NFT Atlanta Decatur

Decatur

Decatur is the nicest small town in the big city. The population is fighting off recent waves of yuppies attracted by new condos built in the town’s center, but still manages to remain diverse, tolerant, and proud of it. Head east on East Ponce towards Avondale Estates and find yourself wandering through a German villa.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Sister Bars

By Jim Hunt
Bars! Who needs bars?! Jim Hunt does. Like a starving man needs a meal. But Jim was getting tired of his old libatory standby. Pesky newcomers, hygienic improvements. Jim deserved more, so he took to the open highway and found six sister bars that would fulfill an old desire: A place to hang his weary head, a bartender to soothe his gaping wounds and a niche that he could call his own. Join Jim on this journey, and never go thirsty again.

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Atlanta by Train

By Sara Cheshire
Public transportation in Atlanta? But what if you're agoraphobic or wearing heels? Sara Cheshire feels your pain, but she also likes to save on car insurance. And that's why Sara takes the MARTA. Follow her as she nimbly carries you to museums, nightclubs and puppet shows while strategically avoiding preachers and beggars. So jump on the ninth largest US rapid-transit system! With minimal body contact and foot travel, it's just the way Atlantans like it.

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On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Thumbs Up Diner
This is merely a warning to let you know of the impeding stampede that will descend upon downtown Decatur sometime in the next few weeks. The institution that is Thumbs Up Diner is coming home to Decatur--in the form of its fourth Thumbs Up offshoot--in the space that formerly housed Crescent Moon. If you've never been to one of the other three Thumbs Up Diners, please understand that this is an expansion of the highest order, and to have a Thumbs Up on every corner, a la Starbucks or McDonalds, would make the world a better, happier place. Chicken and Waffles, Fried Catfish and Eggs, and Steak and Eggs are a gospel you can't understand until you've experienced them. Keep your eye on 174 W. Ponce de Leon, and prepare to rejoice.




Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Big Peach Running
Big Peach Running Company is so much more than a shoe store. Not only does it obviate braving the big box shoe store or crappy mall chain that only carries two pairs of running shoes, the Big Peach Running Company is almost scarily obsessed with helping people find the right shoes for their running/walking lifestyle. Hell, they have an intense "fit process" that takes into account things like biomechanics, foot characteristics, and something called 'fit, feel, & ride.' You're also going to hear a lot about P.A.L., a lovely little acronym that stands for Pedestrian Active Lifestyle. Try not to snicker when they insist that you lead a 'P.A.L.' because you walk your dog around the block. Enjoy the fact that you can buy sneakers from someone who actually knows what they're talking about.




Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Greene's Fine Foods
When I drove past the former Wordsmith's building and saw the green oval sign that appropriately read "Greene's," I thought that is seemed like a nice building for the iconic liquor store to move into. Of course, I found out that this is a completely different Greene's altogether. Imagine what you would hope for a candy store to look like for a child or when you were a child, and the inside of Greene's will probably look pretty similar. A large, horseshoe glass counter protects mounds of multi-variety fudge, candy coated and plain nuts, and gummies galore. The only thing that spoiled it for me was going right after school let out, when it was packed with members of Decatur High School. Greene's is definitely worth a visit, for young relatives or friends, or your own sweet tooth.




Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Melton's App & Tap
If you need to see and be seen, Melton's App & Tap is not your sort of place. If you're into the friendly neighborhood bar scene--as in, people actually from the neighborhood walk over to have a beer on a consistent basis--then you might want to look into this little establishment. Inconspicuously located near the corner of N. Decatur and Scott Blvd, Melton's is a wonderful place to get some good food, watch a game or two, and get drunk in a perfectly laid back environment. Like so many idiosyncratic bars in Atlanta, it's not much to look at from the outside (not really on the inside, either), and the regulars seem to like it that way. Don't start going to Melton's if you don't want to attain regular status, though. She has a way of pulling you in and making you feel at home; like the good girl next door, she'll be patiently waiting for you.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Super Suppers Decatur
I promised my lady friend I'd make her a delicious dinner, forgetting that was it the same evening my fantasy football draft was taking place. Having already planned a full, post-work afternoon of researching which professional football players I would own this year (if you haven't played fantasy football, try it for a season, for the bizarro factor if nothing else), I was stuck between a potentially angry girlfriend and potentially embarrassing draft. Thus, I turned to an ace in the hole: Super Suppers. A company looking to serve busy professionals more than slacker boyfriends, Super Suppers offers to do all the home cooking for you, either by appointment or as a walk in. And for the amount of food you get, it's not a bad option if you loathe cooking, but are looking to save a little money by not dining out.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Coyote's Mexican Grill
As far as I know, there is only one state in the union where you can find drive-up daiquiri stands, shacks that make terribly strong, fruity drinks, pour them into a Styrofoam cup, slap a little tape over the straw hole and send you on your way to drink and drive as you may please. Coyote's Mexican Grill is not one of those places. I only bring it up because after tasting their margaritas, I wished they would open the boarded up old drive through window and serve up those tangy drinks that efficiently. The line would stretch for miles. It's not hard to notice that Coyote's building used to be a fast food establishment, but you'll forget soon enough after tasting their surprisingly good food, or after a few of those special margaritas.



Posted By:  Katherine Dean
Photo:  Katherine Dean

Melton's App & Tap
Like most Atlantans, I love having a shiny new friend to play with. Hip and novel eateries with the latest in food fashion always find their way to the top of my "to try" list. But every now and then, I am compelled to hang with a pal from the past: Melton's App and Tap (established 1994--pretty ancient by ATL standards). Located in the shortest and crappiest strip mall ever conceived at the intersection of N. Decatur Rd. and Scott Blvd., Melton's is the quintessential neighborhood pub, complete with various regulars that include a strange assortment of cyclists; beer-needing, Decatur-dwelling parents who drag the kids in after a little league game; and, of course, a couple of weird old guys. The place is far from fancy and the tables are always a little sticky, but Melton's has got a fantastic beer selection and the some of the best bar bites the city has to offer. Appetizers, especially a gut-busting plate of the Irish Nachos, are large enough to share and pair with a pitcher of whatever's on draught. Sure, the novelty of Melton's wore off years ago, but when you find occasion, catch up with this old pal.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Sushi Avenue
You go to the Brick Store Pub on a Friday night, 7:00 P.M., you know it's going to be packed, but you give it a shot, anyway. And they tell you it's going to be at least an hour wait. Walk over the new square, down the opposite steps, and see what the situation's like at Sushi Avenue on the Square. I'm no sushi expert, and I know Atlanta gets a lot of grief for its sushi, but I find the rolls at Sushi Avenue pretty damn good. Sure, they got the staples--California and all--as well as specialty rolls like the Decatur. For those out there who think sushi the perfect hangover cure, but wish they could get a bit more raw fish for their buck, try one of Sushi Avenue's box lunch specials. You get an enormous amount of food for a ridiculously good value, leaving you and your liver ready and able to take another self-inflicted beating.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

