Wondering where Atlanta's in-the-know crowd is eating and drinking? It's easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to analyze which eateries have been seeing especially high review volumes this month.
To find out who made the list, we first looked at Atlanta businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on the number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.
Read on to see which spots are worth exploring, right now.
Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours
Open in its present location since December 2016, this well-established soul food spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Southern" on Yelp.
Citywide, Southern spots saw a median 1.2% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours saw a 2.8% increase, maintaining a solid four-star rating throughout. As for foot traffic, the number of visitors to Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours more than tripled over the past month, according to SafeGraph data.
It's not the only trending outlier in the Southern category: Rowdy Tiger Whiskey Bar & Kitchen has seen a 50% increase in reviews.
Located in Blandtown at 1133 Huff Road NW, Suite D, Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours serves up a full menu of "global soul food" fare from chef Deborah VanTrece. Stop in for elevated Southern cuisine, like fried green tomatoes with crawfish remoulade, a po'boy with Nashville-style hot catfish, fried chicken with sweet potato apple chutney and brunch eats, such as the Mrs. Evelyn's smothered gulf shrimp paired with cheese grits and fried green tomatoes. This spot also offers beer, wine and signature cocktails made with infused moonshine.
Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours is open for brunch and lunch from 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday and for dinner from 5–10 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday and 5–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, it's open from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (It's closed on Monday.) According to SafeGraph, foot traffic is heaviest at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily and on Thursdays and Fridays. If you’re planning your visit, you may want to try its slower periods on Sundays.
26 Thai Kitchen & Bar
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Lindbergh's 26 Thai Kitchen & Bar, the popular spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Bars" on Yelp saw a median 1.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, 26 Thai Kitchen & Bar — which has been open at 541 Main St. NE, Suite F170 since 2016 — bagged a 2.6% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a sound 4.5-star rating. As for foot traffic, 26 Thai Kitchen & Bar saw visits more than triple in the past month, according to SafeGraph data.
What does this business focus on? According to its Yelp page, it serves "MSG-free, fresh and authentic Thai food made from scratch" along with "curries, noodles and other modernized Thai classics in a loft-like, contemporary space."
There's more that's trending on Atlanta's bar scene: the Midtown location of 26 Thai Kitchen & Bar has seen a 95.5% increase in reviews, and Rock Steady and Nino's Italian Restaurant have seen 45.5% and 0.9% increases, respectively.
While the kitchen at 26 Thai Kitchen & Bar offers diners a selection of Thai food favorites, the bar mixes up classic cocktails with a Thai twist. Check out the Old Bangkok Old Fashioned made with Thai tea, the Jasmine martini with homemade jasmine syrup, and the mojito with Thai basil.
26 Thai Kitchen & Bar is open from 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday, noon–11 p.m. on Saturday and noon–10 p.m. on Sunday. According to SafeGraph, it usually gets busy at 4 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. daily and on Thursdays and Saturdays, with a slowdown on Tuesdays.
Downtown's Blackbird is also making waves. Open since last March at 393 Marietta St. NW, the popular New American spot, which offers brunch, lunch and dinner, has seen a 15.8% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.5% for all businesses tagged "American (New)" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis, Blackbird's review count increased by more than 220%. As for foot traffic, Blackbird saw visits more than triple over the past month, according to SafeGraph data.
Blackbird serves up sweet and savory morning fare, like shrimp and grits, duck confit hash, French toast with apple compote and more, as well as hearty evening options, such as burgers and pasta dishes. Over the past month, it's maintained a convincing four-star rating among Yelpers.
Blackbird is open from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.) According to SafeGraph, foot traffic is heaviest on Saturdays and Sundays, and it attracts a quarter of its total visitors over those two days. If you’re planning your visit, you may want to try its slower periods on Fridays.
The Old Fourth Ward location of international burger chain Shake Shack is currently on the upswing in the traditional American category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "American (Traditional)" on Yelp saw a median 1.5% increase in new reviews over the past month, Shake Shack increased its new reviews by 7.4% — and kept its rating consistent at four stars. The business saw visits more than triple over the same time frame, according to SafeGraph's foot traffic data.
Open for business at 670 DeKalb Ave. NE, Suite 103, since last April, Shake Shack specializes in American fast-food favorites, including burgers, fries, hot dogs and shakes. Swing by this location to try the Georgia-exclusive Peachtree shake made with vanilla frozen custard, salted caramel and peaches.
Shake Shack is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. According to SafeGraph, foot traffic is heaviest on Wednesdays and Sundays, and it attracts a quarter of its total visitors over those two days. If you’re planning your visit, you may want to try its slower periods on Mondays.