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Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

Poets Critics Dolls Main Large





2017 Index of Winners

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 local promoter

Glenn Goodhand of Iris Presents



Best patron for the arts

Kebbi Williams
KEBBI WILLIAMS has spent a lifetime immersed in music. Spending decades traversing the late-night music scene, and landing a gig playing sax for the Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band seems more than worthy of earning a lifetime achievement award. And sure, when he rolls up to Kevin Scott's Tuesdaymore...
KEBBI WILLIAMS has spent a lifetime immersed in music. Spending decades traversing the late-night music scene, and landing a gig playing sax for the Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band seems more than worthy of earning a lifetime achievement award. And sure, when he rolls up to Kevin Scott's Tuesday night jam sessions at Elliott Street Deli & Pub, the city's finest players turn their heads in awe. But Williams' work on the ground level truly makes a difference. As one of the proprietors of Gallery 992, he's created an outpost for the arts, music, yoga and education in the West End. His annual Music in the Park blowouts in Howell Park place young students and professional musicians on a level playing field, and engage them all with music. After watching music education programs being stripped from public schools throughout the city, Williams has worked with more than 5,100 students and more than 300 professional musicians to crowds of more than 15,000 people. Now seven years deep, and still free for all to attend, Williams has done more than his share of heavy lifting for the arts; changing hearts and minds every step of the way. www.musicintheparkatl.org/gallery-992. less...

Best sound guy

Andrew Wiggins
Since taking over Johnny Rhum's role as production manager at the Earl in August 2016, guitarist and noise specialist ANDREW WIGGINS (Caesium Mine, ex-HAWKS) has brought his high level of expertise and professionalism to sound quality and production show after show. A tech at Acorn Amplifiers by day,more...
Since taking over Johnny Rhum's role as production manager at the Earl in August 2016, guitarist and noise specialist ANDREW WIGGINS (Caesium Mine, ex-HAWKS) has brought his high level of expertise and professionalism to sound quality and production show after show. A tech at Acorn Amplifiers by day, Wiggins' sound production stands out due to his personal touches to the Earl's sound setup, such as his mid-1970s Echoplex EP-3 he sometimes chooses to run through vocals. Having learned under Rhum and Curt Wells in his earlier days as sound guy around town, Wiggins maintains the reputation the two established at the Earl, continuously braving the impairments of tinnitus and bringing his insight and meticulousness of sound to bands' performances. His expertise and service of producing consistently impeccable-sounding shows with the attention and care he takes to make artists sound their best make him a standout favorite among Best local and touring bands and an asset in the Atlanta music scene. less...

Best act to kick footwork into the future

Charolastra
In February, when Peter Roglin released CHAROLASTRA's debut cassette, God Help Us, the project appeared to be a one-man operation: Roglin kept on track by producers Anthony Nolan and Tito Mazzetta. Throughout God Help Us, songs such as "Top of the World," "Microdream" and "Is Everything as It Seems"more...
In February, when Peter Roglin released CHAROLASTRA's debut cassette, God Help Us, the project appeared to be a one-man operation: Roglin kept on track by producers Anthony Nolan and Tito Mazzetta. Throughout God Help Us, songs such as "Top of the World," "Microdream" and "Is Everything as It Seems" make fine intros to Roglin's early obsessions with hip-hop, drum and bass, Chicago footwork and spacey ambient production. But when performing live on stage, Charolastra opens up dramatically. These days Roglin hesitates to even talk about the project without diverting attention to the band he has assembled, featuring guitarist Speros Kokenes, bass player Alex Pound, saxophone player Marquinn Mason and drummer Dylan Banks. On stage, the group takes a headlong dive into cosmic jazz excursions, bookended by Mason's towering presence walking the frontline of long, sustained moments of improv and beat-driven structures. Roglin lays low in the background, twisting knobs and watching over his devices with stoic presence, as the group digs into rhythms grooves and textures that transcend the instincts and temperament of modern musical trends. This is music that forges its own adventurous path from the group's collective conscious into the colorful outer regions of modern Atlanta music. www.charolastra.bandcamp.com. 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 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

Best patio dining

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best hamburger

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best french fries

Fred's Meat and Bread

Best landmark

The Fox Theatre The Fox Theatre

Best hotel

Hotel Indigo - Downtown

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