Atlanta’s culinary appeal can be characterized by its high-end, down-home cooking, says Kristin Delahunt, director of convention services for the Atlantic Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The city has gobbled up 60 James Beard semifinalist nominations in the past five years. This year checked off “Outstanding Baker,” “Best Chef Southeast” and “Outstanding Restaurateur” semifinalist accolades, while Steven Satterfield of the Miller Union restaurant won the top award for “Best Chef Southeast.” And this is just the tip of the iceberg for Atlanta F&B.
“As traditional as we are, we are also adventurous eaters,” Delahunt adds. I think this underscores the palpable pride that Southerners feel in their region, but also the curiosity and appreciation for a city that continues to evolve and become a popular destination for international groups and new residents.”
Here are five of Atlanta’s best high-end and down-home F&B experiences for groups:
Friendly Food Festivals
Both tradition and adventure come into focus during 20 annual food festivals—from the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, serving up traditional dishes of the South, to the Attack of the Killer Tomato or Atlanta Street Food festivals. Whichever way you plan, the experience will always include a “dining at friend’s house” vibe.
The Backyard BBQ
The friendship vibe also extends to local restaurants like Gunshow, which combines a la carte Brazilian churrascaria-style dining and Chinese dim sum in an industrial-meets-backyard BBQ atmosphere. “The menu is created by a team of chefs who each add their own signature dish to the daily menu, cook it in an open kitchen setting and personally serve it to each table,” Delahunt explains. “It’s best to go as a group so that they can order each chef’s dish and share in tasting the variety.”
Drinks to Dream On
Cocktails and receptions at the Center for Puppetry Arts’ 5,000 sf of meeting space, including the largest collection of Jim Henson’s art and national and global exhibitions at the newly opened Worlds of Puppetry Museum, offer adventure of another kind to attendees. Here, not only will Atlanta F&B wow attendees, but puppetry performances and workshops are available.
The Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar & View at the newly renovated 1,073-room Westin Peachtree Plaza Atlanta spans three floors, offering the ultimate upscale networking space combined with digiboards for spotting iconic landmarks and 360-degree views of the city. Groups of around 750, with additional semi-private dining available for up to 50, can mix, mingle and munch on traditional Atlanta recipes with a twist during receptions in the only tri-level dining complex in the city (also available for buyout). The intimate Overlook meeting space combines floor-to-ceiling views with a massive skylight. Both venues factor into the hotel’s 80,000 sf of meeting space and an additional 560,000 sf is available via connected walkway to AmericasMart and Southern Exchange at 200 Peachtree.
The four-star Solis Hotel, Two Porsche Drive by the Capella Hotel Group will debut this fall at the Porsche Experience Center, which currently offers a world-class test track for one-on-one instruction, off-road courses, a driving simulator center, and fine dining. For its part, the hotel will offer 214 rooms and 6,500 sf of event space, including a rooftop lounge with panoramic views of the Porsche handling course.