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Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

Poets Critics Dolls Main Large





2017 Index of Winners

Best soup

Steamhouse Lounge Steamhouse Lounge

Best overall restaurant

8arm 8ARM
After the sad and sudden death of chef/partner Angus Brown in early January, the fate of four-month-old 8ARM was uncertain. But with deep love and tenacity, the tight-knit, uber-talented staff — including partner Nhan Le, pastry maestro Sarah Dodge and chefs Keith Remes, Wilson Gourley and Brooks Raymanmore...

After the sad and sudden death of chef/partner Angus Brown in early January, the fate of four-month-old 8ARM was uncertain. But with deep love and tenacity, the tight-knit, uber-talented staff — including partner Nhan Le, pastry maestro Sarah Dodge and chefs Keith Remes, Wilson Gourley and Brooks Rayman — managed to get the restaurant back up and running the next day … and every day since. From early mornings to late nights, cinnamon rolls to ceviches, they’ve been cooking and serving an ever-changing kaleidoscope of locally sourced culinary magic, keeping things fresh while loyally maintaining Brown’s earthy, funky vibe. The recently finished patio finds Joshua Fryer slinging drinks for the cool kids from a repurposed, tropical-themed shipping container late into the night. For all these reasons and more, 8arm is our pick for 2017’s best restaurant. We miss you terribly, Angus, but we think you’d be pretty proud of what you left behind. 710 Ponce de Leon Ave. 470-875-5856. www.8armatl.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best unexpected expansion

Yet Tuh Yet Tuh
If we had to guess which Atlanta restaurants might add a second location, YET TUH would have been near the bottom of the list. The original eatery, hidden a block off Buford Highway, is just so homey and unassuming that the very idea that it could multiply seemed implausible. But here they are, withmore...
If we had to guess which Atlanta restaurants might add a second location, YET TUH would have been near the bottom of the list. The original eatery, hidden a block off Buford Highway, is just so homey and unassuming that the very idea that it could multiply seemed implausible. But here they are, with a shiny new location in Duluth off Pleasant Hill Road, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Yet Tuh continues to offer some of the most soulful Korean fare around, from heartwarming stews to the delightful omurice (fried rice tucked inside an omelet blanket). We’ll still frequent the original location, but we now have a new favorite among the bevy of Korean restaurants buffering I-85 in Duluth. 2605 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. 470-488-5000. 3042 Oakcliff Road, Doraville. 770-454-9292. less...

Best dinner party secret weapon

Bakkal International Foods
Middle Eastern cuisines are in the spotlight, and there’s no better place in Atlanta than BAKKAL INTERNATIONAL FOODS, located just inside the Perimeter on Roswell Road, to source the hard-to-find ingredients necessary for cooking up these cuisines at home. Though Bakkal excels in Turkish products,more...
Middle Eastern cuisines are in the spotlight, and there’s no better place in Atlanta than BAKKAL INTERNATIONAL FOODS, located just inside the Perimeter on Roswell Road, to source the hard-to-find ingredients necessary for cooking up these cuisines at home. Though Bakkal excels in Turkish products, their wares cover a wide swath, from Bulgaria across the Mediterranean to Lebanon and Egypt. Here, you’ll find plentiful options for tahini or pomegranate syrup — a critical component in recreating the famous lamb shoulder in the Zahav cookbook, which is guaranteed to impress any and all dinner guests. Sip a cold mint yogurt soda (made in California, though Persian by heritage) while perusing fresh breads from Grand Prix Bakery in Lawrenceville and pistachio tahini helvasi by Turkish brand Koska, which will turn you on to the joys of this unfairly maligned Middle Eastern sesame dessert. 5690 Roswell Road, Suite 100, Sandy Springs. 404-847-9942. www.bakkalinternational.com. less...

