Rising Star Chef Ford Fry of Ford Fry Restaurants - Biography

Atlanta, GA

September 2019

After spending his adolescence in Texas, Ford Fry attended the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. From there, he spent time as a fine-dining chef in Florida, Colorado, and California, working his way up the ladder to executive chef roles at luxury hotel brands like the Ritz-Carlton. In 2007, Fry moved to Atlanta and fell in love with the city. He decided to put down roots by opening his first restaurant, JCT Kitchen & Bar in the Westside neighborhood, earning him a StarChefs Rising Star award. Fry took his time to learn how to run a profitable and successful business, waiting five years before opening his second restaurant, a sustainable seafood eatery and oyster bar called The Optimist.

Fry then began to expand his empire quickly, founding Ford Fry Restaurants to encompass the 16 properties he now runs in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Houston. In 2012, Esquire awarded The Optimist “Best New Restaurant,” and in 2013, Eater Atlanta called Fry “Empire Builder of the Year,” and the Georgia Restaurant Association named him “Restaurateur of the Year.” In 2019, he released his debut cookbook Tex-Mex: Traditions, Innovations, and Comfort Foods from Both Sides of The Border. Fry is set to open four more restaurants in Nashville by year’s end.