City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Your Food & More wishlist for 2013

AJC Dining Team member Jon Watson writes about popular eats.

AJC Dining Team member Jon Watson writes about popular eats.

It is still January, so I can get away with just one more “It’s the new year” post right? Don’t worry. This one is for the people.

For the last 30 days or so, every food writer in the country has waxed poetic about their top food moments of 2012, predicted upcoming trends for 2013 (Mobile food carts selling ring pops made of bacon-cheeseburger-cupcake!) and we’ve lamented the trends that we can’t wait to see fade into obscurity.

And there is nothing wrong with that, a new year is the obvious time to reflect and to look ahead. Last week I asked you for your favorite dishes, and the Food & More community didn’t disappoint, calling out quite a few serious contenders that deserved consideration, as well as a few that made it onto my “to-eat” list.

I’m already past the two year mark here at the AJC, and I still see many of the same familiar commenters (and IP addresses) from when I first started contributing here. So, first, thanks to those who keep coming back to gather around our little soapbox, your loyalty is noticed and appreciated, and a major contributing factor to my continued employment. But, now I’m going to ask a possibly masochistic question, so I request that you please keep the discourse civil and constructive so I don’t have to spend my entire afternoon moderating.

What would you like to see more of in 2013 here on the blog? Would you like to see more coverage of the nightlife scene? Maybe more spotlights on the personalities in the kitchens of Atlanta, or more round-up, “best of” lists? Perhaps more recipes or cooking-at-home posts? Would you like for me to chronicle my foray into competitive eating that I’ve always fantasized about trying?

What is on your Food & More wish list for 2013?

*Note – Let’s try to keep things positive…I’d like to know what you want to hear more about, not what you wish I’d stop doing. For example, feel free to skip the “I wish for more spell checking in 2013!” suggestions.

*Disclaimer – I still reserve the right to completely ignore your suggestions and write about what interests me anyway, as I’m the type of person that tells jokes that only I find funny, but most of you know that by now. I will however, read them, respond when needed, and give them consideration. Or not, if your response is akin to “I want to read more about which vending machine snack foods are the best!”

*P.S. Love y’all.

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

34 comments Add your comment


January 25th, 2013
7:10 am

This will shock you; but, I’d like to see more restaurant reviews of places outside the perimeter. I know there have been some. I would just like to see more. Some of us rarely venture into town.


January 25th, 2013
8:07 am

More coverage of spirits and places for decent cocktails.


January 25th, 2013
8:18 am

I would be interested in more personal stories about the chefs (how they got to their current position, what is motivating them to create new dishes now, their favorite other places to eat (maybe in NYC or other places instead of Atlanta so they can avoid buddy issues), and also more stories on up and coming chefs that everyone in the food community thinks are really talented (maybe more like a series on the “best #2 people in the kitchen”….


January 25th, 2013
9:20 am

Jon, I would appreciate moe attention being paid to the vegetarians. It seems that many posters resent comments from the no meat eaters, but believe it or not there are many of us. Perhaps once a month or so you could write about a restayrant that, while not catering to vegetarians, at least offers something quite tasty.

Bob from Accounttemps

January 25th, 2013
9:25 am

I’d lke to see more consistency on the ratings. You gave 3 stars to Hammocks Trading Company and on that review went to visit. It’s fine, but no way comparable to other 3 star-rated restaurants on the blog (based particularly on a Kessler review). It was 2 stars at best. Reasonable people can differ, but let’s be honest – it’s more Joe’s Crab Shack than Atlanta Fish Company. Please re-vamp the ratings and agree among the reviewers how to keep them consitently applied. You lack credibility otherwise.


January 25th, 2013
9:36 am

I am a vegetarian as well. I dig learning about places, old or new, that are doing something outside of the pasta box.

I miss seeing the recipes from restaurants. I think it would be fun to get some here and there and convert them to home cook quantity.

I dig the reviews. I would like to see more hole in the wall places that are a doing someing cool. Handcook anyone??

A meet up would be awesome.

I could do without the TV show recaps. Send it over to Rodney Ho’s blog.

p.s. I love you, too.


January 25th, 2013
9:53 am

I agree with more Chef profiles. Also, some neighborhood profiles. “A day in Inman Park” for example. Profile some of the best places to eat in certain categories(fine dining, cheap eats, pub food, ethnic etc etc) in the unique neighborhoods in Atlanta.


