Food & Drink

The Thrillist Awards: Atlanta's Best Food & Drink of 2015

Published On 12/28/2015 Published On 12/28/2015
Courtesy of Little Trouble (edited)
Courtesy of Staplehouse

Best new overall restaurant


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Old Fourth Ward

You should be a major fan of Staplehouse for two reasons. First, it’s delicious, thanks to a constantly shifting, five-course chef’s tasting menu or seasonal a la cart eats that really are local, and not just meaning the bread came from Murder Kroger. Second, it gives every dollar of earned after-tax profit to The Giving Kitchen, which provides emergency charitable assistance to restaurant industry workers. So it’s not just delicious, it’s sustainable times-infinity.

Andrew Thomas Lee 

Best new steakhouse


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It may or may not be the city’s most expensive steakhouse, if you like counting that kind of thing. Regardless, it’s easy to fall in love with both the premium cuts of cow, the banquet ambiance, and the story of the restaurant’s namesake, Marcel Cerdan, who was a French boxer that whooped lots of ass in the ring and dated a famous singer in his time before dying in a plane crash on his way to see his girl. Sexy! Oh, and his record: 113 wins, four losses, and 66 wins by knockout. So if you’re a real man, you’ll put the $165 Porterhouse on your eye before you eat it.

Best new brunch

The General Muir

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Emory Point

Sure, you think your neighborhood spot is undefeated because you can walk there and back from your apartment on weekends, and those spritzy little bellinis you and the homies order by the bottomless make your feelings that much more valid. But the truth is that true-NY-style Emory-area deli TGM murders with the Maven lox plate, matzo, mimosas, and much more.

Courtesy of H&F Burger

Best new burger

H&F Burger

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Ponce City Market

It’s not just because it’s sooooo good; there’s also the fact that a gang of ATL burger joints use H&F buns on their own burgers, just because you can’t front on the truth. There’s also the fact that a lot of folks never got lucky enough to get one of the limited number of nightly special burgers at Holeman + Finch. Now that they’ve opened at Ponce, everyone has access. You can even get them without the cheese! Why you’d do that is unclear, but it’s now possible!

Best new tacos

Bone Garden Cantina

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The house-made tortillas are damn-near perfect -- even if you normally like flour over corn, trust us and do the maize version around the peanut-sauced al pastor marinated pork taco, chicken-based curry-citrus pollo al limon, or the awesomely spicy chile picante, the shrimp verde in house-made green mole, or the brisket-laid birria.

Little Trouble

Best new lounge

Little Trouble

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We told you about the opening, as well as barkeep Jess Crisler and her fabulous drinks. But the Blade Runner-inspired ramen bar, which might seem deceptively shitty to the average ramen nerd who got lost on her way to Buford Highway, ran away with the award for this year’s funkiest fun den. Don’t ask how many boxes of matches we stole from the bathrooms, or how many times we asked Jess Crisler “Who made this playlist?” Caleb, Ian, and the rest of the gang from Vic Brands did it again.

Courtesy of Pizzeria Vesuvius

Best new pizza

Pizzeria Vesuvius

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Sweet Auburn

What’s wack is that it recently closed. So it was the best new. But those who went know that it was not quite as bourgeoisie as Antico, not as ballerific as (the admittedly delicious) Ammazza and Varasano’s, and not as new-frou-frou as Varuni Napoli or Thirteen Pies, which are also no-joke-status. It was just good-ass pizza with well-charred crust, San Marzano tomato sauce and fresh toppings on Edgewood Ave. We will cry for it like Jodeci in memorandum. And then go somewhere else to eat pizza until we get over it.

Courtesy of Chrome Yellow Trading Co.
Mike Jordan/Thrillist

Best place for live music


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Old Fourth Ward

The $5-per-person added surcharge for live entertainment is highly justified. This is the house that Yacht Rock Revue built, and if they’re not playing special shows themselves, they’re curating nightly lineups that include brass bands, small orchestras, and other jam crews that fit perfectly with Chef Nick Melvin’s playfully home-styled menu.

