The bustling city of Atlanta can now proudly flaunt its Michelin-star restaurants as a new feather in its cap.
During a special ceremony held at the downtown Rialto Center for the Arts, five well-deserving Atlanta restaurants were awarded one Michelin star each.
These culinary gems are Atlas, Bacchanalia, Hayakawa, Lazy Betty, and Mujō, marking Michelin’s debut in the city.
One of the honored chefs expressed excitement about this recognition, saying, “It’s going to continue the momentum of what’s already been building here.”
Aaron Phillips, one of Lazy Betty’s executive chef/owners, is looking forward to fresh inspiration and talent joining the city’s culinary scene.
Following the ceremony, Phillips and his fellow executive chef/owner, Ron Hsu, emphasized the importance of their entire team in earning the award.
Michelin’s inspectors recognized their restaurant for its contemporary tasting menu with inventive flavor combinations that highlight local ingredients.
Michelin’s rating system awards restaurants one to three stars.
A one-star rating designates “high-quality cooking” that’s definitely “worth a visit.”
Atlanta now has room to aim for two more highly selective star ratings in the future.
Michelin commended the city’s “dynamic culinary landscape.”
The anonymous judges were impressed by the diverse offerings, which not only reflect the flavors of the South but also include international influences, according to Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of the Michelin Guides.
Apart from the Michelin stars, ten Atlanta restaurants received Michelin’s Bib Gourmand designation, celebrating good food at moderate prices.
Among them is Little Bear, whose chef, Jarrett Stieber, received the Michelin Young Chef Award.
In total, 45 Atlanta restaurants will be featured in the Michelin Guide, with 30 of them highly recommended.
Two notable Atlanta restaurants, Bacchanalia and The Chastain, were also recognized with Michelin’s newest designation, the Green Star, which highlights their commitment to sustainability.
Michelin’s restaurant rating methodology, developed over a century, focuses on five criteria: quality products, flavor harmony, cooking mastery, the chef’s personal touch on the cuisine, and consistency (with restaurants inspected several times a year).
Michelin collaborates with tourism boards, including the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, to promote the travel industry in the respective locations.
While this has sparked controversy in the past, Michelin emphasizes its selection process is entirely independent.
This year, Atlanta became the second city in the United States to debut a Michelin guide, following the announcement of Michelin-starred restaurants in Colorado in September.
Michelin originally introduced its guidebooks in France in 1900 as a resource for motorists.
In 2005, New York became the first North American Michelin destination.
Besides the new U.S. guides, Michelin also has guides for California, Chicago, Miami/Orlando/Tampa, Florida, and Washington, DC.
Additionally, in Canada, Toronto and Vancouver are Michelin destinations.