 2018 to their food headline predictions for 2019. Responses are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited.
The experts have already given their restaurant standbys when dining off duty, their picks for the city’s best new restaurants, summed up dining this year in one word, crowned the best dining neighborhoods, weighed in on the biggest dining surprises of the year, and named the best meals they ate in 2018.
In this final installment, Atlanta’s food authorities share their thoughts on the future of the city’s food scene in 2019 with some headline predictions.
Mara Davis — Radio and TV personality for WABE, The Bert Show, and Atlanta Eats
More healthy fast casual restaurants featuring salad or rice bowls like Upbeet and Flower Child. Brunch gone wild, because mimosas and bloodys can be served earlier on Sundays. Restaurants featuring crazy items to gain Insta fame (I’m in.)
Mara Shalhoup — Deputy editor for Atlanta Magazine
Here’s my hopeful headline prediction: 2019 Is a Record Year for Women and People of Color Opening Restaurants
Gray Chapman — Freelance food and drinks writer at New York Times, Atlanta Magazine, Atlas Obscura, Vice, and Vox
We will, hopefully, continue to have necessary conversations about inclusivity and equality in the industry, and perhaps even see concrete steps being taken by ownership to create more positive, safe cultures for their staff and guests. The ‘stars’ of the food/bev scene will skew less white and male, reflecting the diversity of our city and the absurd amount of talent that members of historically marginalized groups are bringing to the table. Establishments will continue to pick up the political mantle, leveraging their platform for political good and finding creative ways to support socio-political initiatives, like what we saw with the RAICES fundraiser this summer. As far as booze goes, I think this year’s Aperol spritz craze prepped consumers to explore fortified/aromatized wines, aperitif wines, and amari a little more intrepidly. (Vermouth is ready for its glow-up here! And just wait til y’all try Italicus.) Personally, I really hope consumers start getting into fancy tinned seafood and sherry, two of my favorite things (though not necessarily together).
Mike Jordan — Digital program director for V103, Thrillist Atlanta editor, Eater Atlanta contributor
“Downtown Restaurants Embrace Atlanta’s Musical Legacy, Live Music Makes Culinary Comeback”
“Another Major African-American Chef Leaves Atlanta, Citing Better Opportunities In Smaller Southern City”
“Chef Scotley Innis Signs Major Television Deal To Become Face of New National Cooking Show”
Beth McKibben, Eater Atlanta editor
The #metoo movement finally hits Atlanta’s restaurants and bars, as more people feel safe speaking out. More women and people of color will open restaurants in town. We’re already seeing this ball in motion with previously announced restaurants opening in 2019 and rumors circulating of news yet to come. 2019 is the year Atlanta starts to break free from its Southern food restraints and begins to come into its own. Also, CBD in everything.