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Jackson Reeves


Final Fork: Who made it to the ‘Elite Ate’?

It’s time for the fourth round of our Final Fork contest, which brings us one step closer to voters determining Atlanta’s favorite restaurant.

The results of our third round left a few worthy restaurants in the trash heap—the Brick Store beat the Porter! Canoe beat Bone’s! Antico beat Sotto Sotto! JCT beat Cakes & Ale!—but let’s look at some of the remaining power players. We’re down to the Great Eight. Or, for our pun-happy fans, the Elite Ate:
Holeman and Finch Public House
The Brick Store Pub
Empire State South
JCT Kitchen & Bar
Antico Pizza Napoletana
The Iberian Pig

Since the only thing I know how to do is elucidate my personal opinion on these restaurants in an all-too-explicit attempt to manipulate y’all into voting for my favorites, here’s my take on our Elite Ate:
1. You’ll recall how I feel about Holeman. Even though I was rooting for the Porter, I’d still make the half-hour trek from my Downtown apartment to Brick Store. Just to spite Holeman. Because I’m spiteful when it comes to drinking.
2. You may also remember that while I love Bacchanalia, I’m not a huge fan of ’em. Plus, I adore Canoe. And I like to root for the underdog. The flood survivor is my obvious pick.
3. Antico forever.
4. That just leaves our Southern bracket, which was the only difficult decision for me. I have a semi-tradition of going for Sunday Supper at JCT around my birthday. It’s also Ford Fry’s first restaurant, which given my love for the Optimist I find somewhat special. Then there’s Empire State South, which consistently ranks in my top three restaurants in the city, along with Miller Union (robbed!) and One Eared Stag (unfair disadvantage!). And ESS’s chicken biscuit with pimento cheese and bacon? No better breakfast in town. I won’t say which one won out for me; I’ll let you make up your minds on your own, if only for this particular matchup.

But what do you think? What is your gut telling you? Cast your vote before Thursday at 11, and be entered to win one of our sweet prizes, including a Big Green Egg, a bottle of Richland Rum, and a $100 gift certificate to the Final Fork restaurant of your choice. Learn more about the prizes here.

We’re down to the ‘Eat Sixteen’ in our Final Fork contest

There are just two days left to vote in Round Three of our Final Fork contest, which brings us one step closer to determining Atlanta’s favorite restaurant.

Bacchanalia is still in the game, much to my surprise, but let’s take a look at the full list of our Sweet Sixteen—or rather, Eat Sixteen:
Holeman and Finch Public House
Leon’s Full Service
The Porter Beer Bar
The Brick Store Pub
Kevin Rathbun Steak
Empire State South
South City Kitchen
Cakes & Ale
JCT Kitchen & Bar
Antico Pizza Napoletana
Sotto Sotto
The Iberian Pig

There are two ways to approach these sorts of brackets: the rational, hard-statistics, what’s-most-likely-to-win way, and the emotional, fuzzy-feelings, I-love-the-beet-salad-here way. I’ll leave the objective appraisal to the experts, but here’s my highly subjective, guttural response to a few among our Eat Sixteen:
1. I’ve never much liked Holeman. There, I said it. It’s always too busy to ever get a bartender to mix you a sublime concoction, and honestly, that’s the only reason I want to go here. (Yeah, yeah, their food is good, but I want their booze.) And no, I’m not going to go on off nights or at absurd hours to get what I want. Honey, please.
2. I adore Canoe. Whenever my parents and my brother are in town, this is invariably where we end up eating. Mainly because it’s close to my folks’ place in Sandy Springs, but you can’t deny the brilliance of Chef Carvel Gould. Plus, that view of the ‘Hooch is my favorite backdrop for a nice evening of fine dining.
3. Cakes & Ale is amazing. Billy Allin is a genius. But it’s in Decatur, and JCT is just up the road from me, so…
4. Team Antico. Always and forever. I know I said I’d stay away from making objective statements, but nothing’s better than pizza. This is just scientific fact.

What about you? What is your gut telling you? Cast your vote, and be entered to win one of our sweet prizes, including a Big Green Egg, a bottle of Richland Rum, and a $100 gift certificate to the Final Fork restaurant of your choice. Learn more about the prizes here.

After looking at the initial numbers, all I can say is: Fans of Kyma, speak now or forever hold your peace.

Who will go on to the next round: Bacchanalia or the Optimist?

It’s time for Round Two of our Final Fork contest, which brings us one step closer to determining Atlanta’s favorite restaurant.

Y’all weighed in last week and narrowed down our original list of sixty-four restaurants to thirty-two, and some interesting pairings have emerged. Like Holeman and Finch versus Manuel’s—one’s renowned for craft cocktails and hip crowds; the other’s a good place for a cheap beer and conversation with journalists and politicos. Or Antico versus Fogo—Atlanta’s favorite pizza spot versus its fave place to binge on meat. And Miller Union versus JCT—Steven Satterfield’s (relative) newcomer and Ford Fry’s staple.

