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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.
Whether Allie Bashuk is working to empower women and nonbinary individuals through her nonprofit, Dream Warriors Foundation; producing large-scale event installations as codirector of Brutal Studio; or bringing the city’s artists together as a director at the Goat Farm Arts Center, this creative powerhouse is helping foster culture and community in Atlanta.
Shay Lavi is a master behind the grill, where proteins make up only about 30 percent of his impressive, vegetable-laden spreads. Now, the catering chef plans to open his own cafe downtown.
Staplehouse might have been ahead of its time when it introduced its tasting-menu format in 2015. But his time around, Atlanta is more ready for it than ever.
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.
Ben and Maddie Richardson launched their online shop, Cocktail Commons, in 2016 after their house started to get “a bit crowded” with antique cocktail glasses that Ben, a Staplehouse bartender, kept acquiring while thrifting. Now, the husband-wife duo’s inventory ranges from etched Prohibition-era crystal to kitschy midcentury tumblers.
Vanessa Toro launched her clothing brand, Rabble & Rouse, in 2015 with the tagline “Give all the damns.” Her T-shirts make bold statements with phrases like “Be vigilant, not afraid” and “All we have is each other.” Toro herself is regularly stopped on the street for her jet-black pixie cut, signature red lip, and flair for pairing colors and prints.
The firm Vivian Bencich founded with her husband John in 2001, Square Feet Studio, won first place in Contract magazine’s 2016 Inspiration Awards for work on Staplehouse. It was the first national honor for the growing firm of 11, whose portfolio ranges from the industrial sophistication of departed Abattoir to cozy Kimball House and a colorful, rambunctious Mellow Mushroom in Decatur.