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Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

Poets Critics Dolls Main Large





2017 Index of Winners

Best veterinarian clinic

Tucker Animal Hospital

Best store for made-in-Atlanta goods

Coco + Mischa
Small but mighty should be the motto for this Decatur boutique, which opened last year. Products from more than 20 Atlanta artists and designers have found a home inside COCO + MISCHA, which sports a boho-industrial feel with its concrete ceiling and vintage wood furniture for displaying goods. The storemore...

Small but mighty should be the motto for this Decatur boutique, which opened last year. Products from more than 20 Atlanta artists and designers have found a home inside COCO + MISCHA, which sports a boho-industrial feel with its concrete ceiling and vintage wood furniture for displaying goods. The store is especially focused on propelling small makers with sustainable practices; among the local names you can expect are Fossil & Hide (metal jewelry inspired by rock ’n’ roll), Paper Raven Co. (illustration-inspired stationery), and Maum Goods Company (bath and body goods made from essential oils). 245 E. Trinity Place, Suite 1212, Decatur. 470-875-5717. www.cocoandmischa.com

photo by: Lindsey Max

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Best all-killer-and-no-filler used record store

Ella Guru Record Shop
ELLA GURU RECORD SHOP doesn’t have the biggest selection of used LPs in town, but it certainly has the best records you’ll find anywhere outside of eBay. Tucked away in a quiet LaVista Road strip mall in unincorporated DeKalb County’s Leafmore Creek Park, owner Don Radcliffe has culled togethermore...
ELLA GURU RECORD SHOP doesn’t have the biggest selection of used LPs in town, but it certainly has the best records you’ll find anywhere outside of eBay. Tucked away in a quiet LaVista Road strip mall in unincorporated DeKalb County’s Leafmore Creek Park, owner Don Radcliffe has culled together one of the most meticulously curated selections the metro area has ever seen. From rare Marion Brown and Wadada Leo Smith compilations to Cecil Taylor’s first record on the Candid label, the jazz records alone are the stuff of dreams. But Radcliffe also keeps the shelves stocked with an ever-shifting supply of no-nonsense rock ’n’ roll, power pop, R&B and indie must-haves from the ’60s through the ’80s and even some ’90s gems. Whether you’re looking to cop a good record by anyone from Dire Straits to Dwight Twilley, Sonic Youth to Nurse With Wound, there’s something in those racks you’ve been looking to scoop up for years. Know your budget, though. The records are fairly priced, the people behind the counter know what you’re looking for, even if you don’t, and there’s enough high-quality merchandise in the crates to break the bank. 2747 LaVista Road, Decatur. 404-883-2413. www.facebook.com/EllaGuruRecordStore. less...

Best salon for one-of-a-kind nail art

Treat Your Nails
There’s no shortage of salons that’ll adorn your nails with foils, chrome powder, gel polishes in every shade of the rainbow, and more festive embellishments (like studs and fur), but TREAT YOUR NAILS wins the creativity-meets-cost matrix. At this Buford Highway outpost, customers can choose frommore...

There’s no shortage of salons that’ll adorn your nails with foils, chrome powder, gel polishes in every shade of the rainbow, and more festive embellishments (like studs and fur), but TREAT YOUR NAILS wins the creativity-meets-cost matrix. At this Buford Highway outpost, customers can choose from binders upon binders of floral, geometric and galaxy-inspired patterns — or come with their own designs for the manicurist to replicate. Basic manicures start at just $14, while a gel manicure runs you $30. From there you’ll pay extra based on how complex your nail art wishes might be. Foils, for example, start at $5 a pair, but the price drops per unit if you want more. The last time we visited, we walked out with a custom design with regular polish for $25 — or about the same price you’d pay for a plain manicure at more high-end spots. 5938 Buford Highway N.E., Suite 106, Doraville. 770-458-1756. www.treatyournailsatl.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best makeup store

Victoria Cosmetics Victoria Cosmetics
Those looking for over-the-counter mainstays or the newest lip kit from a Kardashian sister need not visit VICTORIA COSMETICS. This unassuming store, tucked in the middle of a strip mall, is a haven for cheap and delightfully weird beauty goods, like snail gel or a sake yeast mask, most of which costsmore...

