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If Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford, coauthors of the extraordinary Flatbreads & Flavors, ever come to Atlanta, I want to take them straight to Nazifa Garib’s humble bakery. The hand-painted sign above the door and the improvised nature of the space would remind them of their fieldwork documenting traditional recipes from around the world. We would tear into large, flat rounds of simple bread just peeled from a freestanding tandoor and share a vivid and timeless moment.
Federico Castellucci III understands hospitality. He appears at our table moments after we're seated at his Decatur restaurant, the Iberian Pig. Wearing glasses with thick but modish black rims, he looks like an olive-skinned Clark Kent—and radiates that character’s earnestness, too. "Folks, thanks for stopping in," he begins, smiling and extending his arms. "I’m a fifth-generation restaurateur. My family has been in this business for a hundred years. So if I’m not doing something right, there’s definitely something wrong."
Walking around in downtown Decatur on a recent blazing hot July afternoon, I made a beeline when I spotted signage for The Yogurt Tap, a new frozen yogurt shop that Micropundit put on my radar a couple of weeks ago. Sadly, there was still butcher paper up on the windows in the former Houseworks space on Church street, and I peeked inside to find a contractor hard at work on the unfinished space.
It isn’t easy for independent coffee shops to fight corporate giants that crowd the market and deliver a uniform taste. Some independents rely on the personality of their baristas, the quality of their furniture, the ease of their Internet connections, and the extent of their merchandising. Many pride themselves on having better, more ethical beans. But what distinguishes a newcomer in the Emory Village, a place so focused and so good that some coffee nerds are waving bye-bye to their usual haunts, is primarily a technique.