Grand Champion BBQ

Best new barbecue

Grand Champion BBQ

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You might think they’re new just because a lot of ITP-ers would have never made that long-ass ride up to Milton or Roswell just for meat plates, but GC actually can claim champ-status, having won a shload of ‘cue competitions. Now that they’re in Krog, you can get to them much easier, but do it early -- they constantly sell out of ribs, which is your problem, not theirs.

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1. Staplehouse 541 Edgewood Ave, Atlanta, GA 30312 (Old 4th Ward)

From the founders of the Giving Kitchen -- a non-profit that helps restaurant workers in need -- Staplehouse is a James Beard Award-nominated communal dining experience. The Old Fourth Ward restaurant offers a few dining options: à la carte service, for which reservations are encouraged; a pre-paid, reservations-required five-course tasting; and bar service, where walk-ins are welcome to eat. The menus change daily but you can always expect a mix of fresh produce, flavorful meats, and simple but rich desserts.

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2. Marcel 1170 Howell Mill Rd, Atlanta, GA 30318 (Midtown)

Settle into one of the deep booths in the beautiful and spacious dining room at this upscale restaurant and prepare for elegant courses like foie gras with fig terrine, escargot, and the L’Entrecôte steak with fries and insanely flavorful sauce verte. Don't be deceived by the French-leaning menu though, Marcel isn't a brasserie; it's a steakhouse, and the two-person Beef Wellington is a sight to behold (and requires 24-hour notice).

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3. The General Muir 1540 Avenue Pl NE Ste B-230, Atlanta, GA 30329 (Emory Point)

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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4. H&F Burger 675 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308

H&F Burger might have a sleek and minimal appearance on the inside, but it's menu looks more like what you'd find at an old-school diner type of restaurant. You've got relatively few options, but you rarely need them -- you know you're getting the Original Burger with a double beef patty, bread and butter pickles, red onion and melted American cheese. If you're feeling playful you'll add some bacon, avocado, or a fried egg. A chocolate shake or root beer float pairs nicely, but not nearly as well as a draft or bottle from their small beer selection.

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5. Bone Garden Cantina 1425 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

This is our favorite place to get tacos in Atlanta.

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6. Little Trouble 1170 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Asian street food (think steamed buns, fried crab dumplings, and ramen) and inventive cocktails such as the T.R.L (vodka, raspberry, cucumber soda, and mint), and King Werewolf (white brandy, plum, lemon, and soda) come together at this retro joint.

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7. Venkman's 740 Ralph McGill Blvd NE, Atlanta, GA 30312 (Old 4th Ward)

Creative comfort food and live music unite under one roof at Venkman's, the brainchild of Chef Nick Melvin and musicians Nick Niespodziani and Peter Olson (of the comedic cover band Yacht Rock Revue). Housed inside a former soda bottling plant in the Old Fourth Ward, Venkman's serves Southern-leaning salads, hot sandwiches, and sides, plus craft beer and cocktails.

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8. Grand Champion BBQ 4401 Shallowford Rd, Roswell, GA 30075 (Roswell)

You’ll walk by the smoker as you come in the front door of this East Cobb BBQ joint where they're serving some of the city's sweetest ribs. Don’t worry, if your rib meat actually falls off the bone, you’ll have some of the city’s creamiest mac and cheese to help catch it.

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9. Pizzeria Vesuvius 327 Edgewood Ave, Atlanta, GA 30312 (Downtown)

Nestled into the lofty former Bureau space, Vesuvius is a wood-fired pizza dine-in & delivery joint with upstairs seating for 60 at paper-covered tables and a winding, shiny tile/wood bar, plus a downstairs grotto functioning as a private event room with a DJ booth; the whole deal's a collaboration between six partners who've previously run popular local restaurants -- Bureau, Sotto Sotto, Noni's, Grant Central, and Thumbs Up, which apparently didn't get one from the guy who left to start this place.



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