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Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

Poets Critics Dolls Main Large





2017 Index of Winners

Best mural

I Miss Buckhead by Chris Veal

Best gallery

Whitespace Gallery

Best art exhibition

Andy Warhol: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation High Museum of Art

Best stand-up comedian

Mia Jackson
Not many comedians can say they’ve performed at Philips Arena, but to be fair, there aren’t many comedians like MIA JACKSON. The calm, cool and collected stand-up exudes likability on stage, spreading her hilarious wisdom on life, dating and the dangers of stepping on someone’s biscuit. The versatilemore...

Not many comedians can say they’ve performed at Philips Arena, but to be fair, there aren’t many comedians like MIA JACKSON. The calm, cool and collected stand-up exudes likability on stage, spreading her hilarious wisdom on life, dating and the dangers of stepping on someone’s biscuit. The versatile comic has become a favorite of Amy Schumer, but Jackson’s been a favorite of ours for way longer. She makes this nerve-racking craft look easy on stage at a bar, a club, a college, a theater, or on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” (where she was a semi-finalist in 2015). This summer, the bona fide Georgia peach was named a New Face of Comedy at the biggest industry festival, Just For Laughs Montreal. Consequently, it’s only a matter of time until everyone else knows what savvy Atlantans have know for years. www.miajackson.com.

photo by: Ransom Rockwood

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Best comedy night/show/late-night marathon

Monday Night Comedy at Star Bar
There’s no place in the world where Monday’s met with excitement — nowhere but Little Five Points. MONDAY NIGHT COMEDY AT STAR BAR, the longest-running comedy show in the A, has been stuffing the smoke-tinged rock venue with the city’s funniest comedians, the up-and-comers, and the doe-eyed first-timersmore...
There’s no place in the world where Monday’s met with excitement — nowhere but Little Five Points. MONDAY NIGHT COMEDY AT STAR BAR, the longest-running comedy show in the A, has been stuffing the smoke-tinged rock venue with the city’s funniest comedians, the up-and-comers, and the doe-eyed first-timers to a passionate crowd for more than a decade. It’s where many dipped their toes in the water for the first time and it’s where they later recorded their first albums. Rodney Leete has been MCing this free weekday marathon of who’s who in not just our local comedy scene but the whole country, as the show has become a favorite drop-in destination for famous funny people like Hannibal Buress, Rory Scovel, Vanessa Bayer and more. 437 Moreland Ave. N.E. 404-500-4942. www.rotkneepresents.com. less...

Best Instagrammer

Tiny Doors ATL
It’s amazing how small artwork can make such a big impact. Of course, we’re talking about the folks at TINY DOORS ATL. The much-loved group behind miniature art installations all over town is dedicated to inspiring “curiosity and exploration” — and its corresponding Instagram page, with moremore...
It’s amazing how small artwork can make such a big impact. Of course, we’re talking about the folks at TINY DOORS ATL. The much-loved group behind miniature art installations all over town is dedicated to inspiring “curiosity and exploration” — and its corresponding Instagram page, with more than 30,000 followers, plays a big role in spreading this message. Just about every day on the ’gram, the organization posts images of the tiny picnic baskets, tiny books, tiny bricks and, you guessed it, tiny house projects it constructs. It’s not high art, but it sure does make people happy. And that’s cool. www.instagram.com/tinydoorsatl. less...

Best karaoke

10 High at Dark Horse Tavern

Best music festival

Shaky Knees Music Festival

Best door person

Scott Schweitzer

Best artist to humanize the struggle

Donald Glover
Whether you preferred his work as DONALD GLOVER or Childish Gambino, no one put on for Atlanta quite like the 33-year-old Stone Mountain native. As writer, producer and actor Donald Glover won Golden Globes for his contributions to the runaway FX hit show "Atlanta." While accepting one of the two awardsmore...
Whether you preferred his work as DONALD GLOVER or Childish Gambino, no one put on for Atlanta quite like the 33-year-old Stone Mountain native. As writer, producer and actor Donald Glover won Golden Globes for his contributions to the runaway FX hit show "Atlanta." While accepting one of the two awards on the night „ Glover himself won the category of Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy, while the show itself took home the honor of Best TV Series Musical or Comedy „ he was also able to serve as Migos promo man of the year while springing what was already the biggest Atlanta hit in recent memory to an even broader audience. For most, that would be enough, but let's not forget he also released what many consider his best Childish Gambino project with Awaken, My Love! Glover had a massive year by any standard, and he made sure that as his star rose, his city followed. www.facebook.com/donaldglover. less...

