“When an appetizer comes with 'sopping toast,' rest assured it's so delish you won't leave a drop behind. At The Optimist, [the] plump heads-on shrimp arrive doused with arbol chile lime butter atop bread. The menu actually says 'messy, but worth it.' Exactly.”

One Hundred & Eleven Must-Try Tastes, Jezebel

February 2014

“The airy oyster bar attached to Ford Fry's lavish seafood palace...has broadened [the selection] to include more options from East Coast (firm, sweet Fisher Islands from New York; plump Westport Islands harvested in Maine) and West (including two from California: plump and meaty Fish Points and robust suckers from Pebble Beach). Don't ignore the addictive house made oyster crackers on the side.”

Shell Yeah!, Atlanta Magazine

February 2014

“The Optimist is just about the biggest, prettiest, first-date-iest seafood temple you can imagine, with the added advantage of offering peel-and-eat Georgia shrimp, which may be the tastiest crustaceans you'll ever put in your mouth. ”

GQ City Guides: Atlanta, GQ


“Chef Adam Evans has a knack for rich, deeply flavored dishes that will convert the most ardent steak lover. Whatever you do, don't skip the sides, especially the corn-milk hush puppies and basmati 'fried rice.' Sometimes the best meals happen when you least expect them to. It helps to be an optimist.”

The Hot 10: America's Best New Restaurants, Bon Appétit

September 2013

“The old-school fish house has been reborn in this outsize seafood emporium, outfitted in sleek white tile and floor-to-ceiling windows. The vibe of the vast, high-volume space is nautical-chic. The seafood-centric menu is built to match, with head-on Georgia shrimp in a buttery chile-lime sauce and clam and lobster rolls that would make any New Englander proud. ”

50 Best New Restaurant Nominees 2013, Bon Appétit

September 2013

“The Optimist turns the tide on seafood restaurants in Atlanta. Owner-Chef Ford Fry and Executive Chef Adam Evans, who trained under Top Chef judge Tom Colocchio, have created a menu that features hearth roasted fish and meats, and if you think sushi is the only way to eat raw fish, the Oyster Bar at The Optimist offers dishes that will change your mind.”

Reheated, Atlanta Eats

August 2013

“Restaurateur Ford Fry's best effort showcases sustainable gulf and Atlantic seafood. The gusty flavors [peel-and-eat shrimp with peppery spice and Mississippi comeback sauce] suggest a fish camp, but the west Midtown warehouse locale feels cosmopolitan. ”

Food Town: 6 to Try, Sky

August 2013

“Landlocked Atlanta may seem like an unlikely home to one of the country's most buzzed-about seafood joints, but once you set foot in chef-owner Ford Fry and executive chef Adam Evans' establishment – outfitted with a putt-putt course, live music, oyster bar and soaring dining room – you'll immediately get why. Roll up your sleeves and dive right into some seriously bold-flavored, unforgettable interpretations of all things sea.”

Atlanta: 7 New Restaurants And Bars We Are Really Excited About, Food Republic

July 2013

“Esquire's own John Mariani even called the opening of The Optimist the most exciting of last year...[G]o; just go. Georgia is on my mind, and I wish I could go back tomorrow.”

A Love Letter to Atlanta, Esquire

June 2013

“The Optimist, she says, was 'some of the best food I've ever had.'”

Actress Jessica Szohr Takes on A-Town, Jezebel

June 2013