Dining trends on Atlanta’s restaurant scene in 2017

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

Ah, food trends. Love 'em or hate 'em, they are a thing. Some come and go as the wind, while others move beyond craze stage to become the new norm. Pet-loving Atlanta now has a cat cafe. Chefs are mad for matcha. Lowbrow hot dogs are getting dressed to the nines. Click the link below to learn about these and other dining developments.

Atlanta's top dining trends of 2017
The dishes, concepts and drinks that are hot in metro Atlanta this year.

The top Atlanta dining trends of 2017

The dishes, concepts and drinks that are hot in metro Atlanta this year.

KickerThis is a kicker.

Ah, food trends. Love em or hate em, they are a thing. Some come and go as the wind, while others move beyond craze stage to become the new norm. Pet\-loving Atlanta now has a cat cafe. Chefs are mad for matcha. Lowbrow hot dogs are getting dressed to the nines. Read on to learn about these and other dining developments.

**Color Atlanta green this spring** [**If youre eating it and its bright green, it might be matcha**](http://www.myajc.com/lifestyles/food\-\-cooking/meet\-your\-matcha\-metro\-atlanta/9LEHfNUetvx484UNc03crI/). [**This grassy green tea is flavoring meals all over Atlanta right now**](http://www.ajc.com/entertainment/dining/ways\-get\-your\-matcha\-fix\-metro\-atlanta\-restaurants/SNqE3y6ZrLMFH9ndVntFUM/): matcha donuts at Sweet Hut \(933 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404\-600\-4800, **[http://sweethutbakery.com](http://sweethutbakery.com/)**\), [**matcha iced coffee topped with matcha cream at Boba Bee**](http://atlantarestaurants.blog.ajc.com/2017/04/03/first\-look\-bubble\-tea\-and\-hong\-kong\-egg\-waffles\-are\-the\-buzz\-at\-boba\-bee/) \(5150 Buford Highway N.E., Doraville. 770\-710\-0993, **[Facebook: Boba Bee](https://www.facebook.com/Boba\-Bee\-272459569838801)**\), Matcha Green Tea Latte Mix at Trader Joes and even McCormicks organic matcha seasoning on your local grocers shelves. Atlanta pastry chefs love the earthy flavor and the way it works with sweet flavors. Baristas and their customers love the energy boost and the antioxidants. **Learn to make matcha cocktails with Vinnie Dugan of Seven Lamps:**

Youll find matcha up and down Buford Highway, where its Japanese heritage makes it right at home, but youll find it in Atlantas finest dining spots as well. Learn more about matcha and its place in the Japanese tea ceremony at Chamblees Zen Tea \(5356 Peachtree Road, Chamblee. 678\-547\-0877, **[http://zenteaco.com](http://www.zenteaco.com/)**\) or try the matcha desserts at Atlas at the St. Regis \(88 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W., Atlanta. 404\-600\-6471, **[http://atlasrestaurant.com](http://atlasrestaurant.com/)**\). Want even more matcha in your life? Check out Matcha: A Lifestyle Guide \(Dovetail, $25; [**www.dovetail.press**](https://www.dovetail.press/)\), published just last month. C.W. CAMERON

**Contemporary Vietnamese** [**Take a look at Bon Tons old\-school laminated menu, and youll notice an interesting mix: New Orleans\-style poboys and Vietnamese banh mis, Cajun gumbo and lo lat rolls**](http://atlantarestaurants.blog.ajc.com/2017/02/13/sneak\-peek\-good\-times\-ready\-to\-roll\-at\-bon\-ton\-in\-midtown/). Whats happening here? This Myrtle Street joint with the Bourbon Street\-meets\-Saigon party vibe is the latest example of Next\-Gen Vietnamese dining in Atlanta. A partnership between Eric Simpkins and Darren Carr of the Lawrence and Hieu Pham of Buford Highways Crawfish Shack, its a little bit Chamblee and a little bit Midtown. Sipping a Hurricane or Smoked Bourbon Mai Tai at Bon Ton \(674 Myrtle St. N.E., Atlanta. 404\-996\-6161, **[bontonatl.com](http://www.bontonatl.com/)**\), you may get a feeling of dj vu. Bon Ton recalls Guy Wongs Le Fat \(935 Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta. 404\-439\-9850, **[lefatatl.com](http://lefatatl.com/)**\), **[where classic Vietnamese food is served with modern panache](http://www.myajc.com/entertainment/dining/guy\-wong\-defining\-next\-generation\-asian\-restaurants\-atlanta/rnhin9QB6jVp03r61j2euM/)** in a swanky, Indochine\-era room designed by Smith Hanes. **Get inside the mind of Guy Wong here:**

