With residents hailing from around the world, Chamblee is one of Georgia’s most multicultural communities, and it continues to grow. Since incorporating in 1908, the city has gone through a number of incarnations: first as a small rail center, then as home to an Army training base in WWI and a Naval Air base in WWII, and now as a hub for Latino and Asian immigrants. After annexing a handful of nearby neighborhoods in 2013, the city added 12,000 residents. “It’s very relaxed; you have a lot of different people,” says 41-year-old restaurateur Mike Plummer, who runs the local restaurant Southbound and has plans to open two more nearby. “There’s a lot of opportunity.”
Planes, trains, and automobiles
Thirteen miles from downtown, Chamblee is a transit nexus for the northeast metro area. Trains rattle by businesses on Peachtree Road, and commuters can hop on MARTA’s Gold Line or find easy access to I-285, I-85, and Buford Highway. It’s also home to Georgia’s second-busiest air terminal, DeKalb Peachtree Airport.
At 45 acres, Keswick Park is the largest of Chamblee’s six parks and includes trails, sports fields, a dog park, and playgrounds. Plummer’s favorite place to take family is the aviation-themed playground at DeKalb Peachtree Airport, where kids can ride mini planes while watching real take-offs and landings.
Chamblee’s restaurants reflect the diversity of its population. “We live in one of the most fantastic food areas of town because we have access to Buford Highway,” Plummer says. The dining scene has recently grown to include spots like Plummer’s Southbound, which opened in a former Masonic lodge as the neighborhood’s first farm-to-table restaurant in 2014, as well as chocolatier Maison Robert and Vintage Pizzeria.
Plummer is part of a thriving small business community that’s hoping to turn Chamblee into a destination for those outside of DeKalb County. He regularly collaborates with other local shops: Eric Brown, owner of wine store Le Caveau, consulted on Southbound’s wine list, and tea shop Zen Tea supplies some of its beverages. In 2014 Plummer cofounded the Chamblee Chamber of Commerce to help guide new business owners—like Lisa Hladish, who owns Paper Daisies Stationery, a custom wedding invite shop.
Antique Row stretches out from Peachtree Road and Broad Street. Find art nouveau at the Antique Factory—where film scouts peruse for props—and midcentury modern at the Ice House, Plummer’s favorite vintage source.
This article originally appeared in our September 2015 issue.