From the Magazine

Letter From the Editor: Our 2024 Restaurant Issue is Here

By: Emily Havener
Recipe Issue: Emily Havener. Managing Editor of TLP

This year we’ve been talking a lot about what makes a good restaurant. As we watch and cheer on industry trends toward fair wages, increased benefits, quality-of-life considerations, and overall improvements that make employees feel invested and safe, we’re also intrigued by the factors that make the customer experience exceptional: atmosphere, familiarity, or novelty, that certain je ne sais quoi. Then there are restaurants that identify a need in their community and find a specific way to give back, or who make sustainability their core tenet. And of course, always, there’s the food itself.

All these factors go into how we put together this issue, which includes not only standout new restaurants in each southeastern state but also those that have stood the test of time and become foundations in their community.

This year I saw certain themes emerge especially strongly among our featured new restaurants, such as a focus on plant-based food at Flora Jean’s in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Eureka Café in Morgantown, West Virginia. There’s also so much to celebrate in the way of cuisine inspired by countries across Africa: Verdure Kitchen in Atlanta from Jean-Louis Sangare bringing together dishes from western and central Africa; Keem Hughley’s Bronze in DC, paying homage to Afrofuturism; and Ekhaya from Zweli’s founder Zweli Williams in Durham, North Carolina, celebrating Zimbabwean, Bantu, and Ethiopian cuisines.

More and more, I’m seeing chefs being authentic to their individual experiences, which may or may not be influenced by food from other parts of the world, to create a cuisine all their own, something familiar and at the same time utterly new. It’s a recipe for some serious FOMO, and we couldn’t do it without our team of amazing writers. Check out their favorite bites and sips then dive in to make your bucket list of can’t-miss restaurants in your state or someone else’s.

Stay hungry,

Emily Havener
Managing Editor

Loved our Restaurants Issue?

Take our survey for a chance to win a copy of Maydan: Recipes from Lebanon and Beyond by Rose Previte, a 1-year subscription to The Local Palate, as well as a $100 gift certificate to The Local Palate Marketplace. One winner will be chosen on April 19, 2023.

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