The elegant Le Fat and tacky\-in\-a\-good\-way Bon Ton are a long way from the citys brightly lit pho parlors weve come to love. They are the latest chapters in the tale of Atlantas immigrant communities: expressions of how successful restaurateurs from blue\-collar beginnings start new ventures on expensive intown real estate. Lets hope there will be more to come. WENDELL BROCK

**Here, kitty kitty** Dine with cats? No, not at home. Out! Its the place where everyone is smiling. Your local cat cafe. Yes, Atlanta now has one and another on the way. It took only 20 years for the trend to make its way from its origins in Asia across the Pacific to the West Coast and now to Atlanta. Java Cats Cafe \(415 Memorial Drive S.E., Atlanta. 470\-305\-7575, **[javacatscafe.com](http://javacatscafe.com/)**\) opened in late March . **[What should you expect? Smiling people petting cats. Smiling people drinking Ebrik coffee and Rishi tea and watching the smiling people petting cats.](http://atlantarestaurants.blog.ajc.com/2017/03/28/check\-out\-video\-from\-atlantas\-first\-cat\-cafe/)** Cats being adopted and everyone applauding. Timed reservations to sit with the cats keep the crowds small, and separate ventilation systems mean even the allergic can dine safely in the cat\-free side of the cafe while enjoying the view. And theres food. Cat\-themed coffee shop treats and drinks and light meals of things like grain salads and wraps. And the cats? Theyre from PAWS Atlanta, all chosen to thrive in a social setting. Its working so well that during the first week the cafe was open, 11 cats found homes. **Get a look at Java Cats in Grant Park**

The food is delicious \(especially those vegan seed bars\), but its also doing good. It comes from Gathering Industries, a nonprofit thats offering culinary training for people who have been homeless. So your visit is good for your heart, good for the cats and good for the community. Was there something else you wanted from your afternoon out? Like visiting another cat cafe? Well, [**Happy Tabby Cat Cafe**](http://atlantarestaurants.blog.ajc.com/2016/12/23/happy\-tabby\-cat\-cafe\-picks\-an\-address\-and\-other\-top\-atlanta\-food\-and\-dining\-news\-from\-the\-week/) \(529 Irwin St. N.E., Atlanta. 678\-640\-4404, **[facebook.com/happytabbycatcafe](https://www.facebook.com/happytabbycatcafe)**\) is scheduled to open soon. C.W. CAMERON

**Brussels sprouts spring up everywhere** Atlanta restaurants are Brussels sprouts\-obsessed, with nearly every eatery offering a version of this oft\-maligned veggie. And the surprising part? Theyre actually good were talking crave\-worthy, memorable, complex dishes that just might turn even the most devout anti\-Brussels\-sprouts diner into a lover. Get your dose of greens at South Main Kitchen in downtown Alpharetta \(9 S. Main St., Alpharetta. 678\-691\-4622, **[southmainkitchen.com](http://southmainkitchen.com/)**\), which cooks up a mean bowl of Brussels mixed with tangy feta, bacon, ginger and blood orange vinaigrette. At [**Ba Bellies in Peachtree Corners**](http://www.myajc.com/entertainment/dining/review\-bellies\-restaurant\-that\-should\-make\-mother\-proud/pj0rU1tVzz3HDejuInPwgL/) \(6025 Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree Corners. 770\-710\-0565, **[babellies.com](https://babellies.com/)**\), the Crispy Tiger Sprouts are prepared with lime, fish sauce, basil, mint and Thai chile for a bold, bright and crunchy concoction. Over in west Midtown and Virginia\-Highland, Yeah Burgers \(1168 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta. 404\-496\-4393, and 1017 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta. 404\-437\-7845, **[yeahburger.com](http://yeahburger.com/)**\) crispy Brussels sprouts topped with local goat cheese will tempt you to skip the usual fries. And at Indigo in the downtown Crabapple area of Milton \(12635 Crabapple Road, Milton. 770\-674\-7671, **[Facebook: Indigo Restaurant, Crabapple](https://www.facebook.com/ChefToddHoganIndigo)**\), Brussels sprouts get a flavorful kick thanks to pancetta and pecorino Reggiano cheese with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Its never been easier to eat your veggies. JESSIE DOWD

