Fall food openings and events to watch

When I was in New York for the James Beard awards this past spring, many of the nation’s food busybodies (including myself) made the trek to the far west side of Hell’s Kitchen. Our destination was Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, a much written-about noodle spot, the season’s “it” restaurant.

Restaurant may not be the right word.

What we found was an indoor dining complex called Gotham West Market, where hungry folk could go from stall to stall to sample destination-worthy coffee, ice cream, charcuterie and tacos.

It was — can I say this? — a food court. Hip, yes. Design-forward, yes. You got your food on metal baking sheets rather than plastic trays, and you filled your glass carafes with filtered water rather than having paper cups of Mello Yello from the soda fountain.

But I know a food court when I see one.

I soon realized that the word “market” has become a convenient euphemism for this new breed of high-end food court. Atlanta is getting its first such high-end court, and it looks like the most exciting debut of all the restaurant openings and food events coming our way this fall.

Krog Street Market. This complex will feature about a dozen food stalls from some of Atlanta's top cooking talents.

Todd Ginsberg of the General Muir will continue with his quest to master every culinary corner of the Jewish diaspora and open two stalls: Fred’s Meat & Bread will serve deli creations ranging from pastrami sandwiches to cheesesteaks, while Yalla will focus on contemporary Middle Eastern treats like hummus, pita and falafel.

Asha Gomez, from the late, lamented Cardamom Hill, returns with Spice Road Chicken, specializing in her famous Kerala-spiced fried chicken.

The Gu family of Doraville’s Gu’s Bistro will make their intown debut with Gu’s Dumplings, serving a range of Szechuan snacks.

And look for outposts of the Little Tart Bakeshop, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Grand Champion BBQ, among others.

If food stalls aren't your thing, no worries. Krog Street Market will feature full-service restaurants, including Superica, Ford Fry's foray into Mexican flavors; the Luminary, a brasserie from "Top Chef" contestant Eli Kirshstein; and Craft Izakaya, a Japanese small-plates pub, opened recently. Look for the rest later this fall. 99 Krog St., Atlanta. krogstreetmarket.com.

Avalon. This mixed-use development in Alpharetta will debut Oct. 30 with nearly a dozen new restaurants. High on the list are Oak Steakhouse, a Charleston import famous for its bone-marrow bread pudding; and a replica of Antico Pizza Napoletana, the Westside pizza sensation. 2200 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta. experienceavalon.com.

Buckhead Atlanta. This new urban village will begin rolling out in September in the heart of that neighborhood's long hollowed-out entertainment district. It will surely usher in a new era of glitz in Buckhead dining.

The roster includes a lot of high-high-end, Vegasy/Dallasy chains, including American Cut steakhouse, American F+B fine dining and Doraku Sushi. However, the most excitement is about the first Atlanta outpost of Shake Shack, the New York burger chain. 3035 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. buckhead-atl.

Cooks & Soldiers. The latest concept from the Castellucci Hospitality Group (Iberian Pig, Double Zero Napoletana), which will open in a new building across from White Provision on the Westside. It will feature cooking inspired by the Basque region of Spain and France. 691 14th St. N.W., Atlanta.

Fall is also festival time. Look for:

Taste of Atlanta. Each year brings more and more programming, including sessions with food and drink experts, as well as better food options from the scores of participating restaurants. The Barcraft Competition, which ends with a prize for best Atlanta bartender, is always a crowd favorite. More than 90 restaurants will be serving food. Oct. 24-26. Midtown at Tech Square. tasteofatlanta.com.

Chomp & Stomp. Atlanta descends on the sweet streets of Cabbagetown for this quirky festival. A combination chili cook-off, bluegrass music throwdown and 5K run, it attracts a fun crowd. The music venues include Cabbagetown Park and local restaurants, such as 97 Estoria. The chili is everywhere. Nov. 1. Cabbagetown Park. chompandstomp.com.

Atlanta Lobster Festival. Little known fact: The nation's finest lobsters come out of the Chattahoochee River. Wait … no? OK, then who knows what this will be. So far, it's just a Twitter account (@ATLLobsterFest), but stay tuned.