Best of Atlanta 2017
Atlanta magazine has been producing an annual Best of Atlanta list for 37 years, and we think we’ve got it down. Our team of editors and writers combs the metro area all year to determine the best places to dine, play, and shop. We’re excited to share our favorites with you. All together, these are the people and places that make our city the best place to live.
The Uplifter: How Spanx CEO Sara Blakely became one of the most inspirational women in business
That’s her schtick. She’s the cheerleader and the nerd. She’s a girly girl, but she’s also the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. This is how Sara Blakely became one of the country’s most influential women after cutting the legs off of a pair of panty hose one day 20 years ago.
Say hello to The Santaland Diaries’ new Crumpet
Award-winning actor, playwright, and screenwriter Topher Payne talks about the “exhilarating and terrifying” opportunity to take over the candy cane tights from Harold M. Leaver, who played the role of curmudgeonly elf in Horizion Theatre’s annual production for 18 years.
Don’t Miss List: Our top 5 event picks for December
Widespread Panic at the Fox, Scrooge meets improv at Dad’s Garage, and Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker
Emory students tackle unsolved, unpunished killings from the Civil Rights Movement—and draw parallels to today
Hank Klibanoff’s students are talking about running. Specifically, why an innocent black teenager would run from white cops in Macon in 1962. Simone Senibaldi, a senior, says, “The thing about running—for me and people that I know who are black—is that whenever cops are around, you run, regardless of whether you’re innocent or guilty.”
Viva Videodrome, the Atlanta video rental store that refuses to die
Videodrome, the roughly 2,000-square-foot shop at the corner of North Highland and North avenues, is the last video store standing in Atlanta that is not of the XXX variety. It is an oasis for film buffs (and the occasional visiting celebrity) who are suckers for special features, director’s cuts, or not letting Netflix’s algorithms ration out their media diets.
“They are just shadows.” For undocumented Marietta High students, fear of deportation is always there
Not feeling safe in the immigrant community is less about the fear of a mugging or car theft than the knowledge that a missing tail light may mean the end of life in the land of opportunity.
Fresh on the Scene: C. Ellet’s, Bar Mercado, Bluetop
A new steakhouse right next to SunTrust Park’s entrance, Krog Street Market’s new tapas restaurant, and historic Chamblee’s fast-casual Americana.
He Ro had never seen an oyster. Now the refugee is Kimball House’s most talented shucker.
He Ro arrived in Clarkston as a shy 15-year-old who had spent much of his life in a Karen refugee camp in Thailand after fleeing Burma as a child. Now a 24-year-old oyster shucker at Kimball House, the people at the restaurant have all become his friends. “They all love me.”
Eat This: Shakshuka at Spiller Park Toco Hills
Unlike Hugh Acheson’s counter-service coffee shop in Ponce City Market, the Toco Hills location of Spiller Park has a tiny but capable kitchen that’s taking the menu beyond apple- or avocado-loaded toast.
Home for Dinner: Mac Powell of Third Day
“We wanted to show that love can go beyond the color of your skin,” says musician Mac Powell of the blended family he’s created with his wife, Aimee. Mac tours either as a solo act or with his Christian rock band, Third Day, about 100 days out of the year, so when he’s off the road, he stays close to home and makes sure the family sits down together.
Go beyond Champagne this New Year’s with these sparkling wines
The celebratory yet stressful nature of the holiday season calls for one quencher: bubbly. The good thing is that there are options; these days, you can find world-class sparkling wines from all across the globe. The bad news: Finding the right bottle can be pretty intimidating. I’m here to help.
The Christiane Chronicles: Stop swirling your Champagne, you idiot
Champagnes and other sparkling wines are fragile! Swirl them and they’ll go flat, which means you lose the aromatics that the bubbles are meant to deliver.
Hand make your Christmas gifts at these 3 Atlanta workshops
Tired of shopping? Check out these workshops to study a new craft, and leave with a little something handmade to slide under the tree.
What 9 stylish Atlantans have on their holiday wish list
Need a little holiday shopping inspiration? We asked 9 stylish Atlantans for the one item they’re hoping to get this season, from fancy crystal-infused water bottles to pup portraits.
Wrap battle: 3 expert tips for wrapping gifts
As the owner of local gift and paper shops the Merchant and Archer Paper Goods, Daniel Collier knows a thing or two about fine presents—and presentation.
This Staplehouse bartender and his wife want to help you build a snazzy home bar
Ben and Maddie Richardson launched their online shop, Cocktail Commons, in 2016 after their house started to get “a bit crowded” with antique cocktail glasses that Ben, a Staplehouse bartender, kept acquiring while thrifting. Now, the husband-wife duo’s inventory ranges from etched Prohibition-era crystal to kitschy midcentury tumblers.
Editor’s Note: Life lessons
Our public high school had students from more than 65 different countries. A decade after graduation, my older son still has friends who are Indian, Brazilian, Korean, and American of all colors. Ramadan became as familiar a part of the academic calendar to him as Thanksgiving and Passover.
Flashback: The Pink Pig at Rich’s, 1990
In the mid-1950s, Rich’s executive Frank Pallotta had an idea: If the annual Great Tree wasn’t enough to coax holiday shoppers to Rich’s downtown department store, then a monorail would be. Dubbed the Snowland Express, the rickety three-and-a-half minute ride over the toy department—and later the roof—cost a quarter, making it a magnet for kids and a moment’s reprieve for parents to study their shopping lists.