Best songwriter

Faye Webster
FAYE WEBSTER possesses the kind of singular musical talent that comes along only so often in life. A songwriter with a capital "S," Webster knows the power of crafting lyrics from just a few words that are benign at a glance, but every subtle nuance lingers in the subconscious mind long after the songmore...
FAYE WEBSTER possesses the kind of singular musical talent that comes along only so often in life. A songwriter with a capital "S," Webster knows the power of crafting lyrics from just a few words that are benign at a glance, but every subtle nuance lingers in the subconscious mind long after the song is over „ each word meaning something different to anyone within earshot. For proof, look no further than songs such as "She Won't Go Away," "Say It Now" and "It Doesn't Work Like That" from her self-titled sophomore album, released this year via Awful Records. And while an underground hip-hop label seems an unlikely home for Webster's laid-back country and folk numbers, placing her sound palette and her swelling heart croon „ a discomfiting mix of secret seduction and rye humor „ alongside such left field hip-hop acts as Ethereal and Lord Narf only places her poetic allusions to politics, both personal and social, in a modern context. Webster breaks the mold of singer-songwriter tropes by paying respect to her craft while boldly reaching beyond the social and musical trappings of her natural musical genre's history and constructs. www.fayewebster.com. less...

Best gangster and a gentleman award

21 Savage
The 21 SAVAGE glo-up is real. In 2015, 21 was rapping gritty bio-tales about whipping work in Givenchy threads. Fast-forward to 2017 and he's laid up on a private jet with Amber Rose in matching Space Jam hoodies. Hey, even Slaughter Gang has to have a soft spot, right? Not only did the East Atlantamore...
The 21 SAVAGE glo-up is real. In 2015, 21 was rapping gritty bio-tales about whipping work in Givenchy threads. Fast-forward to 2017 and he's laid up on a private jet with Amber Rose in matching Space Jam hoodies. Hey, even Slaughter Gang has to have a soft spot, right? Not only did the East Atlanta native let back the curtain on his personal life, but with his debut album, ISSA, he revealed a social awareness many early critics assumed didn't exist. On "Nothin New," a stand-out from the project, he provides an expert's take on the crippling anxieties affecting communities like his across the United States, providing a rather nuanced thought from an artist whom too often is written off as shallow. www.21savage.com. less...

Best record label

DKA Records
Since its conception and growth out of the seasonal Sisters of Turkey Goth Danse Parties, DKA RECORDS has used its platform as a home for music to suit those who feel ostracized and who dwell in the shadows „ those who grow tired of stand-around rock shows, but who are also weary of mainstream musicalmore...
Since its conception and growth out of the seasonal Sisters of Turkey Goth Danse Parties, DKA RECORDS has used its platform as a home for music to suit those who feel ostracized and who dwell in the shadows „ those who grow tired of stand-around rock shows, but who are also weary of mainstream musical gatherings with no fog machine clouds in which to dance away their woes. Founded in 2013 by friends and DJs Chris Daresta (Anticipation), James Andrew Ford (Tifaret) and Matt Weiner (TWINS), DKA has released artists from around the world, from Northampton, Massachusetts' cold wave duo Boy Harsher to Brisbane, Australia's EBM innovator Multiple Man. The label's most recent addition, Berlin-based Sally Dige, puts a fine point on the group's modern take on goth and industrial-flavored synth pop. Dige's Holding On LP comes on the heels of the label finalizing a deal with Omnian Music Group for distribution. This gives Daresta, Ford and Weiner more time to focus on their own music and further expansion as they curate more sounds within the tiers of goth, dark electronic, industrial, electro-post-punk and EBM. www.dkarecords.bandcamp.com. less...

