Good times come easy at Ford Fry’s seventh restaurant, a near clone to the El Felix in Avalon but located in a much more atmospheric corner of Krog Street Market. The bustling, family-friendly “Mex-Tex” concept, an import from Fry’s native Texas, boasts superb steak nachos coated in gooey sharp cheddar and tacos (soft, crispy, or puffy) filled with winners like thick-cut pork carnitas in a guava glaze or slow-cooked brisket. Service is fast, the house margaritas show balance and depth, and the fruity, near-tropical salsa is every bit as fresh as the thin chips. Big-ticket items like grilled quail or the massive short rib with a chipotle molasses are worth the expense. 99 Krog Street, 678-791-1310 —C.L.
From the same Charleston-based group behind Avalon’s Oak Steakhouse (located next door) comes this northern Italian looker with soaring ceilings, rustic wood, and spotlights to highlight every surface. Cured meats, imported prosciutto, and pizzas with thin, crackly crusts topped with
fontina and Indaco sausage (pictured) are surefire crowd pleasers. The rather lifeless pasta needs work, but you’ll do better with meaty plates like the spit-roasted pork chops and a beautifully charred bistecca. 900 Third Street, Alpharetta, 678-722-8335 —C.L.
Midtown is short on quality restaurants, so we’re rooting for chef Micah Willix, who opened a “modern meatery” in the long-shuttered Briza next to the Renaissance Hotel. Start with garlicky chicken wings glazed in a dark sweet-and-sour sauce before moving on to a fork-tender
braised pork shoulder resting in a light tomato sauce. For lighter fare, order the steelhead trout (pictured) with toasted almonds. Don’t miss the playful popcorn-flavored ice cream. 886 West Peachtree Street, 678-412-2402
The burger popup that started in the back of Joystick Gamebar is now a full-service restaurant in Virginia-Highland. Chef Steven Lingenfelter works with a new nose-to-tail method: He starts with a whole grass-fed cow that he grinds into burgers and slices into steaks. Sadly, the culinary spark is missing. Although the messy okonomiyaki fries (pictured) are as satisfying as ever, the burgers—from the famous Hank to the double-decker F&H—are under-salted, consistently overcooked, and wedged between rather lifeless buns. 1044 Greenwood Avenue, 404-254-2141
- Will Ponce City Market’s food hall ever open? The latest intel has us thinking (guessing) September.
- Buford Highway standby Gu’s Bistro has closed, but the Krog Street Market stall is now up and running. Fingers crossed that a new Gu’s will open by year’s end.
- Long-awaited Staplehouse is hoping for a summer opening. Proceeds will benefit the Giving Kitchen.
This article originally appeared in our May 2015 issue.