But the face-off I’m most interested in is Bacchanalia versus the Optimist. Because this is why I love our Final Fork contest: It sets out to find our readers’ favorite restaurant. As Google Analytics have told us many a time: Y’all love our 50 Best Restaurants cover story, so each of you is probably well aware that our food editor and restaurant critic, Bill Addison, views Bacch as the best in Atlanta. It “offers the city’s most memorable dining experience,” says Addison, and Bacch “reigns as monarch” in our “decimated fine-dining terrain.” (It’s also one of those restaurants whose price tag can be a bit of a deterrent to even the most dedicated foodie. I’ve been once. I thought the meal was one the best I’ve had in the city. It also cost me a little over $200, so I don’t think I’ll be back anytime soon/ever.) Could an upstart restaurant from the mind of Ford Fry serving seafood in a landlocked city beat out the “monarch”? Perhaps. Especially if Esquire deemed it the Best Restaurant of the Year (as in, in the nation) and finding a weekend reservation is damn near impossible. Is it conceivable that our Addison Approved (trademark pending) Best Restaurant in Atlanta won’t make it past Round Two?

Last week, 1,250 of our Insiders voted in Round One. The most popular restaurant that round? Holeman, which scored 849 votes. The closest battle? 5 Seasons versus Manuel’s, separated by ten votes. (An earlier version of this post incorrectly listed Woodfire Grill and Canoe—also a tight race—as the closest.) So far in Round Two, Antico is leading the charge for most-popular status (Fogo fans, show your love!). Of course, the week is still young…

Did you vote last week? Great! Vote this week too. Sure, you get to help determine the most beloved eatery in the A, but each round you vote in gives you yet another entry to win one of our sweet prizes, including a Big Green Egg, a bottle of Richland Rum, and a $100 gift certificate to the Final Fork restaurant of your choice. Learn more about the prizes here.

So vote now! If for no other reason than so we can find out if Bacchanalia has the prestige to beat out the constantly packed Optimist.

Vote now for your favorite restaurants in our Final Fork bracket

You’ve probably already heard about our Final Fork contest. It’s all over Twitter. But in case you need a refresher, here it is: We’re asking you to vote on your favorite restaurants in our snazzy bracket, divided into four categories (Gastropubs and Bars; High Rollers; Southern, Dressed Up or Down Home; and Global Eats). Each week, we’ll narrow down the list by determining the winners of each face-off. After doing that for a month and a half, we’ll have our winner: the best restaurant in Atlanta, as determined by our readers.

However, this is the most important week of all. You see, after this week, thirty-two whole restaurants will be cut. Which means if you love Grand Champion BBQ, Desta, or any other lesser-known venues, you need to vote for them now or forever hold your peace. Check out all your choices here.

Personally, my big stressor is a match in the High Rollers section between the Optimist and One Eared Stag. And I’m not the only one who found this battle to be a bit of a Sophie’s Choice. In my opinion, they’re both two of the best restaurants in the city, and each holds a special place in my heart. One finally made me love seafood; the other served as the setting for a very special date (and hosts a mean fried chicken night). I hate that only one can move on to the next round because I think they’re each worthy of achieving at least Round Three-status. But, thus is the world of the bracket. And they’re not the only pair that has some people wringing their hands that they’re each perfect in radically different ways.

Right now, nearly 1,000 Insiders have weighed in with their picks. So far, Holeman and Finch Public House has garnered the most votes in any category: 663. Kozmo Gastro Pub, its direct rival, the least: 150 (perhaps owing to its less central, OTP location; or perhaps owing to its stiff competition).

Plus, if you fill out our bracket, you’ll be entered to win a few nifty prizes, including a Big Green Egg, a bottle of Richland Rum, and a $100 gift certificate to the Final Fork restaurant of your choice. Learn more about the prizes here.

This oh-so-important Round One ends tonight at 11 p.m., so vote now! Vote like the fate of the dining scene depends on it.

Tweets of the Week (Plus a Tumblr and a Meme): Emory 3/5 Edition

For a thoughtful take on the issues underlying President Wagner’s latest snafu, check out this blog post from our own Doug Monroe.

Valentine’s cards for your sweethearts who love Atlanta

Everyone’s doing ironic, themed Valentine’s cards today. Here are ours, Atlanta-style.

Single in the City

Crunching census data, cost-of-living figures, and
quality-of-life metrics, the Daily Beast ranked Atlanta number one on its list of “Best Cities to Find a Date in 2012.” But—with all due respect to statisticians—we turned to the real experts: actual single Atlantans. (Okay, a few married folk chimed in too. Not that we’re judging.) Here’s what the 280 respondents in our poll had to say about the state of singledom and the quest for romance in Atlanta.