Best listening room for the sophisticated rocker

The Vista Room
Step inside THE VISTA ROOM and it's as though the air changes shape. The wood on the walls, the tables, the stage and the building itself feel as though they've been expertly crafted to serve the impeccable sound system. Standing adjacent to Napoleon's Grill, a gastro pub in Decatur's Oak Grove neighborhood,more...
Step inside THE VISTA ROOM and it's as though the air changes shape. The wood on the walls, the tables, the stage and the building itself feel as though they've been expertly crafted to serve the impeccable sound system. Standing adjacent to Napoleon's Grill, a gastro pub in Decatur's Oak Grove neighborhood, the Vista Room has hosted performances by everyone from Col. Bruce Hampton and the Swimming Pool Q's to Glenn Phillips, the reunited Hydra and Drivin' N Cryin', just to name a few. There's plenty of prog rock, bluegrass, country, folk and straight up rock 'n' roll occupying the stage throughout the week. The underlying theme tying it all together is called experience. The room is the fruit of Sean Keenan and Mike Rizzi's labors. Keenan is a restaurant entrepreneur, and drummer Rizzi (Five Eight) is a long-standing Georgia music veteran who's played in just about every musical environment one can imagine. With the Vista Room they've channeled the highs and lows of life on the road and an unending devotion to music into a comfortable and perfectly calibrated listening room that's all about bolstering the music, for the artists and for the audience. 2836 LaVista Road, Decatur. 404-321-5000. www.thevistaroom.com. less...

Best chef

Rafih Benjelloun

Best bakery

Proof Bakeshop Proof Bakeshop

Best seafood

The Optimist The Optimist

Best Thai

L'Thai West Organic Cuisine & Wine Bar

Best tacos

Taqueria del Sol Taqueria Del Sol

Best sandwiches

Victory Sandwich Bar Victory Sandwich Bar

Best new chef

Parnass Savang
At only 27 years old, Lawrenceville-raised chef PARNASS SAVANG boasts an impressive resume: early years spent in his father’s Thai-American restaurant, Danthai; a diploma from the Culinary Institute of America; stages at some of the world’s best Thai restaurants; and cooking experience at Empiremore...

At only 27 years old, Lawrenceville-raised chef PARNASS SAVANG boasts an impressive resume: early years spent in his father’s Thai-American restaurant, Danthai; a diploma from the Culinary Institute of America; stages at some of the world’s best Thai restaurants; and cooking experience at Empire State South, Staplehouse and Kimball House. But now, with pop-up restaurant Talat Market, Savang has created something entirely his own: the first-ever “Georgian Thai” dining concept. Every weekend night since May, inside the tiny open kitchen of Candler Park’s Gato Bizco Café, Savang and sous chef Rod Lassiter have been churning out intricate dishes that blend traditional Thai techniques with Georgia-grown, seasonally driven ingredients. Here, you might find a classic spicy Thai salad packed with local peaches or a yellow crab curry with sweet potato greens. Savang has brought a whole new level to Thai food in our city, and Talat Market manages to stand out in a culinary landscape crowded with fantastic pop-ups. Rumor has it a brick-and-mortar version is coming soon, and we’re more than a little excited. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 6-10 p.m. Gato Bizco Café, 1660 McLendon Ave. N.E. www.instagram.com/talat_marketatl.

photo by: Eric Cash

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Best restaurant reinvention

Bacchanalia Bacchanalia
When California-trained chef duo Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison opened BACCHANALIA inside a repurposed Piedmont Road cottage back in 1993, they became one of the very first restaurants in Atlanta to embody the concept of farm-to-table. By 1999, they’d expanded to a former meatpacking plant onmore...

When California-trained chef duo Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison opened BACCHANALIA inside a repurposed Piedmont Road cottage back in 1993, they became one of the very first restaurants in Atlanta to embody the concept of farm-to-table. By 1999, they’d expanded to a former meatpacking plant on the Westside, where they solidified their reputation as Atlanta’s fine dining standard-bearer. Quatrano won a Best Chef: Southeast award from the James Beard Foundation in 2003 for her dedicated use of hyperlocally sourced ingredients, masterful techniques and gorgeous plating. Then, last year, the couple announced they’d be moving once again — this time to a purpose-built monolith of glass and wood designed in collaboration between the proprietors and design firm Perkins+Will. The new space opened this spring, complete with an attached gourmet market, Star Provisions and onsite herb garden. Today, newly appointed executive chef Jonathan Kallini keeps Bacchanalia’s prix fixe menu as strong as ever, and still just as dedicated to local sourcing: Much of the produce comes directly from Quatrano’s own Summerland Farm in Cartersville. Nearly two decades after it opened, amid an entirely new and entirely more crowded culinary landscape, Bacchanalia remains both relevant and fresh. 1460 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd. N.W. 404-365-0410. www.starprovisions.com/bacchanalia.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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Best barbecue

