The Optimist: Ford Fry Strikes Again

This hip seafood-centric restaurant is one of the city’s coolest

The Optimist

Chef Ford Fry is on a roll. He’s been opening up restaurants left and right, with two more—King + Duke and a still-unnamed one—both coming to Buckhead before the end of 2013, and JCT Kitchen and No. 246 are already under his belt.

The Optimist opened in 2012, and later that year was named “Restaurant of the Year” by Esquire Magazine. So what is it about this seafood-centric restaurant that makes it so special? From Esquire’s John Mariani:

“A soaring, convivial spot, the Optimist has a hip oyster bar shaped like a surfboard, a first-rate cocktail program, and seafood cooked with old-school expertise over a wood fire. Though everyone knew chef Ford Fry’s new place would be a big deal, the Optimist is far more than a resounding local success; it is an overnight totem of all that is wonderful about American food today.”


The menu starts with seafood from some of the country’s finest suppliers, and ends with Executive Chef Adam Evans’ deft hand. Fresh oysters are flown in from both coasts, fish are served whole-roasted, and fish camp classics like hush puppies and lobster rolls make this not only a great seafood shack, they make it one of the city’s best restaurants.