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Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

Poets Critics Dolls Main Large





2017 Index of Winners

Best co-working space BOA Award Winner

The era of the co-working space is in full effect in Atlanta these days,, but all these startup-focused spots are not created equal. Leading this increasingly crowded pack is SWITCHYARDS DOWNTOWN CLUB, although it’s not totally because of its cool work areas, funky auditorium, espresso bar or ping-pongmore...

The era of the co-working space is in full effect in Atlanta these days,, but all these startup-focused spots are not created equal. Leading this increasingly crowded pack is SWITCHYARDS DOWNTOWN CLUB, although it’s not totally because of its cool work areas, funky auditorium, espresso bar or ping-pong table. None of that matters as much as the fact that SDC seems to cultivate and nurture a vibe that is uniquely Downtown: creative, down-to-earth, more about substance and less about flash. In the process, drawing entrepreneurs — like Bhargava and Anu Chiluveru of the art-focused e-commerce startup fourofour, and Tallia Deljou and Kate Gremillion of the women-centric career development company Mavenly + Co. — who share those same values to work and create there. 151 Ted Turner Drive N.W. www.switchyards.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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Best natural hair salon BOA Award Winner

The Good Hair Shop

Best nail salon BOA Award Winner

Lark and Sparrow

Best spa BOA Award Winner

Best gym BOA Award Winner

The Rack Athletic Performance Center

Best liquor store BOA Award Winner

Green's Beverages

Best CSA BOA Award Winner

Bliss Farm

Best bike shop BOA Award Winner

Best veterinarian clinic BOA Award Winner

Tucker Animal Hospital

Best store for made-in-Atlanta goods BOA Award Winner

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 BOA Award Winner

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 BOA Award Winner

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 BOA Award Winner

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 BOA Award Winner

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 BOA Award Winner

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 food truck BOA Award Winner

King Kabob

photo by: Joeff Davis

Best doughnut BOA Award Winner

Revolution Doughnuts

Best fried chicken BOA Award Winner

Matthews Cafeteria

Best cocktails BOA Award Winner

Red Phone Booth

Best jucies/smoothies BOA Award Winner

Arden's Garden

Best gluten-free oasis BOA Award Winner

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 BOA Award Winner

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 BOA Award Winner

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 BOA Award Winner

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 BOA Award Winner

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 BOA Award Winner

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 BOA Award Winner

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best patio dining BOA Award Winner

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best hamburger BOA Award Winner

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Best french fries BOA Award Winner

Fred's Meat and Bread

best nonprofit BOA Award Winner

Bert's Big Adventure

Best landmark BOA Award Winner

Best hotel BOA Award Winner

Hotel Indigo - Downtown

Best dog park BOA Award Winner

Best radio station BOA Award Winner

Rock 100.5 (WNNX-FM)

Best public skatepark BOA Award Winner

Old Fourth Ward Skatepark

Best community garden BOA Award Winner

The Wylde Center

Best reason to mix music and politics BOA Award Winner

WakeATL
Life in the shadow of the Trump presidency has everyone on edge. As social media continues its stranglehold on how we the people engage in ridiculously rigorous debate, it seems the war between good and evil has reached a stalemate on the digital battlefield. The semi-monthly WAKEATL events — hostedmore...
Life in the shadow of the Trump presidency has everyone on edge. As social media continues its stranglehold on how we the people engage in ridiculously rigorous debate, it seems the war between good and evil has reached a stalemate on the digital battlefield. The semi-monthly WAKEATL events — hosted by experimental hip-hop outfit Wake — give Atlantans an outlet to lobby for the forces of good in the real world by bridging music and art scenes with social justice activism. Everyone from mayoral hopeful Vincent Fort to the Housing Justice League have made appearances, while hip-hop and off-kilter rock acts such as Chew, Stacy Epps, Victor Mariachi, Working Class Music, Lingua Franca and more regularly tear up the stages from 529 to Aisle 5. The motivation is always to give people resources to become more socially conscious and active in their daily lives. Topics of discussion have focused on police brutality, gentrification and more affecting local communities. And while each event is high-intensity, it’s done more to engage the community and hold each other accountable for their actions than it is to celebrate. Viva la revolution! www.facebook.com/wakeATL. less...

Best local accessories maker BOA Award Winner

Margaret Vera

Best caterer BOA Award Winner

South of Heaven BBQ

Best barber shop BOA Award Winner

Freedom Barber

Best crossfit BOA Award Winner

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