Representatives from Michelin’s famous guide presented the first Michelin stars to restaurants across Atlanta on October 24, 2023. Atlanta’s Michelin Guide joins just six other U.S. Guides- New York City, California, Colorado, Florida, Chicago, and Washington DC. Chefs and diners around the city have been buzzing since the announcement that the guide was coming, and there was a palpable sense of excitement leading up to the announcement.
Michelin Guide Experiences and Communications Director Elisabeth Boucher-Anselin described how Michelin’s anonymous restaurant inspectors were “amazed” by the quality of the restaurants they discovered in Atlanta. She said they felt “this spark Atlanta has- The one which makes the difference, and attracts international travelers looking for a very special journey.”
45 restaurants were recognized during the event. The selections were all inside the perimeter, but Michelin says they may expand beyond the perimeter in the future. 5 Buckhead restaurants were recognized, including Atlas winning a coveted Michelin star. Other hot spots around the city include the West Side, East Atlanta, Decatur, and Chamblee/Doraville.
The Michelin Guide began as a way to help motorists plan trips across France. The Michelin brothers figured that more driving trips meant more tire sales, and they were right! The guide included maps, instructions for changing a tire, where to buy fuel, and more. The guide began to include hotel and restaurants in the 1920s, and the now famous restaurant inspectors began to visit and review restaurants anonymously. The first Michelin star was awarded in 1926, with 2 and 3 star ratings added five years later. The Michelin Guide now rates over 40,000 establishments across three continents.
There were several awards handed out on October 24, but perhaps the one with the most culinary weight is the coveted Michelin Star. A star in the Michelin Guide means a restaurant is “High quality cooking, worth a stop!” Michelin’s restaurant inspectors judge a restaurant on quality of ingredients, harmony of flavors, mastery of cooking techniques, personality of the chef reflected in the cuisine, and consistency of food and service between visits. A Michelin star (or two or three) recognizes a chef and a restaurant among the best in the world.
Atlas and chef Freddy Money were awarded the first Michelin star in Atlanta’s history. Anyone who has dined at Atlas is not surprised by this recognition. The inspectors found Atlas “snuggled inside the St Regis” and called the restaurant “impossibly elegant.” Of winning Atlanta’s first Michelin star, Chef Money said, “Very humbling. Awesome experience and shows the dedication and hard work of our whole team, so we’re very proud.”
THE CHASTAIN was the first Buckhead restaurant to be recognized during the Michelin Guide ceremony, and they ended up with three awards on the night. THE CHASTAIN’s Juan Fernando Cortés won the first Michelin Sommelier of the year award in Atlanta. Michelin inspectors said that Juan “puts care and thought into each and every selection, and that he’s not afraid to think outside the box.” In a testament to his commitment to his craft, Juan was not in attendance to receive his Michelin award because he was working at the restaurant.
THE CHASTAIN was also awarded one of two Michelin Green Stars in the city. A Michelin Green Star is awarded to acknowledge a restaurant at the forefront of sustainable practices and ethical environmental practices. The inspectors were impressed with the way THE CHASTAIN goes “above and beyond organic.” THE CHASTAIN and fellow Green Star recipient Bacchanalia join just 21 other Green Star restaurants in the U.S.
General Manager Emilee Durrett said the Michelin Green Star recognizes a big part of what THE CHASTAIN has been working toward concerning sustainability. “When we set out to do THE CHASTAIN, a big goal of ours was making an impact not only in a neighborhood, not just in Atlanta, but in the southeast as a whole.” Durrett said the team at THE CHASTAIN, including Executive Chef Christopher Grossman, has been dedicated to, “changing what it could look like to have relationships with local purveyors, farmers, and independent businesses, and really making a choice to do that, despite the challenges.”
The Michelin Guide chose 30 restaurants for their first Recommended Restaurants selection in Atlanta, including THE CHASTAIN, Storico Fresco, and Tomo. Bib Gourmand recipients are recognized by the Michelin Guide for high quality food for a reasonable price. 10 restaurants made the list in Atlanta, and we are going to claim Heirloom Market BBQ as Buckhead’s winner on the list.
We would like to congratulate all of the restaurants recognized in Atlanta’s first Michelin guide. Check out the full list of winners below, and support your local chef!
Juan Fernando Cortes, THE CHASTAIN
Storico Fresco Alimentari
Heirloom Market BBQ
Neil McCarthy, Miller Union
Jason Furst and bar team, BoccaLupo
Chef Jarrett Stieber, Little Bear
Busy Bee Cafe
Fred’s Meat and Bread
The Deer and the Dove
The General Muir
Georgia Boy and Southern Belle
Han Il Kwan
Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours
The White Bull
Xi’an Gourmet House (Midtown)