Southern food has always been about comfort. Small, quiet kitchens where things are fried; glasses of sweet tea being refilled out of pitchers; levels of butter that nearly approach Paula Deen levels, for better or for worse.
But this is Atlanta, and over the last decade or so, the dining scene in this city has experienced a meteoric rise, akin to New York, Chicago, and LA. If you look close enough, you’ll see the roots of the food that built the South (and sure, a lot of those facets still exist), but through the inventiveness of the chefs and bartenders who dreamed big in the first place, that aesthetic has transformed into something utterly singular and quintessentially Atlanta.
People, after all, have come from all over the world to call Atlanta home. They’ve settled roots here, and have brought their own traditions (especially culinary traditions) with them. Restaurants open, all the time, and seldom does one see a ‘going out of business’ sign adorning a neighborhood mainstay.
In Atlanta, chefs are celebrities. Obscure culinary facts are exchanged like baseball cards. Groups of daring foodies take it upon themselves to organize adventure food clubs, and there’s no greater pride an in-the-know Atlantan can feel than getting on the shortlist for a one-night-only pop-up dinner party. In this town, from the greasy spoons, to the wine bars, steak houses, seafood joints, and unexpected fusion hotspots, food is king.