Best restaurant group revolution

The Canteen
Why have one when you can have four? That’s the theory in play at Midtown newbie THE CANTEEN, which pushes the boundaries of the term “food hall” by splitting up a space that formerly housed one restaurant (the Spence) into three food stalls (Yalla, Fred’s Meat & Bread, TGM Bagel) and a fullmore...
Why have one when you can have four? That’s the theory in play at Midtown newbie THE CANTEEN, which pushes the boundaries of the term “food hall” by splitting up a space that formerly housed one restaurant (the Spence) into three food stalls (Yalla, Fred’s Meat & Bread, TGM Bagel) and a full bar (Square Bar). It’s a bold and, dare we say, revolutionary repurposing of the real estate overlooking the Centergy One plaza in Tech Square — and clearly one built off lessons learned by partners Todd Ginsberg, Jennifer and Ben Johnson and Shelley Sweet at their Krog Street Market locations of Yalla and Fred’s. From coffee and a bagel in the a.m. to decadent sandwiches at lunch to a burger and a beer as the sun sets, the Canteen packs plenty of punch to keep both residents and office-goers well fed all day. 75 Fifth St. N.W., Suite 170. www.thecanteenatl.com. less...

Best place to feast when you’re stoned

Food Terminal Food Terminal
Buford Highway has long been a bastion for fantastic Asian cuisine, but one of its most recent arrivals takes the scene to new heights. Uber-modern Malaysian food hall-style eatery FOOD TERMINAL has been racking up accolades ever since chef Amy Wong and partner Howard Ewe of bakery mini-chain Sweet Hutmore...
Buford Highway has long been a bastion for fantastic Asian cuisine, but one of its most recent arrivals takes the scene to new heights. Uber-modern Malaysian food hall-style eatery FOOD TERMINAL has been racking up accolades ever since chef Amy Wong and partner Howard Ewe of bakery mini-chain Sweet Hut opened doors this past spring. And when you have the munchies, there’s really no better spot to make your feasting fantasies come to life (trust us). The glossy, magazine-style menu boasts 50 pages of pan-Asian food options, from unctuous bone marrow ramen to barbecue pork noodles to a sizzling skillet of tomato-braised, Spam-studded rice covered in melty cheese that puts whatever brand of delivery chain pizza you ordered in college to shame. There are pictures of every item and a convenient menu form to fill out that cuts down on anxiety-inducing human contact, plus cold and creamy Thai tea for your dry mouth. Oh happy daze. 5000 Buford Highway, Chamblee. 678-353-6110. www.foodterminal.com. less...

Best gas station snack

Rap Snacks
Although obvious genius James “Fly” Lindsay invented RAP SNACKS in Philadelphia back in 1994, the self-described “official snacks of hip-hop” didn’t go mainstream until last summer, when a regional re-launch brought them to shelves up and down the East Coast (including Atlanta). Migos, ourmore...
Although obvious genius James “Fly” Lindsay invented RAP SNACKS in Philadelphia back in 1994, the self-described “official snacks of hip-hop” didn’t go mainstream until last summer, when a regional re-launch brought them to shelves up and down the East Coast (including Atlanta). Migos, our hometown heroes, helped with the brand’s reinvention, lending both their faces and an auto-tune-happy promotional jingle dubbed “Dab of Ranch” to accompany their signature potato chip flavor: Sour Cream with a Dab of Ranch (naturally). Best of all, each bag of snacks features a uncanny valley likeness of its namesake rapper plus an inspirational quote on the back like this one from the Migos: “Dabbin’ is a lifestyle.” The newest crop of Rap Snacks includes Lil Yachty’s Owee crunchy curls and Trina’s honeydew cheese puffs. Yes, honeydew cheese puffs. We just love Rap Snacks so much. www.rapsnacks.net. less...

Best French

Bread & Butterfly Bread & Butterfly

Best street character

Baton Bob
batonbob.weebly.com

Best MARTA station

Peachtree Center Station

artwork by Bhargava Chiluveru

www.itsmarta.com

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

Best park

Piedmont Park Piedmont Park

Best rec league

Atlanta Rollergirls

www.atlantarollergirls.com

photo by: Lindsey Max/ CL File

Best city view

I-85 South access bridge

Best public pool

Piedmont Park Aquatic Center and Pool

Best gathering spot for Atlanta

The Gathering Spot The Gathering Spot
Launched by Ryan Wilson and TK Peterson in 2016 with a mission to serve as a members-only club for the city’s growing population of professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs, THE GATHERING SPOT could have easily turned into nothing more than a see-and-be-seen kind of destination. But, serving as amore...