The Depeaux Restaurant
Still sad you didn't make it to Mardi Gras this year? Pretty sure your piddling salary will keep you home next year, too? Decatur's Depeaux might be the next best thing to skipping through the vomit and piss-laden streets of the French Quarter. In a building that was originally a train station, then a skeezy dance club, you'll find Cajun food and fun the likes of which are rare to find outside Louisiana. Get you some gumbo loaded up with andouille, or a po'boy on crusty French bread, and wash that goodness down with all the Abitas you need. If you really want to spice up your evening, order yourself an infamous Hurricane, presented at the Depeaux in an appropriate, National Weather Service classification style. A Category One will do the job for lightweights, and only costs $4. A Category Five will set you back $15, but this 22 oz. concoction, already strong as hell, comes with an extra shot of Meyers, plus two shots of 151 on top. Unless you just lost your house to a hurricane, the limit on these bad boys is one per customer.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Thai Me Up
If you can forgive the horrible, awful, ridiculous pun, Thai Me Up is a tasty, quaint little restaurant to stop in and grab a bite of Thai cuisine when wandering around Decatur. There's no 'pan-Asian' mixing and matching here, simply authentic Thai food. Their Pad Thai might be the best I've had in Atlanta, and they offer other items you won't find in fusion restaurants, such as Num Ya noodle curry, Thai veggie crabcakes and interesting but pleasant cheese rolls. Try to make it for the early bird specials between 5-7, which knock enough off the bill to make eating early worth your while.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Books Again
'DO NOT LET THE CAT OUT' warned the printed sign as I exited Books Again, the finishing stroke on what made for an interesting, quaint, enjoyable book store visit. Unassuming, even downright shabby, Books Again is the perfect place to browse through books that are just musty enough to make you nostalgic for card catalogues. There are no coffee shops inside, no overly eager employees who think Hemmingway's most famous book was a fishing guide. Hell, the lone man working the cash register gave off a charming vibe of 'way to interrupt my reading, asshole' when I was ready to make my purchase. If you love reading and have no idea what the latest Oprah book club selection is, stop by Books Again and sift through their formidable collection of used books. And while I couldn't bring myself to drop a shit-ton of money on a rare or signed copy of a book, if that's your poison, they got that, too.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Birdi's
When you order a martini, what you're really saying is "I don't have time for beer, wine, or mixed drinks. I need my buzz and I need it know." Appropriately, Birdi's has an extensive and impressive list to choose from, because when you go to Birdi's, you go to play. Fear not, you don't have to drink straight, slightly flavored alcohol, they do have plenty of other choices as well, not to mention a menu that is, in their own words 'unique and assorted yet filled with comfort foods.' You'll never experience order envy when you go with the crab cake sandwich, and the chocolate explosion dessert is so good it comes with its own Kevlar helmet and vest. There are specials every day, from live music to draft beer. A personal favorite is 10 % off your food during the month of your zodiac sign. Hop to it, Leos.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

5th Earl Market
"Goddammit, this sandwich is fucking amazing!" I had just bitten into the Duke of Earl, a chicken pesto sandwich from the 5th Earl Market, and was receiving angry glares from the parents of small children. I had to hold back more swearing as I chewed up a couple rosemary baked cashews and finally whispered "Ssssshit!" after swallowing a piece of gourmet cheese. Specializing in sandwiches, soups, and salads, the 5th Earl also carries specialty munchies like the cheese and cashews mentioned above. They also have a small, cozy bar in the back, a nice place to enjoy a beer if you're looking to avoid a crowd. Be careful when approaching the cash register, as cleverly placed samples of their best snacks lay in wait. Resist tasting them if you're on a budget because these snacks don't come cheap, and they're usually so good you can't help buying.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

The Corner Pub
If you’re not careful, the Corner Pub could quickly jump to the top of the list of your favorite bars in Atlanta. With one room shaped like a giant staple, it’s got one of the longest bars I’ve seen in Atlanta. On either end of the bar are small areas that I like to pretend are ‘wings’ of my own personal mansion. The right wing is equipped with a pool table and arcade game (one of those with multiple classic games stored within). The left wing of your country manor feels more like a parlor, where serious matters of state--bitchin’ bout lovers, escaping your soul sucking job, options for approaching the opposite sex—are discussed. Corner Pub also has specials everyday, my personal favorite being Train Shot Thursdays, when the shot of the day is half off if you take it while the train is inching by outside. This makes Thursday the best day to have a personal meltdown, cutting a shot tab in half. You just have to hope there’s a long train.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Mocha Match
Part of the East Atlanta Station development--which can be found off East College Avenue between downtown Decatur and the area before Avondale Estates--Mocha Match is a good option for grabbing your daily cup of joe. Like many coffee shops, they offer public lectures and poetry reading, which might make for a good distraction from the vivid shades of red and yellow that pop from the walls. Indulge your sweet tooth in their healthy selection (in quantity, not salubriousness) of pastries and cakes. Mocha is a nice place to rest and digest pasta after a meal at next door neighbor Figo, or get revved up for a long night of drinking at the Corner Pub, also next door.