B's Cracklin' BBQ
Originally based in Savannah, B’S CRACKLIN’ BBQ pitmaster Bryan Furman came to the A and sweet-talked us with his no-frills culinary ode to Georgia: mustard-based and vinegar barbecue sauces made with peaches. Then we tasted the heritage breed whole hogs he smokes over oak and cherry wood. Furthermore...
Originally based in Savannah, B’S CRACKLIN’ BBQ pitmaster Bryan Furman came to the A and sweet-talked us with his no-frills culinary ode to Georgia: mustard-based and vinegar barbecue sauces made with peaches. Then we tasted the heritage breed whole hogs he smokes over oak and cherry wood. Further swooning. His dry-rubbed brisket has that red badge-of-honor smoke ring interior and dark, flavorful bark, and he leaves it to guests to sauce the expertly smoked chicken, slabs of ribs and chopped pork. Even more poetic is his hash over rice: no-waste meat gravy made from uber-fatty hog’s heads sent through a sausage grinder with smoked shoulder and burnt ends. Made-from-scratch sides are just as soulful, and hoecake-style cornbread sops up any leftover bits. Just make sure to save room for the banana pudding. 2061 Main St. N.W. 678-949-9912. www.bscracklinbbq.com. less...

Best ’hood for vegans

West End
As the Beltline’s Westside Trail opens and the developers descend upon Atlanta’s WEST END, many longtime residents feel wary, and rightfully so. The historically Afrocentric enclave has long been a nucleus for education, spirituality and culture, welcoming an array of religious groups and arts andmore...

As the Beltline’s Westside Trail opens and the developers descend upon Atlanta’s WEST END, many longtime residents feel wary, and rightfully so. The historically Afrocentric enclave has long been a nucleus for education, spirituality and culture, welcoming an array of religious groups and arts and wellness communities since the late 1960s. New development inevitably begets gentrification, and the community has a lot to lose. In the early ’90s, the West End became home to Soul Vegetarian, a vegan soul food cafeteria led by the local chapter of the Hebrew Israelite Community of Jerusalem. The restaurant became a catalyst for newer plant-based concepts, and today the neighborhood boasts half a dozen meat-free eateries within walking distance of each other, including Tassili’s Raw Reality for raw yet hearty wraps, Healthful Essence for Caribbean classics and KarbonStar Vitality for house-made soups and vegan pizzas called “Sizzlas,” and more.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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Best casual steakhouse

The Federal The Federal
The steakhouse genre too often comes in the form of overly stuffy bastions of masculine excess. THE FEDERAL does no such thing. It’s tempting to call Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere’s new Midtown spot a simple bistro, but the steak offerings at the heart of the menu stretch the definition. From hand-cutmore...
The steakhouse genre too often comes in the form of overly stuffy bastions of masculine excess. THE FEDERAL does no such thing. It’s tempting to call Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere’s new Midtown spot a simple bistro, but the steak offerings at the heart of the menu stretch the definition. From hand-cut Iowa filets ordered by the ounce to massive yet attractively priced porterhouses, the Federal tempts with well-sourced cuts cooked simply in cast iron. Plus, there’s the option of expertly prepared sauces like au poivre, béarnaise and chasseur on the side. A three-course steak frites prix fixe for $30 offers the best bargain on the menu, available from 5-7 p.m. at the bar, Monday through Fridays only. 1050 Crescent Ave. N.E. 404-343-3857. www.thefederalatl.com. less...

Best dessert revolution

Sweet, Sweet Syria
Last year, after fleeing war-torn Syria, Ruwaida, Khaled and their two young children came to Atlanta through local refugee resettlement nonprofit New American Pathways. As they struggled to acclimate to their new surroundings, they found community in a new neighbor, Amanda Avutu, who wrote a Modernmore...
Last year, after fleeing war-torn Syria, Ruwaida, Khaled and their two young children came to Atlanta through local refugee resettlement nonprofit New American Pathways. As they struggled to acclimate to their new surroundings, they found community in a new neighbor, Amanda Avutu, who wrote a Modern Love essay for the New York Times about the tight bond that eventually developed between them. Over the past months, that bond has led to SWEET, SWEET SYRIA, a supper club and bakery. Already a skilled chef in her home country, Ruwaida now hosts pop-up dinners and sells traditional Syrian cookies based on her mother’s recipe. The company is working on setting up an e-commerce system on their website, but cookies are currently available by preordered pick-up at Decatur’s Kavarna on a weekly basis. Stay tuned to the Sweet, Sweet Syria website and Facebook page for updates and future pop-ups. www.sweetsweetsyria.com. less...

Best barbecue

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

Best local political figure

John Lewis
johnlewis.house.gov

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