GUNSHOW 924 GARRETT STREET ATLANTA, GA 30316 (404) 380-1886 GUNSHOWATL.COM OWNER: KEVIN GILLESPIE EXECUTIVE CHEF: JOEY WARD My first meal at Gunshow was one of the most fun, interactive, ballsy dining experiences I’ve had. I sat in the communal dining room, so spare it’s practically undecorated, and watched as the chefs in the neighboring open kitchen worked their magic. I briefly wondered where the servers were, until I eyed chef Joey Ward, a Culinary Institute of America alum, heading my way. In his hands, he held a bowl of brussels sprouts drenched in a fragrant sauce. He told me the story behind his dish, how he made it, what it tasted like, and asked if I wanted to try it. Was there more than one answer to this question? This scenario repeated itself throughout the night, chefs coming from behind the stove, wielding carts and trays full of innovative dishes to our table, proffering them in a way that made it impossible to say no. I was glad we didn’t—each dish was like nothing I’ve tasted before. I was intoxicated by the setup, which I later told owner Kevin Gillespie (of Top Chef fame) was the most brilliant marketing tactic I’d ever seen. He admitted the dim-sum-meets-churrascaria concept came to him after tiring of stuffy fine dining. “I wanted to offer the same quality ingredients and execution, but in a way that the people cooking could be the ones telling the story of the food,” explains the Art Institute of Atlanta grad and former Woodfire Grill chef and co-owner. “Somebody reads a menu and says, ‘I don’t like beef tongue,’ but when they see the dish and smell it and hear about it, suddenly they want it.” It’s true. I wanted everything that night, and again on my subsequent trips back to the East Atlanta destination. The energy is addicting—especially once I learned Gillespie writes his menu with the entire staff, down to the interns, every week. “Everyone has a say in what we produce —it’s a wildly collaborative effort that helps newbies shape their voice in food and the older guys bask in new energy.” No wonder GQ rated Gunshow one of the 12 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2014. Bravo, chef!