Zagat's #1 Hot Food CityZagat rated Birmingham #1 in America’s Next Hot Food Cities list!

By Ross McCay 

Birmingham has received positive marks this year nationally from CNBC to the New York Times. Zagat continues that trend by naming Birmingham #1 in America’s Next Hot Food Cities list. It was ranked ahead of cities such as Oakland/Berkeley, Detroit, Asheville, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, Louisville, Durham, Phoenix/Scottsdale, and San Antonio.

Several Birmingham Restaurants Member Restaurants are named in the article. According to Zagat, Birmingham’s outstanding culinary roots are in thanks to “James Beard award eateries,” such as Highlands Bar and Grill and Hot and Hot Fish Club, and restaurants that are casual affair in nature. Birmingham also received thumbs up from Zagat for the locally sourced beer and breweries that allow people to eat and drink local.

Zagat also specifically praised Birmingham’s rise in the culinary scene to chefs like Frank Stitt (Highlands Bar and Grill, Chez Fonfon, Bottega Restaurant, Bottega Café), Chris Hastings (Hot and Hot Fish Club, Ovenbird) and Clifton Holt (Little Savannah). Highlands Bar and Grill, Ocean, and Chez Fonfon also get mentioned as places to eat at in town.

Zagat’s formula for determining what makes a city “Up-and-Coming” is as follows… 

To quote Zagat on what makes a particular city “Up-and-Coming”, “We wanted a broad sample base and reached out to a mix of industry influencers, Zagat readers and foodies across the country who were new to Zagat. We asked them questions about 89 cities to determine a number of things: each one’s trajectory over the past five years; its rank right now against all other cities (a metric we called “culinary leadership”); and projection for success in the coming five years. We also asked people the gut-check, straightforward question: “Is this an up-and-coming market?” and asked them to assign tiers to each city.

Birmingham Restaurants publisher, Jan Walsh has been a consultant and local expert to Google, Zagat since 2015. 

Zagat also has nine different criteria’s they use to evaluate a market’s culinary leadership. These range from how many great chefs are located in the city to how fresh and locally sourced ingredients are for the restaurants. 

Read Zagat's Next Hot Food Cities

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