There is a way to do fine dining food with a mid level price. If you look at Paris right now there is a cultural food revolution happening amongst chefs. There are place like la foodie and le chateaubriand (noted in the top 50 restaurants in the world) that don't charge fine ding prices but serve really fantastic food. (No Reservations has shown both of these restaurants.)
In no way am I comparing ATL to Paris however in order for us chefs to make a significant difference in this burger haven of a city, we must progress our thought process, embrace the now, lead the future and take the food scene back to it's rightful place.
We have to educate consumers on these trends as well. If they want to pay mid level prices than that's fine. We just can't offer 20+ menu items and have all the inventory to go with it; nor can we open 200+ seat restaurants. By doing this we can open smaller more specialized restaurants. We can actually be creative in our menu writings and respect each other space. (This chef is doing fried chicken night; it's a great idea but I'm going to do whole hog night. He is doing a five course prefixe featuring happy hollow farms; it's cool but I'm going to use acorn for acorns farms.)
Right now I think we are prime to actually go out and change the landscape of dining in to a new haven of great restaurants. We grow some of the best ingredients, have access to some of the best regional spirits and are prime to be the leaders of food in this region. All the chefs from other cities want to come here; but we are already here and truly don't need them. We are smart enough to figure this out.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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