**Dressed\-up dogs** Hot dogs! Get your hot dogs here! Were not talking withered franks stewing in hot dog water. Were talking all\-natural, locally made wieners topped with everything from kimchi to curry and wrapped in a freshly baked bun. Doggy Doggs James Hammerl is the Doggfather of Atlantas high\-end hot dog scene with his Spotted Trotter franks topped with kimchi and pork belly bits. Catch the Dogg Haus daily at Joystick Gamebar \(427 Edgewood Ave. S.E., Atlanta. [**heydoggydogg.com**](http://www.heydoggydogg.com/)\). **[Hot dogs with a heart are the aim of the Mercurys Helpful Hot Dog at the Shed at Ponce City Market](http://atlantarestaurants.blog.ajc.com/2017/02/17/your\-favorite\-atlanta\-chefs\-are\-cooking\-hot\-dogs\-on\-the\-beltline\-for\-a\-good\-cause/)** \(675 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.W., Atlanta. **[Facebook: The Helpful Hot Dog](https://www.facebook.com/helpfulhotdogs/)**\), where, each Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., Atlanta chefs cook up specialty franks off the Beltline, with proceeds benefiting a charity. Defend the late\-night snack at We Suki Sukis Midnight Marauder \(477 Flat Shoals Ave., Atlanta. 678\-765\-9797, **[themidnightmarauder.com](http://www.themidnightmarauder.com/)**\) by grabbing a hot dog topped with beer mustard and pickled green tomatoes or collards and shredded pork. Its open from midnight to 4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Artisanal hot dogs and baseball appear to be the \(New\) American way. [**Chef Hugh Achesons First & Third Hot Dog and Sausage Shack**](http://atlantarestaurants.blog.ajc.com/2017/03/02/cigar\-bar\-hot\-dog\-shack\-among\-new\-concepts\-at\-the\-battery\-at\-suntrust\-park/) \(755 Battery Ave. S.E., Atlanta\) at [**the Braves new home at SunTrust Park**](http://www.myajc.com/entertainment/dining/the\-best\-food\-suntrust\-park/HAQrW3wYVO9XEj3v6FvqiM/) will be slinging local franks topped with chow chow, radish\-serrano salad and more fancy accompaniments. Hot dogs are so, well, hot that even the burger folks are getting in on the action. Farm Burger, with locations in Buckhead, Dunwoody and Decatur, just introduced beef dogs to its menu. Get it topped with either classic pickle relish or go for the deluxe treatment of pimento cheese, chili and jalapenos \(**[farmburger.net](http://www.farmburger.net/)**\). BETH MCKIBBEN

**Shaken, not stirred** Whether you prefer your martini with gin or vodka, with a twist or dirty with two olives, this highly personal classic cocktail is popping up on menus all over town. Hightail it to 8Arm \(710 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 470\-875\-5856, **[8armatl.com](http://www.8armatl.com/)**\) for the 1908 classic Gibson of gin and dry vermouth garnished with a pickled onion. [**Sip an old\-school, ice cold glass of gin with a twist while people\-watching at the Colonnade bar**](http://www.myajc.com/entertainment/dining/how\-your\-martini\-turns\-out\-says\-lot\-about\-night\-the\-colonnade/BVzMw7MGJlETEFhWh8CgdO/) \(1879 Cheshire Bridge Road N.E., Atlanta. 404\-874\-5642, **[colonnadeatlanta.com](http://colonnadeatlanta.com/)**\). Variety is the spice of life with two refreshing vodka martini takes from **[newly opened Jai Ho Indian Kitchen & Bar](http://atlantarestaurants.blog.ajc.com/2017/02/08/savi\-provisions\-owner\-discusses\-new\-indian\-restaurant\-savi\-expansion/)** \(560 Dutch Valley Road N.E., Atlanta. 404\-458\-6888, **[jaihoatlanta.com](http://www.jaihoatlanta.com/)**\) containing watermelon and mint or pineapple and cilantro spice. Two Atlanta martinis made Town and Countrys Top 25 best: Kellie Thorns Betting on the Muse with vodka, vermouth, Cocchi Rosa and elderflower liqueur \(Empire State South, 999 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404\-541\-1105, **[empirestatesouth.com](http://www.empirestatesouth.com/)**\) and Greg Bests Undeniable Truth with gin, vermouth, orange bitters and a float of olive oil \(Ticonderoga Club, 99 Krog St. N.E., Atlanta. 404\-458\-4534, **[ticonderogaclub.com](https://www.ticonderogaclub.com/)**\). BETH MCKIBBEN

