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Todd Richards

Richards’ Southern Fried

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Krog St. Market

You have to wonder how it’s even possible for a self-taught chef to do what Todd Richards has done for Atlanta’s dining scene. Here you have a guy who not only innately understands fine dining, which has been evident since his days running The Café at The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, but is also keen on keeping things unflashy and honest -- which you know he does if you ever ate at former O4W barbecue staple Rolling Bones during his tenure there. Since those days he’s gained greater acclaim at The Shed at Glenwood (where he earned James Beard semi-finalist status in 2013), then The Pig & The Pearl before moving to White Oak. Not only has he been a singular force in upgrading Downtown’s restaurant scene, but his partnership with the White Oak folks (Alan and Cindy LeBlanc) has turned into his own Krog shop, where you can enjoy Nashville-style hot chicken from a welcoming bench setup with stools and all the table-settings you’d expect at a Sunday dinner. If that wasn’t enough, Richards also served as concept director for One Flew South, the greatest airport restaurant EVER, and was consulted for the menu for Ludacris’ new airport restaurant Chicken + Beer. He may be a back-of-house restaurant guy by nature, but damn it, this man deserves gratuity.

Fifth Group Restaurants

Jason Starnes

South City Kitchen

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Public expectations weren’t sky-high when the Buckhead opening of SCK was announced. And that’s not suggesting folks had reasons to assume things would be lackluster; it’s just that you’re supposed to know exactly what you want and get it at the familiar ATL Southern comfort food institution. Starnes shattered that, and as a result you can have the Midtown and Vinings menu standards or something totally unique to the new location, which the former executive chef of The Sun Dial created just to make sure you knew what neighborhood you were dining in. If you’ve been sleeping on SCK because you just couldn’t imagine they’d done anything much different, realize that you’ve been seriously missing out and get over to the old Blue Cross building as soon as permissible.

Brian Gassel

Christopher Grossman


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Running a restaurant at the St. Regis and getting a Four Diamond rating from AAA is nothing to shrug at. Chris Grossman deserves lots of credit for the accolades given to Atlas’ Euro-influenced American cuisine in 2016, especially because it’s been considered one of our best restaurants since opening just over a year ago. Looking at his track record, it’s safe to assume we can expect even greater things in the future, since he’d accomplished quite a bit on his own before Atlas opened up. Real talk: It’s impressive when you can say you’ve worked in Napa Valley at The French Laundry, which has literally been named the best restaurant in the world by people who have the qualifications to make such statements (aside from us, of course). But Grossman’s tutelage under Gerry Klaskala, who gave us Aria and Canoe, is part of the reason why you get a bit of the familiar with plenty of the extravagant, and none of the Gross, man. We’re here for dinner all night, folks.

Courtesy of The General Muir

Todd Ginsberg

The General Muir

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Emory Village

If you -- like many others in Atlanta -- love Bocado, you have to show love to Todd Ginsberg. He’s the guy who got the kitchen started and put his guts -- not literally of course -- into its burger stack. You couldn’t have been surprised when he joined forces with the folks who opened The General Muir, because damn -- you’ve eaten there, right? Enough said. But just this January he opened up TGM Bread, a bakery where so much magic happens you almost wonder if you’re getting baked as you eat what comes from the ovens (burger buns, English muffins, fluffy pitas, pizza dough, you name it). By the way, you saw the Atlanta edition of Burger Quest, right? Fred’s Meat & Bread, where you can catch Todd hanging out pretty often, was our national burger critic’s favorite stack in the city. And if you’ve never had the falafel at Yalla!, his Middle Eastern setup next door, then you might be improperly fed. What can’t Todd Ginsberg do? Lose a burger war, or any competition that deals with cooking; that’s what.

Courtesy of Foundation Social Eatery

Mel Toledo

Foundation Social Eatery

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It’s been more than two years since Foundation opened past the perimeter on 400N, but if you were there at the beginning you remembered your meal, and wondered why in the hell something so tasty was on the Norcross side of the highway instead of ITP -- or at least off Canton St in Roswell’s Downtown district. Well, that’s because Chef Mel’s tatted-up arms have whipped up excellence during stints at Bacchanalia, Woodstock gem Century House Tavern, and places outside the ATL area including stints at heralded NYC restaurant Daniel. Toledo is now an owner, and he uses Foundation to mix casual flair (don’t be surprised if music from Gorillaz plays while you bite into that crispy octopus appetizer) with high-quality food packing immense flavor. The fact that he can push such consistent delicious meals from his open kitchen while the management and staff of Foundation offer reliably solid service to customers means Roswell residents better cherish this guy.