Those looking for over-the-counter mainstays or the newest lip kit from a Kardashian sister need not visit VICTORIA COSMETICS. This unassuming store, tucked in the middle of a strip mall, is a haven for cheap and delightfully weird beauty goods, like snail gel or a sake yeast mask, most of which costs less than $10. Some of the makeup seems to be geared toward Asian shoppers — like double eyelid tape or whitening creams and washes — but anyone with an appreciation for quirky beauty products will find something to like in this shop. 5150 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-457-1413.

photo by: Lindsey Max

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Best locally based online fashion retailer

Zuvaa
Kelechi Anyadiegwu started her online retail shop, ZUVAA, in 2014 after finding it was often difficult to get her hands on African-inspired clothing and accessories. Fast-forward three years later, and consumer appetite for designs from the Motherland has only increased, fueling the growth of Anyadiegwu’smore...
Kelechi Anyadiegwu started her online retail shop, ZUVAA, in 2014 after finding it was often difficult to get her hands on African-inspired clothing and accessories. Fast-forward three years later, and consumer appetite for designs from the Motherland has only increased, fueling the growth of Anyadiegwu’s company — which is currently based in Atlanta — into a multimillion-dollar venture. Folks interested in snagging pattern-drenched headwraps, dresses, jackets and other gear from Zuvaa can purchase items from its website or from the series of traveling pop-up shops it mounts at locales around the U.S. (including the ATL). www.zuvaa.com. less...

Best place to buy a rock

Crystal Blue Crystal Blue
CRYSTAL BLUE’s cosmic rays radiate from the heart of Little Five Points. There you can get all the stones you need for worship, for healing or just to savor the Earth’s beauty. With a huge amount of inventory in the 75 cent-$6 range, Crystal Blue is a great place to purchase meaningful, soul-nourishingmore...

CRYSTAL BLUE’s cosmic rays radiate from the heart of Little Five Points. There you can get all the stones you need for worship, for healing or just to savor the Earth’s beauty. With a huge amount of inventory in the 75 cent-$6 range, Crystal Blue is a great place to purchase meaningful, soul-nourishing gifts at affordable prices. Popular items include amethyst, rose quartz, citrine and selenite, and products on display feature a karmic description of their healing properties. Other items at Crystal Blue include chimes, gongs, sage ($1 an inch) and Tibetan singing bowls (starting at $40). Opened in 1985 in the same storefront it currently occupies, Crystal Blue is onto the third generation of the founding family working in the store; now that’s good karma. 1168 Euclid Ave. N.E. 404-522-4605. www.facebook.com/crystalblue1168.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best mural

Hosea Williams by Fabian Williams (at Studioplex)

Best museum

High Museum of Art High Museum of Art

Best play

Invasion: Christmas Carol Dad's Garage Theatre

Best film made in Atlanta

Baby Driver

www.babydriver-movie.com

photo by: Wilson Webb

Best curator

Karen Comer Lowe Chastain Arts Center
KAREN COMER LOWE, director of the Chastain Arts Center, has been putting in great work for years, but she made major waves this summer when she curated a buzz-worthy exhibition for celebrated artist Hebru Brantley. With the show, titled Clay Pigeons, Lowe was able to coax the Chicago-based Clark Atlantamore...

KAREN COMER LOWE, director of the Chastain Arts Center, has been putting in great work for years, but she made major waves this summer when she curated a buzz-worthy exhibition for celebrated artist Hebru Brantley. With the show, titled Clay Pigeons, Lowe was able to coax the Chicago-based Clark Atlanta University graduate to mount his first solo exhibit in the ATL in four years — one that tackled social issues like police brutality and racism in ways he’d never displayed before. But helming Clay Pigeons was just the latest major move for Lowe, who’s built a career on throwing shine to super-talented artists — such as Yanique Norman, Fabian Williams and Fahamu Pecou — early in their artistic development. And with a lauded new collection featuring the work of Cosmo Whyte currently hanging at the Center, she shows no signs of slowing down or changing course. www.ocaatlanta.com/chastain.

