To zero in on 2012's biggest culinary and cocktail surprises, we hit up ATL's greatest restaurant chefs, owners, and 'tenders, although not the kind who're available for a terrific price at Zaxby's.
Navarro Carr, Bar Manager, The Sound Table
"Home Grown. You must try 'The Comfy'. It's an open faced biscuit with chicken that's topped with a sausage gravy. My doctor hates me right now!"
Brandon Ley, Owner, Joystick Gamebar
"How much people all over Atlanta seem to care about quality cocktails. I had no idea I could get absinthe in EAV until Octopus Bar opened."
Paul Calvert, Beverage Director at Victory Sandwich & Paper Planes (opening 2013)
"I have been very happy to see the explosion of bars and restaurants really paying attention to their beverage programs and taking risks with what they serve. This isn't a surprise exactly, but the rate at which it's happened, and is happening, is surprising and exciting. Atlanta is becoming the leader for food and drink in the Southeast and I am proud and humbled to be a part of the culture."
Shane McIntosh, Ocean Catering Company
"Boutique burger restaurants. It seemed like another one was opening up at every corner with their own spin. Then just as quick they were closing their doors. Completely over-saturated the market."
Zeb Stevenson, Chef, Proof & Provision & Livingston
"I’ve been most taken aback by the sharp rise in the cost of food. Anything that is corn-fed is sky-high right now. All the better reason to go grass-fed!"
Mike LaSage, Owner/Chef, Bone Lick BBQ
"Bone Lick BBQ getting financed by my favorite comedian, David Cross, and his sister Wendy was definitely MY biggest surprise. Sorry, not trying to shamelessly plug, just being honest. And the final confirmation that David was in snuck up on me with a phone call when I was drunk and messed up, wandering the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras earlier this year."