In fifth place was Lazy Betty in DeKalb County. Although Lazy Betty’s dining room is open, the restaurant has a special takeout menu that includes everything from Lazy Betty Biscuits to Dry Aged Duck. Earlier this year, Lazy Betty was a semifinalist for a James Beard Award in the national category of best new restaurant.
In fourth place was Kategna Ethiopian Cuisine in Brookhaven.
“First-time restaurant owner Nani Desta (no relationship with Desta Ethiopian Kitchen) recently made the gutsy move to debut Kategna in the middle of a pandemic. The food she is preparing is crazy good,” dining editor Ligaya Figueras wrote in July.
In third place was Gunshow in Atlanta.
“Kevin Gillespie is a perfectionist, and it shows in the ways he thoughtfully packages and labels each of the dishes (plus warm cookies) in his Picnic for 2,” Bob Townsend wrote for the AJC. “The Cornish game hen picnic was absolutely delicious, perfectly packaged to go, and plastic cutlery, napkins and Gunshow stickers sealed the deal.”
Our second place finisher was Porch Light Latin Kitchen in Smyrna.
“Chef-owner Andre Gomez offers reasonably priced, delicious Puerto Rican food that speaks to the heart as much as the tummy. There is care in every facet of this safety-minded, true-to-concept takeout operation,” Figueras wrote.
“Considering the size of his pared-down team and the limited availability of certain food items, Gomez has scaled down his dinner-only takeout menu to just five or six main dishes and three or four sides,” Figueras wrote. “Some menu items, like Gomez’s popular crispy pork plantain empanadas, beer can chicken, beans and rice, and sofrito mac and cheese, are staples.”
This year’s winner, with nearly a third of the votes, was Cafe Raik in Duluth.
“When I chomp into (Palestinian chef Faik Usman’s) so-called “shawafel” pita sandwich — a chicken shawarma and falafel hybrid, slathered with hummus, tahini and the chef’s own dill sauce, and studded with pickle, onion, tomato, lettuce, cucumber and red cabbage — I taste Israel,” Wendall Brock wrote for the AJC.
“Same thing happens when I spoon into his mejadara, lentils and cracked wheat, cooked with house-made yogurt and topped with fried onions and red cabbage: My brain registers Jerusalem, where last year I enjoyed an exemplary version of this homespun, Arabic comfort food,” Brock continued.