As 2020 draws to a close this week, Eater has been discussing the 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, discussed the saddest restaurant closures, and weighed in on the most exciting restaurants opening in 2021.
Now, the dining experts provide their Atlanta restaurant headlines and food trends predictions for 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”
“Do we really need food halls anymore?”
Mike Jordan — Atlanta food and beverage writer Eater Atlanta, Playboy, Rolling Stone, the Wall Street Journal, Atlanta magazine; editor-in-chief of Butter ATL
“Atlanta Has Restaurants, and We Found Them” — by some random food writer at The New York Times (writing from their Airbnb in Los Angeles.)
“Black Breakfast Is Everywhere You Want to Be”
“It’s Time For a Real Conversation About Buckhead’s Racist Restaurants Problem”
“Nobody Wants Your Culinary-School-Ass Wings”
Deborah VanTrece — chef and owner of Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours
“WE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME”
I think 2020 has changed the world forever, and 2021 will bring glimpses of hope. But we will still have an upward struggle. I think through our adversities of 2020, our resilience will dominate in 2021.
Sarah Kim — partner Our Bar ATL
“Atlanta’s Bars & Restaurants Are Making A Comeback!”
I believe the latter half of 2021 will see all that pent-up energy and creativity from the last 18 months erupt with new openings, ideas, and collaborations. Necessity is the mother of invention, and Atlanta’s restaurateurs and entrepreneurs will rise to meet the demand for delicious food, amazing drinks, and wonderful experiences out and about.
Federico Castellucci — President and CEO of Castellucci Hospitality Group (Cooks and Soldiers, the Iberian Pig, Double Zero, Sugo)
A long tail of pandemic devastation makes way for an exuberant recovery in the latter part of 2021. I think we’ve all recognized how important human connection is to our mental health. Dining in restaurants is one ubiquitous way that we satiate that need.
Beth McKibben — editor of Eater Atlanta
“Atlanta Food Pop-Ups Set to Become the Next Generation of Restaurants”
“Are Restaurant Empire Builders Even Relevant in Atlanta Anymore?”
“The Takeout Window Is Here to Stay”
“Atlanta Restaurants Moving Away From the Beltline and Back Into Neighborhoods”
Food trend predictions:
Expect more restaurants and pop-ups focused on vegan and vegetarian fare opening around Atlanta and I suspect we may see quesabirria finding its way onto unrelated restaurant menus.