January 25th, 2013
10:38 am

Would like to see more OTP columns. I’m OTP and never venture in town. I know OTP is considered “chain hell”, but we do have some good eats out here that aren’t chains. I keep seeing the same ITP restaurants (Holeman and Finch, etc.) but not much out here. I know we have it.


January 25th, 2013
11:38 am

I will take this time to offer suggestions to the whole team. I have followed the blog for a long time and it is definitely less interesting these days than in the past. IMHO What you guys can do:

-More revisits. With all the Chef shuffling, places can really change, for the better or worse. Abattoir was a completely different spot under Hopkins>Williams>Now? Same with Bocado. Same with Woodfire I will guess. This totally goes for smaller joints too. Possibly more so.

-More roundups. I find them totally helpful Best Shawarma? Gyro? NYSlice? Bar Plates?

-More on cocktails. I am really tired of ordering what sounds like an awesome cocktail and getting what amounts to an interesting juice or soda on ice. Who is pouring weak? Strong? Best prices?

-Hidden gems

-More on the ethnic beat

Jason E

January 25th, 2013
11:57 am

How about a few co-reviews with Bob T or Gill (AJC beer and wine writers) of gastropubs or winebars with good food so to get a feel of how culinary and libations mix

Elwood Blues

January 25th, 2013
12:49 pm

Pick an area of town and review what’s there that’s good. I end up all over town, and to be able to pull up suggestions for where I will be that day, would be wonderful. Love cheap eats lists, too (it’s the Clark Howard in me). I enjoy your at home cooking columns; may not want what you eat, but does make me think.

FM Fats

January 25th, 2013
1:39 pm

A guide to restaurants that serve libations in mason jars.


January 25th, 2013
2:43 pm

Diner, Drivers, and Dives is popular for more than just Guy Fieri. I would like to hear more about these little diamonds in the rough that have great food without the high price of the celebrity chef, ambiance or because it’s in buckhead. Whenever I travel I always ask for recommendations on the place that would surprise me because the great or unique approach on food (or dish) without paying a fortune.


January 25th, 2013
4:29 pm

Can’t get out to areas of interest (live far far away) but I love the reviews, detailed descriptions and cook at home recipes. You’re doing a great job! We love the little mom and pop operations best and try to support them. Food service industry has GOT to be among the hardest was to make a living, bless ‘m all !


January 25th, 2013
5:52 pm

Fully agree that more OTP reviews are needed. Sometimes it seems that restaurants like Bacchanalia, Holeman and Finch, Abattoir, (you get my drift) are sponsors of the column. There are great OTP restaurants which deserve attention, and such coverage would create more competition between restaurants to reach a higher level. Thanks for a great job.


January 25th, 2013
6:12 pm

Add my vote to the vegetarian options. I also would like to read about your foray into eating competitions.


January 25th, 2013
7:05 pm

Another request for more OTP and vegetarian. Any chance to combine them would be particularly awesome. Just mentions of veg options in regular reviews would be appreciated. I went out to eat with friends from my (OTP) neighborhood a few weeks ago, and 5 out of 6 of us ordered vegetarian.

Agree it would be helpful to see “best of” lists grouped by area and type, like top 5 cheap eats in Decatur.

And reading some play-by-play of home cooking experiments might be fun. Or places to buy unusual ingredients. I like ideas that spark things I can try myself.


January 26th, 2013
12:52 am

First, I enjoy the general direction of the food section, keeping us up to date with what’s going on in the restaurant scene here in Atlanta. I particularly like the reviews of new establishments, particularly when they tip me to outstanding opportunities for dining. An example was the review of Heirloom BBQ which is literally OTP ( On the Perimeter) which clued me in to the best BBQ in Atlanta. But, I enjoy the human interest side of the chefs, their origins, and passions for they way they cook. I would like more of that in terms of number of stories that focus on some of the amazing chefs we have here. The food section is my favorite part of the paper and I appreciate the hard work all you folks do. Keep it up.

January 26th, 2013
1:34 am

I would love to see a noise level rating similar to SFGate (San Francisco) restaurant reviews.


January 26th, 2013
2:44 am

I, too, would like to read about vegetarian options in your reviews. I’m not expecting reviews of vegetarian restaurants. I want to know where I can get a good vegetarian meal in a regular restaurant. Also, more OTP would be great.


