It is rare that I run into a native Atlantan. Most people have moved to Atlanta for the warmer climate or because of a job change. A common question then becomes, “Where’s a good place to eat?” That depends on how you define good. Depending on where you come from, you bring a culinary bias. This could be based upon a diverse and experienced palate or an inexperienced palate. Nevertheless, most people know what they like, what they don’t like, and what they are willing to try.
My friend, Justin, and I got into this very discussion not too long ago. He’s a transplant from Florida, where as I am a military brat who lived on the westcoast, the eastcoast, in the midwest, and finally settled here in the south. Justin contended that there were a lot of restaurant chains in Atlanta because folks here would eat just about anything . “They don’t know good food. If this were Florida, a lot of these kinds of restaurants would close down because people there have very discriminating tastes and they like good food and good service” (my paraphrase).
Well, Justin has a point. Yet, there are good and bad restaurants in most every city you visit. How do you find the good ones? As my friend, Melvin, would say, “Talk to a Grub Master.” What is a Grub Master? If you are a person who is constantly being asked about “must eat places”, you are more than likely a Grub Master. People have used your recommendations and see you as a trusted culinary advisor.
So, does Atlanta have too many bland tasting, so-so service restaurants? Sure it does. In an active, sprawling, metropolitan city of 3 million plus, there are a lot of people who like to eat out. A lot of folks like fast and convenient food and so, establishments will exist to meet those needs. However, there are a lot of gems in the Atlanta dining scene as well. And with a little work you can unearth these beauties. Look at Zagat, look in your local newspaper’s Entertainment section, or look to someone you know and trust–your friendly Grub Master.
We’ll explore some must-eat places in the posts to come. Until then…Bon Apetite!
*For more on restaurants, food, and recipes, visit the Grub category of WeirdGuy Blog.