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“Prior to [the] pandemic, we had a different vision for our restaurant,” Savang says. “With this happening a month before our opening, we had time to brainstorm a different way to open that’s still true to us, exciting, fun, and delicious.”
Two years ago, chefs Parnass Savang and Rod Lassiter launched Talat Market as a humble pop-up at Gato in Candler Park. Now, they're at work on a 1,700-square-foot, full-service version of the Thai restaurant in Summerhill, which they say will open this summer.
As obvious as the physical transformation of Atlanta’s restaurant scene has been, an underground dining revolution is also underway. The latter—waged by chefs hosting pop-up “restaurants” and dinner series, as well as entrepreneurs offering incubating spaces—isn’t as easy to observe as the former. But it’s similarly impressive. In many ways, it’s more impressive.
Looking beyond such fanfare as the opening of Tiny Lou’s and the rise of fast-casual everything, what else happened in the food world this year—and what does it say about Atlanta? We received a few snubs on the national stage, which might suggest that our dining scene is faltering. It could also be that we’re currently stewing on our most promising culinary ideas and talent.
When Parnass Savang and Rod Lassiter debuted their Talat Market pop-up at Gato last spring, they had no idea how the city would respond. But the success was near-instant, and now the duo have signed the lease on their first brick-and-mortar restaurant, set to open in 2019.
The James Beard Foundation's 2018 Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists include seven Atlanta-based chefs and three elsewhere in Georgia received nominations. If you look closer at the list, you'll notice a trend: Seven of these ten chefs are people of color.