**Take the A Train** A isnt for apple anymore its for [**Ayurvedic, the ancient wisdom of balance for health from the Indian subcontinent thats beginning to show up on restaurant menus in the form of spices and ingredients designed for healthy eating**](http://www.myajc.com/lifestyles/food\-\-cooking/ayurvedic\-herbs\-can\-spice\-things\-for\-valentine\-fun/rIShpZJNZfm8aG6MfrEYUO/). Atlanta will be among one of the first cities in the country to be home to an entirely Ayurvedic concept when Sama \(56 E. Andrews Drive, Atlanta. **[samafoodforbalance.com](http://www.samafoodforbalance.com/)**\) opens in late spring. This, on the heels \(or vegetable peels?\) of New Yorks East Village opening this past fall of Divyas Kitchen. And if youre thinking health food, free your mind: [**Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sama \(which means equal, or balance in Sanskrit\) will offer diners the option to build their own custom bowls with a grain or vegetable base, a protein, two seasonal sides and signature superfood sauces and toppings, or choose from prepared Balance Bowls off a menu that offers ingredients pure enough for the Dalai Lama**](http://atlantarestaurants.blog.ajc.com/2017/01/09/sama\-food\-for\-balance\-coming\-to\-buckhead\-in\-early\-2017/): non\-GMO, organic and locally grown, with vegan, non\-dairy, paleo and gluten\-free options. Behind all this culinary creativity is entrepreneur, yoga teacher and Maharishi Ayurvedic wellness consultant Shannon Salter Sliger, who forayed into Atlantas clean eating scene with DTox Juice in 2011, which she sold in 2016. The healthful happenings also include cold\-pressed cocktails, smoothie bowls, an espresso bar, a 500\-square\-foot meditation studio and a shop offering nontoxic, consciously curated products for the home and body. MERIDITH FORD

**Bubbly over bubbles** Weve seen the rise of bold bubbles like prosecco and cava, but the effervescent category goes beyond these two familiars. Consider ptillants and pt\-nats, who take their cue from the king of sparkling wine: Champagne. Ptillant and Loire might become your two favorite French words. This dry, lightly sparkling style is low on alcohol and is perfect for patio drinking. **[Bread and Butterfly](http://www.myajc.com/entertainment/dining/casual\-parisian\-charm\-atlanta\-bread\-butterfly/WjzKVXXIbx3cUUwQ9GwEuJ/)** \(290 Elizabeth St. N.E., Atlanta. 678\-515\-4536, **[bread\-and\-butterfly.com](http://www.bread\-and\-butterfly.com/)**\) lists a Louis de Grenelle chenin blanc ptillant from Frances Loire Valley by the glass. Grab the gang and a bottle of Vouvray Brut, Domaine de Vodanis ptillant for bocce and bubbles at Empire State South \(999 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404\-541\-1105, **[empirestatesouth.com](http://www.empirestatesouth.com/)**\), [**a 2017 James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Program**](http://atlantarestaurants.blog.ajc.com/2017/02/15/atlanta\-restaurants\-chefs\-among\-james\-beard\-award\-2017\-semifinalists/). Head to the south of France and Limoux \(possibly the birthplace of bubbles\) at Kimball House \(303 E. Howard Ave., Decatur. 404\-378\-3502, **[kimball\-house.com](http://www.kimball\-house.com/)**\), which offers Chteau Beausoleil, Blanquette, Crmant de Limoux by the glass or bottle. Pro tip: When you spot pt\-nat or ptillant naturel on a menu order it. Naturally sparkling and low in alcohol, these wines are dry with light but tight bubbles. BETH MCKIBBEN

Photos: Best new restaurants in Atlanta