Sure, we all have our favorite restaurants to eat at on the regular but the next big thing may be yet undiscovered, waiting for you at a pop-up. Odds are you’ve heard of pop-ups, and probably even been to one, but in case you don’t know Atlanta is brimming with them. Throughout the metro-Atlanta area talented chefs lacking funds (or the desire) to go all the way with a brick and mortar spot are flexing their creative chops to an “in the know” audience. Some pop-ups are at restaurants, some at people’s homes but one thing is for sure: all pop-ups are fleeting, so get it while it’s hot.Read More
The Best Pop-Up Restaurants in Atlanta
1. Eat Me Speak Me
The pop-up king of Atlanta, Jarrett Stieber originally launched Eat Me Speak Me (EMSE) at Candler Park’s Gato in 2014. This summer he moved the pop-up to S.O.S. Tiki Bar in Decatur, where he can serve guests five nights a week. Each night, Stieber delights diners with beautifully plated dishes and cheeky menu names like “Fry Fieri,” a fry bread and goat dish with Sea Island red peas, raab, rutabaga, and broccoli puree. Another benefit of EMSE’s new digs? Tiki cocktails! Pretty nice for “Michelin Tire dining.”
2. The Plate Sale
Founded by husband and wife duo Mike and Shyretha Sheats, the Plate Sale is a traveling pop-up dinner series that bounces between Athens and Atlanta. A former cook at Staplehouse, Mike serves up Southern dishes with modern twists like grilled duck breast with Southern-style mop sauce and glazed turnips. But more important than the food is the dinner series’ goal of bringing people together to build “genuine relationships,” encouraging strangers to connect over their meal. In addition to taking over restaurants for one night only dinners, the Plate Sale regularly pops up at Preserving Now, the cooking school within the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
Atlanta, GA 30318
Atlantans with a hankering for Korean food can get their fix at the newly rebranded Revelator Coffee (formerly Ocatane) in Grant Park. Helmed by James Murphy, a former chef at Kimball House and a Korean immigrant, Anju means “food consumed with alcohol”. On the menu you’ll find traditional Korean dishes like mandu (steamed pork dumplings) and kimchi jeon (a savory pancake with apple-soy sauce). As the name states, food is to be consumed with alcohol so order one of their Korean-inspired drinks like the saduchi citrus soju and tonic. You can find this dinner at Revelator on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings indefinitely.
4. #ChopItUpATL Collective Impact Dinner Series
Atlanta, GA 30303
Quianah Upton brings the community together through #ChopItUpATL, the food extension of Arbitrary Living, her home decor store. Each dinner in the series is at a different location with the goal of connecting diners to growers by focusing on a different part of the food system like production, distribution, and processing. More than just a socially-conscious dinner, the events double up as a fundraiser for a local food-focused nonprofit.
5. BBQ Biscuit Pop Up
When pit master Byran Furman of B’s Cracklin’ BBQ teamed up with Erika Council of Southern Soufflé it was a match made in Southern heaven. By day (and night), B’s Cracklin’ is one of Atlanta’s best BBQ joints known for Furman’s approach to the whole hog using heritage-breed hogs. Council is the queen of dough, lovingly creating fluffy biscuits, cinnamon rolls and beignets. Order your biscuit with a choice of apple butter or splurge on the brisket hash made with smoked brisket cut into chunks with potatoes, onions, pepper, and an egg on top.
6. Talat Market
Atlanta isn’t exactly brimming with authentic Thai restaurants, so when Parnass Lim Savang had the opportunity to launch his Thai pop up, he pounced. He said goodbye to his chef roles at Staplehouse and Kimball House and began dinner service three nights a week at Gato in Candler Park. Don’t come here expecting technicolor curries. Instead you’ll find Savang serving up what he grew up on, made with Georgia-grown ingredients. The menu is tight with seven dishes served with sticky or Jasmine rice. The menu changes seasonally but you can almost always snag the durian custard with beet sticky rice for dessert.
7. Speakeasy Supper Club
Most pop ups are organized by adult chefs, but what if you’re a 15-year-old boy who loves to cook? Such is the case for Trevor Shankman, a teen who grew up watching his dad, Kyle Shankman, cook as an Atlanta-based chef. After discovering molecular gastronomy videos on YouTube Trevor developed his own passion for cooking and now the father-son duo organizes the supper club. Meals are kept intimate (about 10 people or so) and almost entirely prepared by Trevor with the help of his dad, although just by looking at the plating you would never guess that was the case.
8. Chow Club Atlanta
Since 2016, Chow Club has brought immigrant home chefs to the forefront as part of their monthly supper clubs. The goal of the founders, Yohana Solomon and Amanda Plumb, is to help these chefs gain exposure and build a following so that they can one day pursue their restaurant dreams. Focusing on cuisines not typically represented in Atlanta’s dining scene, past events have featured chefs from Antigua, Venezuela, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. These events are members only, but anyone can join, and the location remains a secret until 24-hours beforehand.
9. Oasis of the Seas
After you’ve explored your city from top to bottom, it’s time to seek out adventure elsewhere. Why not try at sea? Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas packs options for thrill-seekers (riding waves on Flowrider, anyone?), foodies, and globetrotters — and that’s just on the ship. So when you’ve maxed out all these local options, check out what awaits — head to Port Canaveral in Florida, where the Oasis of the Seas ships out, to find thrilling new experiences.
10. Junior’s Pizza
Alex Aton used to be a general manager at Fellini’s, but has long dreamed of owning his own pizza joint. He and his wife, Jennifer, started Junior’s Pizza as a pop up to help make that dream a reality. Their approach to pizza is simple: basic, high-quality ingredients to produce delicious tasting Sicilian-style and thin crust pies. If you follow them on Instagram you can catch one of their pop up delivery days allowing a limited amount of followers to order pizza, as well as find out which venue they’ll pop up at next.
11. Pop Up Brunch
This may be surprising, but brunch doesn’t have to be an overindulgent affair — at least that’s what Patrick Joseph Boston, founder of Pop Up Brunch, believes. A health enthusiast who has traveled extensively to learn about different cooking techniques, Boston serves diners a heart-healthy, five course brunch at a private residence. The menu changes but he always serves locally roasted coffee by Valor and juices by Nature’s Garden Express.