Does Atlanta have a good dating scene?


“Picking up pizza from Antico, along with
Champagne, and going to Piedmont Park at sunset to eat. It was a time of year where the park was pretty empty. It was awesome.” —Description of the “best Atlanta date you’ve ever had”

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no huge surplus of single women compared to single men in Atlanta. For every 100 women here, there are 95.4 men, not nearly as bad as the ratios in Winston-Salem (88.6) or Birmingham (88).

Do you want to settle down in the next five years?

A frequently cited plus of Atlanta’s dating scene is diversity. “Since Atlanta attracts lots of different types of people from all over the place (including myself), you can find someone who’s your ‘type’ just about anyplace you go,” noted one respondent. Women get points for being bold: “I’ve lived in numerous cities throughout the country, and Atlanta has the most aggressive women. Young and old!” noted another, who cited nightlife as the best thing about dating here. On the other side of the gender barrier, “Southern gentlemen” are a draw for one singleton.


Everyone’s biggest complaint? Traffic, of course. As one respondent griped, it’s “hard to safely get out to all the cool neighborhoods and get yourself home safely—without spending oodles on SafeRide.” Said another, even more frankly: “Meeting someone who lives on the wrong side of the highway can be a deal-breaker. Are they worth the traffic?”

27% say their love lives most mirror Pride and Prejudice
7% say their love lives most mirror Fifty Shades of Grey

38% prefer drinks
35% prefer dinner

90% claim they’ve never done it
69% claim they’ve never had it done to them

29% dated someone met at a bar
10% dated someone met at church
7% dated someone met on Facebook

40% say they have never had one
2% say they have them all the time

Do you hope to settle down within the next five years?
Women: 76%
Men: 71%

Do you think Atlanta has a good singles scene?
Women: No, 53%
Men: Yes, 80%

Best part of dating in Atlanta:
Woman: “Southern gentlemen.”
Man: “Endless supply of women.”

Worst part of dating in Atlanta:
Woman: “Too many washed up frat guys in the bar scene.”
Man: “Too many Housewife wannabes.”

Best date:
Woman: “I met someone at Sister Louisa’s and it turned into this incredible six-hour-long date full of some of the best conversation I’ve ever had. We moved to cocktails and dancing at Sound Table and ended with late-night slices and some great good night kisses.”
Man: “Homemade dinner, pregame at CNN Center, concert at Phillips Arena, stroll through Centennial Olympic Park, late-night dancing and sushi at Primal, movie at my house.”

Worst date:
Woman: “He took me to the Rusty Nail on Buford Highway because I said it didn’t have to be anything too fancy.”
Man: “Listening to hipsters read elementary schoolers’ essays as they drink PBR at the Goat Farm. Bite me.”

Your preferred first date is:
Women: Drinks, 39% (or if looking for something different, a picnic)
Men: Dinner, 50%, (or if looking for something different, coffee)

Which book best describes your love life?
Women: Pride and Prejudice, 31%
Men: High Fidelity, 32%

Would you prefer to wait until marriage to have sex with someone?
Women: 14%
Men: 3% (the same percentage that would like to have sex on the first date)

Have you never had a one-night stand?
Women: 45%
Men: 19%

Would you date someone who was unemployed?
Women: 17%
Men: 50%

56% of men would like to date someone more than ten years younger than them

59% of women would like to date someone more than ten years older than them

Tweets of the Day: Kasim Reed, the AJC, and Gay Marriage Edition

Our mayor came out in favor of gay marriage last month. This morning, the folks on the newspaper’s PolitiFact team gave Reed a “full flip” rating on their Flip-O-Meter. Twitter responds.

Pretty girlfriend of Alabama QB from last night’s BCS game lives in Georgia

Touchdown for the Peach State!

‘Bama may have won last night’s BCS National Championship Game, but the highpoint of the evening was ESPN announcer Brent Musburger’s strange fixation on the girlfriend of the winning team’s QB.

When she gained 150,000 Twitter followers overnight thanks to said fixation, Gawker dubbed her the new queen of America.

Notable to us, Katherine Webb—aka Miss Alabama, aka Miss Photogenic Georgia, aka the girlfriend in question—lives in Columbus, Georgia, and works at Chick-fil-A. (At least according to her bio on Miss USA’s website.) Ergo, the new queen of America is a Georgia gal working for a Georgia company, who also spent most of her childhood in Georgia. Screw the Olympics; this is clearly our state’s greatest accomplishment ever.

UPDATE: According to THR, Webb lives in LA. Well, we’re still giving her bonafide Georgia status. Growing up in Columbus and working for Chick-fil-A merits some reward.

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