As Seen on TV: Atlanta Restaurants on the Big Screen
Atlantans aren’t the only ones who love their local restaurants—the folks at Food Network and Travel Channel do, too. As our culture evolved into one that’s willing to travel for food, TV shows highlighting food gems all over the country premiered left and right, many of which feature Atlanta’s own hotspots and award-winning restaurants.
Of course, we also have our own Atlanta Eats, a local television show hosted by Steak Shapiro highlighting the best and latest spots around town—the show also has a local radio show component featuring Mara Davis.
Want to visit the places that have been made famous by TV? Click through the slideshow to see which shows put our local restaurants on America’s culinary map:
Atlanta on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Atlanta has been graced by the spiky-haired dude, Guy Fiery, many times since “Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives” (DDD) premiered in 2007. Some of the earlier “DDD” Atlanta episodes featured the Silver Skillet, Marietta Diner, Matthew's Cafeteria, The Highlander and The Colonnade Restaurant. Fiery came back in 2015, though, and visited Buckhead brunch staple Joy Café on the “Homeland Favorites” episode, which highlighted the café’s signature dishes: biscuits with sausage gravy and tomato soup. In the kitchen, Fiery learned how to cook up Joy Café’s iconic shrimp and grits with Louisiana BBQ sauce. He has also visited The General Muir (know for chef Todd Ginsburg’s popular burger as well as the pastrami hash), Wrecking Bar (don’t miss the cheddarwurst corn pups) and Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q (their brisket burger was featured, and don't miss our interview with co-owner Justin Fox) among others.
Atlanta on Man v. Food
Emory grad Adam Richman hosted “Man v. Food” on the Travel Channel from 2008 to 2012. Although the show no longer produces new episodes, you can still catch reruns and relive the magic that was Richman seeking out the nation’s “biggest” dishes and taking on restaurants’ challenges. When “Man v. Food” came to Atlanta, Richman went straight to The Vortex—one of the city's best sports bars—for their Double Coronary Bypass Burger. There’s no challenge per say, other than the burger itself. This not-so-low-carb burger consists of three fried eggs, four slices of American cheese, and five slices of bacon, with two grilled cheese sandwiches as buns. Holy cow! If you want one yourself take note: the burger clocks in at 4,451 calories and is only available Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. So, no luck having a heart attack on weekends, holidays or after takeout.
Atlanta on The Layover with Anthony Bourdain
If you fancy yourself a foodie then Anthony Bourdain is probably your idol. The famed late chef, known for his brash attitude and sick culinary skills, hosted “The Layover” from 2011 to 2013. Even though Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is layover central, the show only came here once, but Bourdain made it worth his while. In addition to Clermont Lounge and Buford Highway Farmers Market, Bourdain, along with his buddy Sean Brock (the Charleston chef behind Minero in Ponce City Market), made his way to Holeman & Finch. While they were there, Bourdain proclaimed Holeman & Finch “the future of American dining.” They also noshed on deviled eggs, and of course, the famed H+F burger. Other Bourdain-approved spots from The Layover include Little Tart Bakeshop for a coffee and croissant, lunch at Fat Matt’s and Miller Union for dinner.
Atlanta on Best Thing I Ever Ate
The Food Network show “Best Thing I Ever Ate” frequently travels with Atlanta-based chef Alton Brown, who has hosted “Iron Chef” and his own cooking show, “Good Eats”, to get his trustworthy authority on all things delicious in Atlanta. On the episode entitled “Bang for the Buck” he gave local and cheap favorite Hankook Taqueria a shoutout—in fact, he proclaimed Hankook is serving up Atlanta’s best street food. His favorite dish? The bibimbap, which rings up at only $8 and is loaded with rice, beef, veggies and a fried egg. You can find Hankook Taqueria on the booming Westside of town, not far from Atlanta’s newest breweries and cidery. On the “Best Breakfast Ever” episode, Ted Allen (the host of “Chopped”) preached the virtue of the sweet and savory combo found in One Eared Stag’s chef’s breakfast—expect a platter with five different breakfast dishes, including sour cream doughnuts, pancakes with bacon, biscuit with griddled country pate, corned beef (tongue) hash and shrimps and grits.
Atlanta on Bizarre Foods
Since 2006, “Bizarre Foods” host Andrew Zimmern has traveled the globe seeking out the world’s strangest eats. After sampling bugs and strange organs in various countries, he made his way to Atlanta in 2014. While he was here he grabbed Hugh Acheson (owner of Atlanta’s Empire State South and a frequent judge on “Top Chef”) and headed to late night spot Octopus Bar in East Atlanta Village—known for some its best nightlife spots like The Earl and Argosy—to munch on an octopus hot pot and grilled rabbit offal. He also ventured slightly OTP for some miso-seasoned brisket and green tomato kimchi at Heirloom Market BBQ.
Atlanta on Food Paradise
“Food Paradise” highlights the best cuisines around the nation, focusing on a different topic each episode. Located in one the city's most popular neighborhoods, Westside, Bone Garden Cantina was featured on “Mexican Food Paradise” in 2013. They showed off their flavorful carne adobo steak tacos and the grilled corn on the cob with mayo and queso fresco. Atlanta appeared on another episode in 2015, this time on “Fried Chicken Paradise." We have fried chicken a plenty here in Atlanta, but they featured Busy Bee Café, a historic downtown spot open since 1947. On the show they indulged in crispy fried chicken and tasty sides like collard greens and macaroni and cheese.
Atlanta on Chopped
Beyond Atlanta restaurants being featured on TV, we have to mention the chefs that have represented our city, too. Chopped is a competitive cooking show that presents a group of competitors with a basket containing mysterious ingredients that definitely don’t go together on paper. Think: fish, chocolate, apples. It’s their job to make them taste amazing in a limited amount of time. Atlanta chefs that have accepted and won the challenge include Kevin Rathbun (Rathbun’s and Rathbun Steak in Inman Park), Zeb Stevenson (the forthcoming Redbird) and the late Ria Pell (Ria’s Bluebird).
Atlanta on Top Chef
Atlanta has never hosted a Top Chef season, but plenty of our chefs have represented our fair city on the competitive reality show. Each season takes place in a different city (i.e. Las Vegas, Washington D.C.) and pits 12 chefs against each other, eliminating contestant each week through various challenges, until one is left to reign supreme. An Atlanta chef has yet to win, but Kevin Gillespie (Gunshow, Revival) has come close and won fan favorite in season six. Other Atlanta chefs that threw their knives in the ring include Ron Eyester (Southern Bistro), Hector Santiago (El Super Pan), and Eli Kirshtein (culinary director at Revelator Coffee Company). And don't forget our very own Hugh Acheson not only competed in Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, but is also currently a judge.