art by Hebru Brantley

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best comic book writer

Van Jensen
VAN JENSEN started out his career in comics nearly 10 years ago writing off-kilter indie comics, but it didn’t take long for him to snag assignments writing big-time superhero comics for the mainstream publishers. This year, however, he made a return to his offbeat roots with a handful of choice gigsmore...
VAN JENSEN started out his career in comics nearly 10 years ago writing off-kilter indie comics, but it didn’t take long for him to snag assignments writing big-time superhero comics for the mainstream publishers. This year, however, he made a return to his offbeat roots with a handful of choice gigs from a gaggle of comic houses: the science fiction series Fallen Suns (out this month), a graphic novel adaptation of the James Bond classic Casino Royale (to be released in October), and the Deep South crime thriller Two Dead he’s creating with March illustrator Nate Powell (coming in 2018), among other projects. He also carved out time to direct his first short film, titled Pisser, about a guy’s mission to take a spatter-free, well, piss. And, on top of all that, the guy even works with local schools, teaching kids how to make their own comics. So, while he may not being writing about spandex-clad heroes at the moment, he’s banging out a superhuman-level workload — and we’re all better as a result. www.twitter.com/van_jensen. less...

Best comedy venue

The Village Theatre

Best reason to be excited about the future of dance in Atlanta

Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre Westside Cultural Arts Center
TERMINUS MODERN BALLET THEATRE doesn’t make its debut until October, but we can’t help but be hyped about the possibilities this company presents. Made up of a veritable supergroup of five principal dancers — Heath Gill, Tara Lee, John Welker, Rachel Van Buskirk and Christian Clark — who formerlymore...

TERMINUS MODERN BALLET THEATRE doesn’t make its debut until October, but we can’t help but be hyped about the possibilities this company presents. Made up of a veritable supergroup of five principal dancers — Heath Gill, Tara Lee, John Welker, Rachel Van Buskirk and Christian Clark — who formerly performed with Atlanta Ballet, this scrappy new venture promises (as its name suggests) to meld modern and ballet influences and create works that channel the unique spirit of our city. And the fact that they’ll be taking the stage in a newly constructed space within the Westside Cultural Arts Center (a spot that’s not exactly associated with dance) makes their impending unveiling even more unconventional … and exciting. 760 10th St. N.W. www.terminus-serenbe.com.

(From left - Rachel Van Buskirk, Heath Gill, Christian Clark, John Welker and Tara Lee)

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best dark horse in the running

J.I.D
Following the critical success of this year's The Never Story, J.I.D is firmly planted in hip-hop's conscious. The Spillage Village MC is the latest spitter to align himself with J. Cole's Dreamville imprint and may be the first out of the broadening collective to make a true move toward the mass appreciationmore...
Following the critical success of this year's The Never Story, J.I.D is firmly planted in hip-hop's conscious. The Spillage Village MC is the latest spitter to align himself with J. Cole's Dreamville imprint and may be the first out of the broadening collective to make a true move toward the mass appreciation of their label head. Hailing from East Atlanta, J.I.D, born Destin Route, describes his music as a true-to-life depiction of his early experiences in dealing with and overcoming the struggles of growing up amid drugs, violence and gang life. He matches this realism in subject matter with a knack for rhyme that places him at the top of the heap of the city's most respected and most talented lyricists. Pair that with an innate ear for melody, and it's looking like J.I.D might just be next to blow up. www.dreamville.com/artist/j-i-d. less...

Best overall music act

6lack
6LACK, the artist born Ricardo Valdez Valentine, took the city by storm in 2017. The sounds of his thick-as-molasses debut album, Free 6lack (Love Renaissance/Interscope), are more R&B than hip-hop, but when Valdez raps, his lyrics and delivery are on point in songs such as "Rules," "PRBLMS" andmore...
6LACK, the artist born Ricardo Valdez Valentine, took the city by storm in 2017. The sounds of his thick-as-molasses debut album, Free 6lack (Love Renaissance/Interscope), are more R&B than hip-hop, but when Valdez raps, his lyrics and delivery are on point in songs such as "Rules," "PRBLMS" and "Alone / EA6." 6lack's slow lyrical glide through dense, atmospheric production courtesy of Singawd, FWDSLXSH and Nova paint a chilly, nocturnal landscape that crept up on the city and the rest of the country, earning platinum sales for "PRBLMS." To celebrate his victory Valdez chopped off his dreads, which sent the public into a bit of a tizzy. It wasn't enough to hinder his phoenix-like ascent, though. 6lack's allure, presence and gravitas transcend simple vanity. Free 6lack is the spearhead of an artistic renaissance for Atlanta in the post-trap era, leading a return to mellow melodies and unconditionally excellence in the name of Southern aesthetics. www.free6lack.com. less...

