Chef Adam Evans
2015 The Optimist

As executive chef at The Optimist and Oyster Bar at The Optimist, chef Adam Evans spearheads the restaurant’s sustainable seafood drive and exhibits his deep relationship with the Gulf Coast. Since his time opening the restaurant, The Optimist has been lauded by Esquire, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Southern Living, Atlanta Magazine and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, as well as named one of the top restaurants in Atlanta several times by The Atlantan. Adam was nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef in 2015.
Upon graduation from Auburn University, the Muscle Shoals, Alabama, native began working at The Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama, in 2002 as a chef’s apprentice. He moved to New Orleans shortly after to be a line cook for Bacco, where he focused on learning technique, speed and consistency, ultimately landing him a spot at La Petite Grocery in 2004. During Evans’ time at La Petite Grocery, the restaurant earned a coveted four-bean review in The Times-Picayune.
In May 2005, Evans headed north to the culinary capital of New York City to join Craft, Tom Colicchio’s flagship restaurant. As sous chef at Craft, the Manhattan location sent Evans to open Craft Atlanta/Craftbar, where he stepped into the role of chef de cuisine and established a Southern-inflected menu highlighting local ingredients. During Evans’ tenure at Craft Atlanta/Craftbar, the restaurant received a four-star review from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and was named Best New Restaurant by Atlanta Magazine.
Evans went on to showcase his expert abilities with Ford Fry’s team at JCT. Kitchen & Bar and continued with the opening of Fry’s highly anticipated fish-camp destination, The Optimist.
Evans likes the challenge of luring land-locked city patrons to a menu of oysters and fish. “I want to get the best product possible and a unique mix of species—from there it’s okay to take food simply or literally,” Evans said. “It’s imperative to be environmentally conscious of where and how we source our seafood. As a chef who is equally passionate for cooking and fishing, I’ve had a fond respect for our waters ever since I was a kid and enjoyed summer fish fries with my family. The Gulf’s waters provide the tools that support my craft.”