January 26th, 2013
9:29 am

I would like to read some cooking tips fom the experts. What they think turns a good dish a great dish.
Like others, print the ‘best of’ recipes from restuarnts.
The Veggies have spoken give them their due!


January 26th, 2013
11:29 am

Though I do enjoy some meats occasionally, I’d also like to know of some interesting vegetarian finds. I second a request for notes on noise levels.


January 26th, 2013
2:32 pm

I’d like to see more restaurant reviews in general. I’d also like to see more reviews of certain food items and how they vary from restaurant to restaurant. I’d also like to see a more regional or statewide approach. One of JK’s most memorable pieces a few years ago was his tour of Alabama “foodspots”. Lastly, I’d like to see Restaurant Inspections moved to an entirely different blog; it’s newsworthy information in need of a different home.


January 26th, 2013
3:13 pm

Another vote for veg options. I know the really good chefs in town can do vegan and vegetarian when asked, and some have it on the menu (Wrecking Bar has a veg night). I’d love to know who can do veg, and do it well, and maybe the occasional foray to Cafe Sunflower, or Soul Vegetarian Cafe, just to give them some publicity, and expose folks to alternatives to meat and three.

Richard Bagge

January 27th, 2013
1:38 pm

I’d like to see more OTP coverage as well, particularly the Duluth area, where lots more ethnic restaurants are thriving without much attention from your writers. I’d also like for you to update your blogroll, because some of those are very out of date and never update anymore, or have moved to other cities. I’d also like to see the Top Chef TV recaps retired.


January 27th, 2013
1:44 pm

1. A big NO to competitive eating coverage.
2. Yes to food sources like farmers’ markets, specialized butcher shops, delicatessens, bakeries, etc.
3. Yes to restaurants to utterly avoid!
4. Yes to coverage of restaurants WAAAAAAY outside the perimeter. How about Savannah, Toccoa, Hiawassee, Valdosta, etc.? Many of us travel to visit our own state!
5. Open discussions of why there are no (fill-in-the-blank) restaurants around. For example, every German restaurant I’ve seen open in the area closes after a while.

[...] Your Food & More wishlist for 2013 [...]


January 27th, 2013
4:34 pm

Definitely in need of more OTP coverage since a large number of your readers live in those areas and have already tried Holeman & Finch, Bacchanalia, etc. I agree the “best of _______” whether it’s Sandy Springs, Decatur, whatever would be great. Go further out-eat at some of the terrific restaurants in Athens not called Five & Ten.

Coverage of ethnic grocery spots would be helpful as well.

You and your team are doing a great job-thanks for leading me to wonderful meals at places like Heirloom BBQ, Hammock’s, etc.


January 28th, 2013
9:49 am

I’d like to see more coverage of cocktails and spirits. Atlanta has a robust cocktail culture, and I think your readers might enjoy highlighting particular cocktails or the bars that make them. I have also particularly enjoyed some of your posts on whiskey, and I’d like to see that become a regular feature.


January 28th, 2013
9:50 am

N-GA – you really think they would publish restaurants to avoid in this blog? I think I would stop reading if they did that. It would kill any restaurant around here that might have kinks to work out, maybe had a short staff that day, or didn’t get a shipment that week, or whatever.


January 28th, 2013
10:54 am

More late night eats places (serving after midnight); neighborhood highlights (best places to eat/drink in the Highlands, Midtown, Grant Park, etc.); best places to try something different… I live in town so I definitely like to know where to eat before/after a show at the Fox, The 5 Spot, etc., other fun places in town.


January 28th, 2013
1:19 pm

Another vote for creative vegetarian options, but not necessarily vegetarian restaurants as I eat with carnivores. Would love to hear about authentic Chinese, Japanese, Thai & Indian restaurants ITP, to avoid a drive up Buford Hwy, or to Norcross. I enjoy Miso Izakaya, and miss Pura Vida, so there must be other great places ITP too.

Mar -Atl Foodie

January 29th, 2013
2:16 pm

!) Vegetarian dishes at places serving meats. 2) More OTP restaurants, especially the holes in the wall off the beaten path. 3) tired of hearing about Top Chefs or all of the chef shuffling. 4) Late night options, because some have reduced their hours. I like hearing all of the opinions and ideas for eating out.


January 31st, 2013
10:01 am

I’d like to see more recipes. I know Jenny and JK often post their recipes but I’d like to see even more.

BTW, they already post the places to avoid on their restaurant inspection failure posts.

Love the column overall.