Posted By:  Katherine Dean
Photo:  J.E. Kemp

Cantina el Tesoro
If Cantina el Tesoro were a person, she’d be the cute new blonde in freshman gym class with the tight ass and the short shorts. You know the one. She turns out to be the smokin’ hot-bodied kid sister of your dumpy Chem lab partner whose name just happens to be Cantina La Casita. Tesoro looks good from afar, fresh-faced and ready to go. The boys all flock to her. The girls all wanna do her hair. But is she really any better than big sis? Sure, compared to La Casita, Tesoro’s got some extra tricks up her sleeve—a more extensive menu, a wider variety of salsas. But her basic genetics are the same—street tacos and margaritas. Sadly, she does both with all of the grace and aptitude of a half-wit. At a dive like LaCasita, you expect the food to match the surroundings. It does, and you don’t care. But El Tesoro, with her well-appointed dining room, fresh coat of paint, and snazzy neon sign, should be serving up chow that matches her hip Decatur address. She’s not. Sorry Cantina El Tesoro, even with your pretty façade, you just don’t make the grade.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Wordsmiths Books
The downtown Decatur area is up to three independent bookstores, but the latest isn't crashing the party, it's only adding to the fun. Voted Atlanta's best bookstore by myfoxatlanta.com, Wordsmiths Bookstore is an airy, cave-like room that's fantastic for casual, noncommittal browsing. Their staff is willing (and able, unlike many big-box stores) to help you in your search for a particular book, or to offer general recommendations. Check out their website for listings of readings by local and nationally recognized authors, as well as various book clubs. For avid readers, consider becoming a Friend of Wordsmiths. $10 gets you a Basic Plan membership, and 10% off all purchases in the store and online (which I can assure you, really adds up).



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

If you know your friends' drinking personalities so well, you know the same stupid arguments, complaints, and bullshit by heart, come on down to Twain's Billiard's and Tap in Decatur for the best kind of distraction. They have one poolroom to itself, more pool tables on the lower level, as well as shuffleboard, darts, foosball, pinball, and a crane game that will gladly vacuum quarters out of your pockets, meaning you won't have to talk about anything of consequence if you don't want to. If you do like meaningful conversation over your beer, Twain's brews and serves their own fantastic selection. What was once a second pool room has been turned into the entrance, main seating area and crescent shaped bar, perfect for relaxing with these made-on-sight draughts.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Duck's Cosmic Kitchen
Duck’s Cosmic Kitchen will be the next secret you divulge. It has one of the best names for a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop in Atlanta; it serves delicious food, has the cutest little space for grabbing a cup of coffee or glass of wine with your friend or date, and it’s virtually hidden. Part of the East Decatur Station on East College Ave., Ducks was originally one building that looked like a tiny fishing shack. Yet, like the old man with his sea, Duck’s doggedly kept bringing in steady hauls day after day. Their soups, sandwiches, freshly baked breads and famous cinnamony-sugary doughnuts have helped them open up what they call a ‘satellite,’ a small space in the office building kitty-corner to the first building, which is now the kitchen (which you will inevitably walk into and be shooed out of). It’s a choice spot to laze away a rainy weekend afternoon, or escape the rapidly approaching summer heat. While the timing was fortuitous on my visit and they had a loaf of olive bread fresh from the oven, it’s recommended that you call ahead. Do so. That bread was ridiculous.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Raging Burrito
Hey you! Checking the daily NFT Radar, I bet you’d call yourself something of an individualist. You like your things unique, irreverent! If that’s the case, the next time you’re in the mood for a gigantic, California style burrito, forego Chipotle (owned by McDonald’s) and Willy’s (an Atlanta chain, yes, but still a chain) and try Raging Burrito in Decatur. For the same price as what you pay at the two places aforementioned, you get just as massive a burrito (if not bigger) on your choice of tortilla (I’ve never had one that wasn’t perfectly soft, not stale nor slimy), all while enjoying it in the distinctive and artistic interior space of the restaurant, or while people-watching on their huge back patio. Throw in the large selection of draught and bottled beers, and it’s hard to understand why you’d ever go back to a chain again.




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Restaurants (26)
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