Ford Fry

Fry opened his Southern-inspired restaurant, JCT Kitchen & Bar, in 2007; he waited four years before taking on a second project, pizza- and pasta-driven No. 246, in Decatur. But since 2011, the Texas native has launched a restaurant every year, and given that each has been a smash success, he’s on track to increase that number. In 2012 came the Optimist; this year, clubby King + Duke gave the Buckhead crowds a new haunt.

Next up: a Eur­opean-style seafood palace called St. Cecilia in Buckhead’s Pinnacle building, a “Mex-Tex” joint called Superica in the upcoming Krog Street Market, and a yet-to-be-named concept in Alpharetta’s Avalon development. What’s his secret (beyond investors with deep pockets)? The man knows how to dazzle with design without going too glitzy, and he traffics in comfort foods with a dash of novelty. He simply has our tastes pegged.