Launched by Ryan Wilson and TK Peterson in 2016 with a mission to serve as a members-only club for the city’s growing population of professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs, THE GATHERING SPOT could have easily turned into nothing more than a see-and-be-seen kind of destination. But, serving as a venue for conversations on investing in local artists and for launching new businesses like the African-American culture website Cassiuslife.com, it quickly evolved into a space where some of Atlanta’s best and brightest congregated to work and collaborate — not pose. And with plans in the works to open a second Gathering Spot in another market, chances are good that opportunities to connect and develop community will grow as well. 384 Northyards Blvd. N.W. 404-948-2459. www.thegatheringspot.club.

Spot for Atlanta’s Shakers and Movers

photo by: Lindsey Max

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Best way to celebrate Mother's Day

Black Mama's Bail Out
Organized by members of the Atlanta-based group Southerners on New Ground and a coalition of other concerned local organizations, BLACK MAMA’S BAIL OUT took an often-commercial holiday and flipped it into an opportunity to help transform lives. The initiative raised $520,000 to bail out mothers frommore...

Organized by members of the Atlanta-based group Southerners on New Ground and a coalition of other concerned local organizations, BLACK MAMA’S BAIL OUT took an often-commercial holiday and flipped it into an opportunity to help transform lives. The initiative raised $520,000 to bail out mothers from jails in 16 cities across the nation, including Atlanta. The AJC reported in May that the two-day effort freed 17 women locally who otherwise didn’t have resources to get bailed out on their own. In a system that affects the lives of minorities and the poor in the worst ways, programs like this are sadly needed to tip the scales, if ever so slightly. www.southernersonnewground.org.

(from left - Shanti Moore, Akiva Freidlin, Mary Hooks, Kate Shapiro and Micky Bradford)

photo by: Brandon English

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Best teen-focused nonprofit

re:Imagine ATL
You’ve got to love an organization whose sole mission is to help young adults channel their energy and creative into something positive — and that’s just what RE:IMAGINE ATL is all about. Founded and helmed by Executive Director Susanna Spiccia, the group teaches kids the fundamentals of videomore...
You’ve got to love an organization whose sole mission is to help young adults channel their energy and creative into something positive — and that’s just what RE:IMAGINE ATL is all about. Founded and helmed by Executive Director Susanna Spiccia, the group teaches kids the fundamentals of video production, filmmaking, podcasting and more, and then unleashes them to create their own content. The nonprofit also provides numerous opportunities for its teen creators to meet, learn from and be critiqued by professionals in the field at a variety of regular networking events. It’s a good group, y’all. Check ’em out, and show some support. www.reimagineatl.com. less...

Best advocate for the homeless

Anita Beaty
Synonyms for the word “advocate” include: supporter, proponent, spokeswoman, fighter, crusader. ANITA BEATY, who used to run the Southeast’s largest homeless shelter, Peachtree-Pine, resembles all those descriptors and much more. For 20 years, she broke bread with the shelter’s “guests,”more...

Synonyms for the word “advocate” include: supporter, proponent, spokeswoman, fighter, crusader. ANITA BEATY, who used to run the Southeast’s largest homeless shelter, Peachtree-Pine, resembles all those descriptors and much more. For 20 years, she broke bread with the shelter’s “guests,” led them in marches to vote at the polls, spoke out alongside them in neighborhood meetings, and fought the City — among others — on their behalf time and time again. While we may no longer see her speaking from the City Hall podium as spokeswoman for Peachtree-Pine, which will close this month, we’re not convinced Beaty won’t remain the staunch advocate for a more just and equal Atlanta she’s long been. www.facebook.com/anita.l.beaty.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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Best TV mogul on the rise

Diamonde Williamson
Although DIAMONDE WILLIAMSON officially launched her online TV network, Blossom, in February, you can’t really skirt over how big of a deal the whole concept is. It’s probably the only Netflix-style, subscription-based video platform in the U.S. that presents content by and targeted to women of colormore...
Although DIAMONDE WILLIAMSON officially launched her online TV network, Blossom, in February, you can’t really skirt over how big of a deal the whole concept is. It’s probably the only Netflix-style, subscription-based video platform in the U.S. that presents content by and targeted to women of color (such as the talk show “Melanin Mommas”) — and that’s something no stinking-rich media company has ever endeavored to do. But leave it to Williamson and her team at this Atlanta-based startup to boldly go where no has before. Looks like the revolution will be televised after all. www.watchblossom.com. less...

