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Continent Atlanta from by chef Scotley Innis opens soon on Buford Highway

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Atlanta Dining Experts Discuss the Most Exciting Restaurants Opening in 2021

Now Atlanta’s dining experts weigh in on the restaurants, coffee shops, and pop-ups they’re looking forward to seeing open or return in 2021

Continent Atlanta from by chef Scotley Innis opens soon on Buford Highway
| Continent Atlanta

Despite impossible odds this year, the health crisis showcased the resiliency and immense creativity of the people working in Atlanta’s restaurants and bars. Glimmers of hope emerged throughout 2020, as new restaurants continued opening around Atlanta. And there are more to come in 2021.

We continue discussing the 2020 dining scene and the tumultuous year for the restaurant industry with Atlanta food writers and authorities. The experts have already given their takeout standbys, named their favorite new Atlanta restaurants of 2020, offered insight into their best meals of the year, and discussed the saddest restaurant closures.

Now Atlanta’s dining experts weigh in on the restaurants, coffee shops, and pop-ups they’re looking forward to seeing open or return in 2021. Responses are cut, pasted, and lightly edited.


Jennifer Zyman — Atlanta food writer and dining critic Atlanta magazine, Thrillist, Eater Atlanta, AJC; founder of “The Blissful Glutton

I’m excited to see Rumi’s Kitchen open at Colony Square and to watch any chefs break out on their own.

Rumi’s Kitchen

Mike Jordan — Atlanta food and beverage writer Eater Atlanta, Playboy, Rolling Stone, the Wall Street Journal, Atlanta magazine; editor-in-chief of Butter ATL

For a pop-up, it’s chef Maximilian Hines, whose Stolen Goods pop-up series was gonna be one of my last Eater stories for 2019, and it got rescheduled from December into early 2020, and we all know what happened next. I hope he brings it back, because it’s an awesome idea, and I’ll be happy to tell you more when it returns. For a restaurant, it’s Rock Steady. I was really excited to see an upscale Afro-Caribbean restaurant open in West Midtown, and they were just getting started when the pandemic slowed them down. I’m really glad they’re back in time to ring in the new year. And, of course, Bankhead Seafood.

Rendering of the new Bankhead Seafood in the bankhead Atlanta neighborhood Bankhead Seafood

Deborah VanTrece — chef and owner of Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours

Continent Atlanta [on Buford Highway] by chef Scotley Innis. It’s slated to open any day now, and I am salivating in anticipation. This chef has worked hard, coming up the ranks with innovative, inspired cuisine.

Continent Atlanta from by chef Scotley Innis opens soon on Buford Highway Continent Atlanta

Sarah Kimpartner Our Bar ATL

For a pop-up I’ve never tried yet, I’m quite eagerly looking forward to Kamayan ATL’s upcoming brick-and-mortar spot next year. One of my partners in Our Bar ATL is Filipino, so I’ve been following Kamayan for a couple years now and going to one of their pop-ups has always been on my foodie wish list.

Grilled pineapple, purple cabbage slaw, belly lechon sisig sinangag or garlic fried rice, pompano, and dragonfruit from Kamayan ATL Filipino Pop Up Kamayan ATL

Federico Castellucci — President and CEO of Castellucci Hospitality Group (Cooks and Soldiers, the Iberian Pig, Double Zero, Sugo)

I look forward to dining in person at Georgia Boy and Southern Belle. I’m excited to see Joey Ward’s vision for this restaurant see the light of day.

*both restaurants close for the winter starting January 1, 2021

A shot of the entire dining room at Southern Belle
The dining room at Southern Belle in Poncey-Highland
Andrew Thomas Lee

Beth McKibben editor of Eater Atlanta

Atlanta’s restaurant pop-up scene continues to be strong, and I’m so glad that one of its best and brightest — Kamayan ATL — will finally open a permanent location in 2021. There’s a reason so many people credit Mia Orino and Carlo Gan for shining a spotlight on the food of the Philippines in Atlanta. 2021 is their year. Make sure to watch for more pop-ups becoming permanent, too. I am also eagerly awaiting the opening of South Atlanta greenhouse and sustainable cafe Nourish Botanica, owned by Quianah Upton, and Atlanta-based roastery Portrait Coffee in the West End. Two extremely cool projects I’ve been following closely this year. Upton continues to raise funds for Nourish Botanica via GoFundMe, and I highly recommend the coffee subscription from Portrait, which has kept me nice and caffeinated throughout the pandemic.

Top (left to right) John Onwuchekwa, Marcus Hollinger, Khalid Smith; Bottom: (left to right) Shawndra Onwuchekwa, Aaron Fender, Erin Fender 
Top (left to right) John Onwuchekwa, Marcus Hollinger, Khalid Smith; Bottom: (left to right) Shawndra Onwuchekwa, Aaron Fender, Erin Fender
Portrait Coffee

Southern Belle

1043 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast, , GA 30306 (404) 698-3961 Visit Website

Georgia Boy

1043 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast, , GA 30306 (404) 698-3961 Visit Website

Double Zero

1700 Lincoln Boulevard, , CA 90291 (424) 280-4672 Visit Website

Sugo

10305 Medlock Bridge Road, Johns Creek, GA 30097 (770) 817-8000

The Iberian Pig

121 Sycamore Street, , GA 30030 (404) 371-8800 Visit Website

Colony Square

1197 Peachtree Street Northeast, , GA 30361 (404) 965-9091 Visit Website

Bankhead Seafood

1651 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway Northwest, , GA 30318 (404) 794-6904 Visit Website
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