Looking back, a review of 2013

How Atlanta’s food scene matured and changed this year
The wood-burning hearth at King + Duke

Andrew Thomas Lee Photography

As the saying goes, you win some, and you lose some. This year we saw famed mixologists leave their longtime outposts, award-winning chefs open new “it” spots, and the restaurant community band together to help one of their own. As we welcome in the new year, we pause to take a look back at what happened in 2013.

The team behind West Egg Café opens the General Muir in Emory Pointe. Crowds flock to try Todd Ginsberg’s Jewish-style deli’s bagels, schmears, and house-cured and smoked meats. Our own Bill Addison later names it Atlanta’s Restaurant of the Year.

Kevin Rathbun’s fourth restaurant, KR SteakBar, becomes the first to open in Peachtree Hills’ Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC). Led by executive chef Chris McDade, it broadens Rathbun’s focus from steaks and seafood to pastas and shared plates.

After three decades in Brookwood, Café Intermezzo moves to Midtown. While the new space lacks historic charm, a prime location and patio visibility are big improvements.

Everybody’s Pizza—in business since 1971—and adjacent Steady Hand Pour House shut their doors, making way for Slice & Pint. Carver’s Country Kitchen closes with plans to reopen in a new location on the Westside. Owner Sharon Carver later changes her mind and decides to sell the property.

Meanwhile, Chai Pani brings Indian street food from Asheville to Decatur, and Tyler Williams begins serving creative combinations at Woodfire Grill.

Atlanta’s only rotating restaurant, the Sun Dial closes for renovations. It reopens in August with a new menu and updated interior.

Later named one of Atlanta’s Best New Restaurant, Kevin Gillespie opens Gunshow in Glenwood Park, proving that the churrascaria-dim sum method of serving can work in other types of restaurants. Ford Fry outdoes himself yet again with King + Duke’s wood-roasted meats and fish; and Fuyuhiko Ito (formerly of MF Buckhead) brings high-end sushi back to the area with the opening of Umi.

Despite an outpouring of social media support to keep it open, Aurora Coffee closes in Virginia-Highland. The Little Five Points location remains open.

The bottom level of the Brookwood building facing Peachtree Street is finally full, thanks to the opening of Saltyard. Here Atlantans congregate for small plates and wine, spilling out onto the restaurant patio when the weather is nice.

A kitchen fire breaks out at Rathbun’s, temporarily closing the restaurant. In another stroke of bad luck, an accident while investigating fire damage takes chef and proprietor Kevin Rathbun off of his feet for a few weeks.

After a 4th of July bash, the original Victory Sandwich Bar in Inman Park closes to make way for a mixed-use development. It will reopen in the old Park’s Edge location by April 2014.

In Athens, Five & Ten moves from Lumpkin Street to Milledge Avenue, making way for a Mexican spot called Cinco y Diez.

Ryan Smith leaves Empire State South to focus his attention on the much-anticipated Staplehouse, where he’ll work alongside Ryan and Jen Hidinger as a partner.

HD1 closes with plans to turn the Poncey-Highland space into yet another Richard Blais concept, Flip Burger Boutique.

Widely attributed for jumpstarting Atlanta’s cocktail culture, Greg Best and Regan Smith leave Holeman & Finch Public House after five years to work on a new, undisclosed project. Carvel Gould vacates her executive chef position at Canoe sixteen years after she joined the restaurant’s team. David Sweeney, too, relinquishes his post at Cakes & Ale—rumor has it he’s penning a cookbook.

Helmed by executive chef Stephen Sharp, Ink & Elm brings fine dining to Emory Village. To cater to the masses, the restaurant is divided into a dining room, tavern, lounge, and raw bar.

One year after Ford Fry’s the Optimist wins 2012 Restaurant of the Year by Esquire Magazine, Fry’s newest spot, King + Duke, is named one of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants of 2013.

Bocado’s Italian sister restaurant STG Trattoria closes after only eighteen months in business.

Live jazz and fondue spot Dante’s Down the Hatch is demolished after closing July 31. The pirate ship-shaped restaurant had been open through four decades, multiple locations, and thousands of special occasion celebrations.

Athens soul food institution Weaver D’s shutters. The restaurant had been “rescued” by its fans once before, but this time nothing could solve the twenty-seven-year-old restaurant’s financial problems.

The Georgia Restaurant Association celebrates Steve Nygren and Ford Fry for their commitment to local foods at the 2013 GRACE Awards.

Legendary chef Ria Pell, owner of Ria’s Bluebird, passes away. Chefs and diners alike mourn the loss while celebrating her impact on the Grant Park community.

Better Half, the restaurant from PushStart Kitchen supper club founders Zach and Cristina Meloy, opens in Home Park.