Best movie studio shooting flicks in Atlanta

Marvel
All that talk about Atlanta being the “Hollywood of the South” sure rings true these days, with multiple movies being shot all over the metro area on an almost daily basis. But one studio seems to be more all-in when it comes to filming in the ATL than any other: MARVEL. Whether it’s down southmore...
All that talk about Atlanta being the “Hollywood of the South” sure rings true these days, with multiple movies being shot all over the metro area on an almost daily basis. But one studio seems to be more all-in when it comes to filming in the ATL than any other: MARVEL. Whether it’s down south in Fayetteville at the Pinewood Atlanta Studios soundstages or on the streets of Downtown, the folks at Marvel are mounting their copious comic book adaptations — blockbusters like Spider-Man, Black Panther and The Avengers — at a breakneck pace. And with films already in production for years to come, get ready to see costumed-clad folks running around town for a good long while. www.marvel.com. less...

Best thrift store

Lost-n-Found Thrift & Consignment Store

Best kids clothing

The Little Nest

Best laundromat

Blusion Wash and Dry

Best wax studio

Sweet Peach Wax Studio

Best yoga instructor

Swami Jaya Devi Bhagavati

Best wine shop

The Wine Cellars The Wine Cellars

Best place to shop and do some good

Bigmouthben Convenience Store
Benjamin “Bigmouthben” Graham battled drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness for almost two decades before getting his life back on track. Once he did, Graham dedicated himself to his art (a style of rap known as “hope-hop”) and, with the help of his wife Tanya Graham, opened the BIGMOUTHBENmore...
Benjamin “Bigmouthben” Graham battled drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness for almost two decades before getting his life back on track. Once he did, Graham dedicated himself to his art (a style of rap known as “hope-hop”) and, with the help of his wife Tanya Graham, opened the BIGMOUTHBEN CONVENIENCE STORE on Auburn Avenue. The shop, located three blocks from where he used to sleep under a bridge, not only sells groceries and souvenirs but also serves as a resource for Atlantans in need, providing free water, clothes and a helping hand. So by shopping with the Grahams, you not only support a worthy local business — you help support the community at large. 370 Auburn Ave., Suite A. 404-331-3973. www.bigmouthbenstores.com. less...

Best way to catch blockbusters at the multiplex

Regal Atlantic Station Stadium 18
If you’re a regular moviegoer in Atlanta, you undoubtedly know there are plenty of swanky options available when it comes to where and how you watch films — from theaters with gigantic plush seats to spots with fancy food and more. But the best VIP viewing in town can be found at REGAL ATLANTIC STATIONmore...
If you’re a regular moviegoer in Atlanta, you undoubtedly know there are plenty of swanky options available when it comes to where and how you watch films — from theaters with gigantic plush seats to spots with fancy food and more. But the best VIP viewing in town can be found at REGAL ATLANTIC STATION STADIUM 18. Sure, Atlantic Station can be a bit of a tourist trap, but tucked in the back of its busy multiplex is a surprisingly chill cinematic retreat, complete with adult beverages, private bathrooms, super-comfortable screening rooms with tons of room and more. Plus: It’s a 21-plus zone, so you don’t have to worry about rubbing shoulders with any of those pesky tweens. 261 19th St. N.W., Suite 1250. 404-347-9894. www.atlanticstation.com/movies. less...

Best established visual artist

Greg Mike

www.gregmike.com

photo by: Lindsey Max

Best gallery for otherground art

Kai Lin Art Kai Lin Art Gallery
Attend an opening at KAI LIN ART and you’ll be struck by the diversity of the folks in attendance: a congregation of all races, ages and levels of artistic expertise. That audience diversity is undoubtedly due to the divergent range of art that hangs on the gallery’s walls — which this past yearmore...

Attend an opening at KAI LIN ART and you’ll be struck by the diversity of the folks in attendance: a congregation of all races, ages and levels of artistic expertise. That audience diversity is undoubtedly due to the divergent range of art that hangs on the gallery’s walls — which this past year displayed the surreal paintings of Thomas Turner, the pop art of Chris Hobé, the patterned portraits of Lela Brunet and many more. Founded in 2008 by owner/director Yu-Kai Lin, Kai Lin Art’s mission to promote “emerging and established artists in the Southeast and beyond” is one that adds to the richness of Atlanta, on a cultural and a social level. 999 Brady Ave. N.W., Suite 7. 404-408-4248. www.kailinart.com.