Best film festival

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
It’s hard nailing down one singular reason why the ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL is the city’s best, so here are a few: 1) It consistently serves up dozens of high-quality big- and small-budget shorts and feature-length films; 2) screenings take place at theaters across the city at a wide range ofmore...
It’s hard nailing down one singular reason why the ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL is the city’s best, so here are a few: 1) It consistently serves up dozens of high-quality big- and small-budget shorts and feature-length films; 2) screenings take place at theaters across the city at a wide range of days and times (this year there were more than 200); 3) audiences have copious opportunities to interact with filmmakers and other folks behind the camera; 3) and, maybe most importantly, despite being a festival that focuses on the experiences of Jewish people, the AJFF offers a lineup of films that are diverse in style, subject matter, geographical origin and more, sure to appeal to movie lovers of all backgrounds. www.ajff.org. less...

Best food truck

King Kabob

photo by: Joeff Davis

Best Southern

The Colonnade Restaurant The Colonnade Restaurant

Best doughnut

Revolution Doughnuts

Best fried chicken

Matthews Cafeteria

Best cocktails

Red Phone Booth

Best jucies/smoothies

Arden's Garden

Best gluten-free oasis

Mediterranea
Housed inside an old trolley depot with a rooftop patio overlooking Ormond Park, MEDITERRANEA has been a more-than-welcome addition to the Grant Park neighborhood, and to celiacs all over the city. It’s the first full-service gluten-free restaurant in Atlanta, but it’s also so much more than that.more...
Housed inside an old trolley depot with a rooftop patio overlooking Ormond Park, MEDITERRANEA has been a more-than-welcome addition to the Grant Park neighborhood, and to celiacs all over the city. It’s the first full-service gluten-free restaurant in Atlanta, but it’s also so much more than that. With a menu of innovative, vegetable-driven dishes that pull from Italian, Greek, French and Israeli cuisines, the restaurant lives by author Michael Pollan’s simple edict: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” At dinner, you’ll find herb-roasted chicken or shrimp with manchego polenta alongside a number of hearty vegan options like roasted beet risotto or chard dolmas. The lunches and brunches are killer, too (gluten-free peach mascarpone French toast, anyone?), and there’s a sophisticated wine list and an array of classic cocktails on hand. And definitely, definitely don’t skip dessert. 332 Ormond St. S.E. 404-748-4219. www.mediterraneaatl.com. less...

Best brunch revolution

Brush Sushi Izakaya Brush Sushi Izakaya
There are countless brunches in Atlanta, but there is nothing like chef Jason Liang’s at Downtown Decatur’s BRUSH SUSHI IZAKAYA. He shakes up the typical ATL a.m. routine with a serving of Japanese tradition: super fluffy pancakes (both sweet and savory), lovely rice bowls with assorted treasuresmore...
There are countless brunches in Atlanta, but there is nothing like chef Jason Liang’s at Downtown Decatur’s BRUSH SUSHI IZAKAYA. He shakes up the typical ATL a.m. routine with a serving of Japanese tradition: super fluffy pancakes (both sweet and savory), lovely rice bowls with assorted treasures from the sea and a sizeable selection of sushi rolls. The eggs here are ajitsuke: marinated, soft-boiled, and resting atop oodles of noodles in a lobster or manila clam broth. Liang has gained a following for his skillful omakase presentation, but you haven’t seen his full range until you’ve had a Brush with his brunch. 316 Church St., Decatur, 678-949-9412. www.brushatl.com. less...

