Kick things off with the Big Grill Friday Night party, with some of the city's finest showing off their grilling chops, then sample your way through 80 of Atlanta's favorite eateries at the festival on Sunday.
Eighty restaurants. Three days. Countless opportunities to happily eat yourself into a glorious food coma. For eleven years, Taste of Atlanta has been exposing people to chefs and eateries across the city. Of course, for the folks behind TOA, a weekend chock-full of perusing the goods of dozens of restaurants is just the tip of the iceberg. For gourmands like yourself, Friday night is where it's at. That's when many of the city's best chefs will be showing their grilling chops for the Friday night opening party, the Big Grill – Grills Gone Wild, hosted by Ford Fry, wherein nearly 20 restaurants will be repped by whipping up their best, most unique grilled concoctions: JCT Kitchen, Pura Vida, Rathbun's, Proof & Provisions, 4th & Swift, and the rest of the city's finest (that perhaps you've been meaning to check out) will be behind the grill, celebrating not just TOA's kickoff but also the Atlanta restaurant world as a whole. Think of Livingston's Zeb Stevenson, who's planning on serving a spice-smoked lamb neck concoction, or Ecco's Craig Richards pulling out the stops with a paprika-smoked brisket with saffron-chamomile BBQ sauce. Not exactly your typical corndogs 'n funnel cakes festival eats, right? Happily, we've got your EXCLUSIVE hook-up to this most delicious happening.
With this year's roster of schmancy joints at the festival on Saturday and Sunday (like the Optimist and the Iberian Pig to classic local favorites like Crawfish Shack and Woody's Cheesesteaks), the sheer number of possibilities might have you foaming at the mouth in excitement, but take it from a TOA veteran: no need to exert yourself and overdo it in the first ten minutes. Take your ten taste coupons, take a lap, and then take confidence in knowing that whatever dishes you choose to nibble on, from Morelli's ice cream to Harry & Sons sushi, it's bound to be tasty.
Why do we love this fest? Simple: it gives you a chance to taste the works of restaurants you've never visited before. Who knows? Maybe you'll find your new home base for burgers/Mexican/deliciously high-fallutin' Italian (we're looking at you, No. 246). It's a smorgasbord of opportunities... and, yes, a feeding frenzy, in the best of ways. Man, Atlanta sure does taste good.