National food website Eater released its list of America’s 38 Essential Restaurants for 2018, and two Georgia restaurants made the cut.
Old Fourth Ward restaurant Staplehouse and Savannah eatery The Grey both made the list for the second time.
Eater restaurant editor, national critic and former Atlanta resident Bill Addison complied the list after 34 weeks of travel, eating almost 600 meals in 36 cities.
“This annual guide is a distillation of the foods and the communities to which I’ve borne witness,” Addison wrote.
This year’s list includes 17 new restaurants and five restaurants that have been included every year since the list was launched in 2015.
Addison wrote of Staplehouse, “Ryan Smith crafts the right-now model of the mid-priced tasting menu, serving a dozen or so constantly evolving courses; dishes might involve modernist mousses and powders but never spiral too far from an end goal of accessible pleasure. Co-owners Jen Hidinger and Kara Hidinger (Smith’s wife) lead the front of house with Southern graciousness.”
Of The Grey, he said “Eater’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year resides in a former Greyhound bus station, restored to its original 1938 Art Deco grandeur in a multimillion-dollar renovation. Mashama Bailey culls Southern port city flavors into a jubilantly personal expression, with triumphs like salt-preserved grouper on toast and quail scented with Madeira.”
This is far from the first honor for either restaurants.
Smith was recently named a James Beard Award semifinalist in the Best Chef: Southeast category, and Staplehouse was a finalist in 2016 for Best New Restaurant. Bon Apetit magazine also named the eatery the best new restaurant in the country in 2016, and Staplehouse was included in Eater’s annual list of the Best New Restaurants in America and named to the top of GQ’s Best New Restaurants of 2016 list . The restaurant also serves as the for-profit arm for The Giving Kitchen, a non-profit that helps workers in the Atlanta restaurant community who are facing unanticipated crises .
In addition to The Grey being named Eater’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year, Bailey was named a 2018 James Beard Award finalist in the Best Chef: Southeast category.