Best industry trend

Mindfully Sober Subculture
There is a new sort of sustainability being talked about among our food and beverage community — an industry with a well-documented tendency toward substance abuse. A MINDFULLY SOBER SUBCULTURE is emerging with the message that drugs and alcohol need not go hand-in-hand with restaurant work. This year,more...
There is a new sort of sustainability being talked about among our food and beverage community — an industry with a well-documented tendency toward substance abuse. A MINDFULLY SOBER SUBCULTURE is emerging with the message that drugs and alcohol need not go hand-in-hand with restaurant work. This year, local chefs Nick Melvin and Sean Brock have shared their journeys toward sobriety with a badge of honor. The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival offered a “Chill Space” for chefs and bartenders to be spirited without the spirits. Restaurateur Steve Palmer started Ben’s Friends, a support group “offering hope to the F&B industry.” Named for late chef Ben Murray, the group meets at 11 a.m. every Sunday at Westside’s O-Ku to bring the community together with “open ears, hearts, and minds.” The tone is communal, not preachy, and we think that’s pretty great. www.bensfriendshope.com/atlanta. less...

Best local coffee company

Radio Roasters
Now that Atlanta is well saturated with good coffee shops, the micro-roasters are the ones making waves — especially in the wake of regional player Revelator snapping up and rebranding local darling Octane. RADIO ROASTERS is all about serving ATL, and both its single-origin coffees and its sleek designmore...
Now that Atlanta is well saturated with good coffee shops, the micro-roasters are the ones making waves — especially in the wake of regional player Revelator snapping up and rebranding local darling Octane. RADIO ROASTERS is all about serving ATL, and both its single-origin coffees and its sleek design aesthetic have us amped up. (Scope their website, and you’ll see what we mean.) Radio Roasters was founded in 2013 by Chip Grabow, whose background lies in news media with NPR and CNN, but the business has kept a relatively low profile until this past year, focusing on coffees roasted to order. They now host Open Roastery Saturdays at their base in Scottdale, plus offer a free delivery zone stretching eastward from Downtown through Edgewood to Decatur and Avondale Estates — making it easy to get your hands on some killer beans. www.radioroasters.com. less...

Best Georgia beer development

Senate Bill 85
Following years of work by the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild and countless beer advocates around the state, SENATE BILL 85 was finally signed into law this year, allowing Peach State beer makers to start selling beer directly to their customers on Sept. 1. Georgia is the final state in the country to passmore...
Following years of work by the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild and countless beer advocates around the state, SENATE BILL 85 was finally signed into law this year, allowing Peach State beer makers to start selling beer directly to their customers on Sept. 1. Georgia is the final state in the country to pass such seemingly common-sense legislation, but hey, better late than never! Here’s how it works: You can now walk into a brewery and buy unlimited — well, you know, drink responsibly — beer by the glass, and you can take up to a case’s worth (up to 288 ounces) to go. Expect to see some interesting new breweries opening soon as result. less...

Best food revolutionary

Abiodun Henderson
Born in Brooklyn as the daughter of a Liberian immigrant and a Black Panther, 34-year-old ABIODUN HENDERSON is no stranger to social justice. Though her parents both died young, they instilled in her a passion for helping others, whatever the cost. Eventually, Henderson joined the Occupy the Hood movement,more...
Born in Brooklyn as the daughter of a Liberian immigrant and a Black Panther, 34-year-old ABIODUN HENDERSON is no stranger to social justice. Though her parents both died young, they instilled in her a passion for helping others, whatever the cost. Eventually, Henderson joined the Occupy the Hood movement, and dedicated her own life to empowering low-income black communities. In 2016, she founded her Westview-based social business, Gangstas to Growers, to provide formerly incarcerated young men with agriculture-centered job training. Once they graduate the educational program, participants are placed into local food industry externships designed to provide the tools and connections to pursue full-time employment. Gangstas to Growers even has its own hot sauce, Sweet Sol, a lavender and turmeric flavored blend made from ingredients grown by the program’s trainees. For Henderson, food is a tool for justice. “We need education so we can do for ourselves,” she says. “Agriculture is the way.” www.facebook.com/gangstastogrowers. less...

Best restaurant to bring the kids

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

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