(art by Tim Kent)

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best comedic mover and shaker

Ian Aber
A good comedian can make any audience laugh and an even better comedian can create opportunities for others to make people laugh. All a comic needs is wits and a stage and IAN ABER has been building up stages left and right across Atlanta. Blink and the busy jokesmith will have a new show with a new,more...

A good comedian can make any audience laugh and an even better comedian can create opportunities for others to make people laugh. All a comic needs is wits and a stage and IAN ABER has been building up stages left and right across Atlanta. Blink and the busy jokesmith will have a new show with a new, innovative angle. Whether it’s an audience-swap experiment in a ballroom, an LGBTQ-themed variety show in a club, or a grilled-cheese-studded affair in an alt room, Aber is growing the comedy scene and growing his career in the process. It’s not just the quantity of rooms Aber puts together that’s impressive, but the deliberate and thoughtful way he builds his lineups, seeking to lift up those who sometimes are not as visible in comedy. www.comedyian.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best theatrical artistic director

Kenny Leon
Although KENNY LEON garnered national interest again this past December when he directed NBC’s live-TV rendition of the musical Hairspray, it’s the Tony Award winner’s work with the Atlanta-based True Colors Theatre Company that earns major props from us. Founded in 2002, True Colors has been amore...
Although KENNY LEON garnered national interest again this past December when he directed NBC’s live-TV rendition of the musical Hairspray, it’s the Tony Award winner’s work with the Atlanta-based True Colors Theatre Company that earns major props from us. Founded in 2002, True Colors has been a catalyst behind some of the city’s most relevant and topical theatrical productions, with Leon — the company’s artistic director and co-founder — at the helm. Its most recent season of plays, for example, touched on the nation’s public school system and mental illness, among other real-life issues — but done in a way that’s not heavy-handed or preachy. Add to that the fact that True Color’s productions are held at the Southwest Arts Center, bringing quality theater to communities that have often been overlooked, and it’s clear Leon’s influence reverberates well beyond the stage. www.kennyleon.com. less...

Best (freaky) free outdoor art gallery

Doll's Head Trail
Out past the Starlight Drive-In Theatre, heading south on Moreland Avenue is an Atlanta cultural gem: the mythical DOLL’S HEAD TRAIL. Created by ATL’s Joel Slaton, the trail is an outsider art exhibit with enough weirdness and compelling art made from refuse to leave you contemplating its existencemore...

Out past the Starlight Drive-In Theatre, heading south on Moreland Avenue is an Atlanta cultural gem: the mythical DOLL’S HEAD TRAIL. Created by ATL’s Joel Slaton, the trail is an outsider art exhibit with enough weirdness and compelling art made from refuse to leave you contemplating its existence for days. The trail is part of a bigger path at Constitution Lakes, a DeKalb County park that includes some wonderful boardwalks across swampy terrain and hiking trails. Among bird songs and occasional train whistles, discombobulated dolls, broken TVs and rusted car parts have been repurposed into ingenious monuments to modern follies. Found objects, which otherwise might litter the trail, are reconstructed into thought-provoking moments. Freaky and provocative, cheesy and authentic, the Doll’s Head Trail is completely original and strangely beautiful. Constitution Lakes Park, 1305 S. River Industrial Boulevard.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best YouTuber

Qaadir F. Howard
QAADIR F. HOWARD is one of Atlanta’s master “draggers” — i.e., he excels at taking people, places and things to task in front of a camera in the most hilarious ways. Click on over to his popular YouTube channel and check him ripping the Real Housewives of Atlanta, Donald Trump and even his co-workers,more...
QAADIR F. HOWARD is one of Atlanta’s master “draggers” — i.e., he excels at taking people, places and things to task in front of a camera in the most hilarious ways. Click on over to his popular YouTube channel and check him ripping the Real Housewives of Atlanta, Donald Trump and even his co-workers, all served up utilizing his trademarked rapid-fire delivery style. His clips are straight-up confessional vlogs with minimal editing, but what they lack in bells and whistles, Howard makes up for in uncensored, no-holds-barred reading. Bottom line: Dude is a trip. www.youtube.com/user/Timaya. less...

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