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1. Richards' Southern Fried 99 Krog St NE Ste T, Atlanta, GA 30307

Richards’ Southern Fried has distilled the art of fried chicken down to a science. At the casual, counter-serve Krog Street Market outpost, chicken sourced from Springer Mountain Farms is marinated in spiced brine for 24 to 48 hours (depending on the size of the bird), air-dried to develop flavor and seal in juices, coated in flour and seasonings (many of which are ground in-house to ensure peak flavor), and pressure-fried, which lends a crispy exterior to the greasy poultry without making it especially heavy. Choose your heat level wisely; your three options are the well-seasoned, relatively un-hot “Classic,” the slow-burning “Hot,” and the SOS-there-is-a-four-alarm-fire-on-my-tongue “Richards’ Hot,” which might be painful, but is worth a taste nonetheless.

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2. White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails 270 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303

White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails lives at the intersection of contemporary style and Southern tradition. The menu changes seasonally, but no matter when you stop in, you can expect a Southern tinge in each of the simple, yet elegant dishes, like a charcuterie plate with pimento cheese or deviled eggs with... pimento cheese. The bar is firmly rooted in the South as well, with a focus on wine, whiskey, and bourbon. With refined decor featuring (you guessed it) white oak wood and opulent chandeliers, the 300-seat restaurant is an airy, upscale space for date night, group dining, and private events alike.

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3. South City Kitchen 3350 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30326

Chef Jason Starnes has made a major impact with South City Kitchen in Buckhead, offering a location-exclusive menu that fits well with the area’s demanding culinary clientele. If you insist on having the famous fried chicken, shrimp-'n’-grits, or any of the other favorites from the Vinings or Midtown locations, they're available. But don’t miss out on the Southern Plates menu where an amazing bone-in ribeye, poultry (including seared sour cherry-sauced duck and spice-grilled quail), and seafood dishes from pan-seared cobia to Georgia mountain trout are waiting for you to tastefully gorge upon. You are in Buckhead now; show a little class.

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4. Atlas 88 W Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30305

Located in the St. Regis, Atlas is a titan of a restaurant inspired by all things Europe. The chef de cuisine is Christopher Grossman, an Aria-trained chef whose resume includes The French Laundry. Atlas sources its menu from local farms and the dishes change regularly to spotlight seasonal goodness, but you can always find a taste of familiarity in the burger, which is too damn good to leave the menu.

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5. The General Muir 1540 Avenue Pl NE Ste B-230, Atlanta, GA 30329

The General Muir is an homage to the timeless New York-style deli, though the white subway-tiled space looks more like a demure bakery than a generations-old Jewish deli. The hallmark of the morning-to-night menu is, of course, the bagels, which are hand-rolled and kettle-boiled. Sandwiches are named after the streets of Alphabet City and served open-face with smoked fish spreads ranging from nova and schmear to trout salad. The rest of the menu reads like a combination of Katz's and Russ & Daughters: house-cured pastrami with chopped liver, latkes with apple sauce, and matzoh ball soup are all there. The only giveaway that you're not in New York is the friendly smiles from the people dining next to you.

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6. Fred's Meat & Bread 99 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

With freshly baked bread from nearby The General Muir, Fred's serves up some of the best deli sandwiches and burgers in Atlanta from Inman's Park's Krog Market. Whether you stick to something classic like a hand-pressed bacon cheeseburger or opt for something a little more adventurous (and a little more greasy) like the 'Shroom Shire Cheesesteak made with molten house-blended cheese, tender grilled onions, mushroom Worcestershire, and garlic aioli. Anything on the limited menu goes perfectly with a cup brimming with hot, crispy fries seasoned with ranch or bbq seasoning.

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7. Yalla! 99 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

Yalla!, meaning "Let's Go!" in Arabic, modern Middle Eastern food stall in Atlanta’s trendy Krog Street Market complete with the tantalizing smell of meat roasting on spits behind the counter. The menu features favorites like crispy falafel, fresh chicken shawarma, and juicy lamb kebabs wrapped in a laffa, stuffed in a pita, or served in a bowl. The Shouk is the star of the show with shawarma, crispy fries, hummus, baba ganoush, Israeli pickles, cole slaw, spicy harissa, sweet tahini, and tangy amba (mango sauce), and is probably best consumed in a bowl with a handcrafted, all natural soda on the side.

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8. Foundation Social Eatery 1570 Holcomb Bridge Rd, Roswell, GA 30076

You probably wouldn’t expect to find a sleek gastropub in a strip mall, and if you did, you probably wouldn’t expect its food to be rooted in French and Italian tradition. But that's what you'll find at Foundation Social Eatery, an unassuming storefront in Roswell that's defying all preconceived notions of strip mall dining. The kitchen tricks out seemingly ordinary dishes with bold ingredients and intricate techniques, like house-made fettucine with chicken bolognese. Dessert and drinks are no different, with pastry proffer like acorn squash cheesecake and cocktails made with mead and Creole shrubs. The takeaway: don't judge a restaurant by its strip mall locale.