Atlanta (CNN) — Georgia’s capital city — home to the world’s busiest airport — can now boast Michelin-star restaurants as another reason to stop and stay awhile.
Five Atlanta restaurants were awarded one Michelin star on Tuesday night during a ceremony at the downtown Rialto Center for the Arts.
Having the Michelin presence is likely to expand the culinary community, said one honoree.
“It’s going to just continue the momentum of what’s already been building here,” said Aaron Phillips, one of Lazy Betty’s two executive chef/owners, bringing fresh inspiration and talent “to come and join our city and cook with us.”
After the ceremony, Phillips and executive chef/owner Ron Hsu talked about the whole team behind Lazy Betty’s award, including chef de cuisine Austin Goetzman.
“Our team deserves it more than we do, to be honest,” Hsu said. Hsu and Phillips “oversee a contemporary tasting menu with clever flavor combinations that highlight regional ingredients,” Michelin’s inspectors noted.
Restaurants may receive from one to three stars. One star designates “high quality cooking” that’s “worth a stop,” according to Michelin’s rating system. So Atlanta has two more highly selective rungs to aim for in future rankings.
Michelin praised the city’s “dynamic culinary landscape.” Its anonymous judges “came away impressed with the diverse offerings, as the selection of restaurants not only reflects a taste of the South, but also has a good deal of international flavor,” Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, said in a statement.
Bib Gourmand and more
Ten Atlanta restaurants earned Michelin’s Bib Gourmand designation, which is awarded to restaurants featuring good food at moderate prices. Those restaurants include Little Bear, whose chef, Jarrett Stieber, earned the Michelin Young Chef Award. In total, 45 Atlanta restaurants will be listed in the Michelin guide, including 30 recommended restaurants.
Two Atlanta restaurants, Bacchanalia and The Chastain, received Michelin’s newest designation, the green star, which was introduced in 2020 to award leaders in sustainability.
Michelin’s restaurant rating methodology, which dates back more than a century, focuses on five criteria: quality products, harmony of flavors; mastery of cooking techniques; the cuisine’s reflection of the chef’s personality and voice; and consistency (each restaurant is inspected several times a year).
Michelin works with tourism boards, including the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, “to promote the travel industry in the respective locations,” Michelin said in its July announcement of the Atlanta guide. Such partnerships have generated controversy in the past. The company said its selection process is “completely independent.”
Atlanta is the second US Michelin guide to debut this year. Michelin-starred restaurants in Colorado were announced in September.
The French tire company introduced its guidebooks in France in 1900 as a travel resource for motorists. In 2005, New York debuted as Michelin’s first North American destination. In addition to the two new US guides this year, Michelin also has guides for California; Chicago; Miami/Orlando/Tampa, Florida; and Washington, DC. In Canada, Toronto and Vancouver are Michelin destinations.