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Looking back, a review of 2013

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.

Five & Ten

Who is Georgia’s most enterprising chef? I’d say Hugh Acheson, whose career has proliferated faster than a zucchini patch over the last two years. In April 2011 Acheson, who’d opened Empire State South in Midtown eight months earlier, appeared on Bravo TV’s Top Chef Masters, only to be voted off in the first episode after a salty scallop debacle.

Whitney Otawka talks Athens’ Cinco y Diez

Whitney Otawka, former executive chef of the now shuttered Farm 255 in Athens, will helm the kitchen at Hugh Acheson’s Mexican restaurant, Cinco y Diez, opening this winter. Cinco y Diez takes over the space previously home to Acheson’s Five & Ten, which recently moved from Lumpkin Street to Milledge Avenue.

Automatic for the Diners

I have cried only once at a culinary event: the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards, when a towering man in a tuxedo and a ruffled shirt bounded onstage, collected the medal that honored his restaurant as an America’s Classic, and opened his mouth. “I want to thank God, R.E.M., and the University of Georgia,” Dexter Weaver said with the booming voice of a preacher. The crowd went wild. All that love for Athens, Georgia, and Weaver’s place overcame me.

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