NFT Atlanta Druid Hills (East) / North Decatur

Druid Hills (East) / North Decatur

This laid-back residential area is a great place for afternoon strolls. Naturally curving roads and a lush, sylvan environment envelop the area, where beautiful estates routinely sell for more than a million dollars. Emory University Hospital, one of the city’s best, is located nearby.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Guide to Entertaining Tourists

By Sara Cheshire
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On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

Community Q BBQ
I go apeshit when new barbecue joints spring up. These succulent daises of joy. Fans of hickory smoked anything, collards, and Brunswick stew are blessed souls in the A. Few new arrivals have kicked up the buzz like Community Q, an amiable joint on the fringes of Emory in Decatur. Let's get to brass tax: the mac n' cheese is, at the risk of sounding adolescent, orgasmic. No other adjective required. Served flat on a plate with big noodles and a perfect crust of cheddar, it's a must. The stew is the right consistency but very salty. The pulled pork and chicken, ($11 per plate with two sides), are marshmallow-tender with minimal fat and flavorful char. The plates will make you waddle. As for decor, there are tiny little pigs everywhere and enough knick-knacks to satiate your grandmother. The place oozes hospitality, with about as much backcountry shack appeal as its shopping strip locale will allow. The picnic-table-style seats, draped in checkered cloth, are spot on. I predict a hit.



Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

Bike South Inc
The guys at Bike South in Decatur are dizzyingly knowledgeable. Not gaudy, just bike-smart. If you're in the mood for Giant bikes or that Raleigh brand, they have those in various price ranges, starting around $500 for a decent roadster. They have something called a risk-free promise that sets them apart from other retailers: If you don't fall hopelessly in love with your bike, they'll refit the thing, adjust it, tweak it, swap certain components or, if you’re a real shyster, hand your money back over. You get a month to figure yourself out. And lest we forget the Body Scanning Laser measurement system...a contraption that looks stolen from your family doctor’s office. But the system is something else: It'll conform your hybrid, mountain or high-performance racing bike to your flabby butt like a glove.



Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

Lullwater Park
The crane waited, stalking, lifting its pencil-thin legs in high, slow steps above the water, inserting its feet into mud, one after the other, coming closer, watching the sunfish nibble at breadcrumbs tossed in by a passing photographer. When the crane struck its long beak like chopsticks through the lake, a beautiful violence ensued: the doomed fish, frantic and trapped, writhed visibly down the big bird's throat. I looked at my fiancee. She was equally fascinated. We'd stumbled on Lullwater Park not 10 minutes prior, strolled through its stony gates, down its paved gulley paths, to the wooded heart of Emory, the best-kept secret in Atlanta, an absolute Intown gem.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Sawicki's
If you were raised on fish and cold cuts, eating in Sawicki's will be like coming home. They've got some of the freshest meats and seafood in town, and a pretty good bakery to boot. It seems most people stop by for one of their delectable sandwiches, and I can say from firsthand experience that the genoa, hot soppresata, and finnochiona salami on ciabatta will do its best to pique your tastebuds and satisfy your stomach in the best possible way; simply delicious. Be advised: If you didn't grow up on a wharf and/or harbor, the smell of fresh seafood might be a bit strong. Get your sandwich to go.




Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Cakes & Ale
Deriving its name from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, the food at Cakes & Ale is so inspiring you'll be speaking Olde English for days. Foodies will love the emphasis on fresh and local but anyone can appreciate that the food is just damn good. There is also a wee bar towards the front that is perfect for cozying up to after any day at work, good or bad. Do keep in mind if you don't have a job to put you in any kind of mood, all this deliciousness doesn't come cheap, with main courses ranging in price from the mid-teens to low-twenties. Also, check their website before you set off to re-experience the amazing stuffed pork loin, as the menu changes fairly frequently.




Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Tastings
Worried that your alcohol consumption is veering too heavily towards beer and liquor? Interested in expressing your inner wino? In the tradition of American expansion--bigger is better, onwards and upwards, I present Tastings: A Wine Experience. A new wine bar in downtown Decatur, Tastings offers a unique way to sample the sweet libations so dear to Bacchus. Drift from tasting station to station, sampling fine wines that you really don't understand, nod knowingly when someone mentions phrases like 'too much tannins' and 'a really lovely body', and for God sakes don't spit that good stuff out. Wine drunks always swallow. Seriously, even if you're just a casual fan of wine, this is a great place to learn the basics and buy relatively cheap bottles of good stuff. It's also rumored that they have food, but if you do it right, your appetite will already be sated by plenty of pinot.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

The Chocolate Bar
Tucked in between Ted's Montana Grill and the now defunct Tossed Salad, it would be easy for The Chocolate Bar to get overlooked in such a restaurant-saturated market. Yet like that one piece of candy you hid in the pantry months ago, The Chocolate Bar will haunt you in your sleep and waking states, whispering sweet nothings of its homemade chocolate pieces, chocolate martinis, chocolate desserts. It also offers a variety of cheeses, olives, even flavored popcorn, that contain no chocolate whatsoever, for those who do not know the pain of being a chocoholic. The cozy and cleanly decorated interior, combined with a cool, romantic lighting scheme, make this one of the better date spots.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Pastries A Go Go
Attention Atlanta hipsters, your new breakfast nook has been located. We all know the Flying Biscuit has long been the focus of your never ending ire; Gato Bizco has been discovered by curious Emory students, even Ria's is starting to be infiltrated by the yuppies moving into Grant Park. Throw everyone off by going to the place they'd least expect you to, and get your hangover cure at Pastries A Go Go in Decatur. Hiding in an unassuming commercial lot, behind signs that are a little awkward in their exuberance, Pastries is pretty much the breakfast place embodiment of you. Even better, the only people who seem to know about it are middle age to elderly white women, easily frightened by the residual smell of last nights PBR's and Parliament lights. The cherry on top of your choicest of ironic dining choices is the fact that the food is fantastic, and if there is one redeeming quality of the American hipster, it's that he or she is usually a good judge of quality when it comes to omelets, pancakes, and biscuits.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Decatur CD
When my computer inexplicably ate the majority of my digital music, I decided I was going to go back to buying CD’s, and my store of choice was going to be Decatur CD. An independent music shop located in downtown Decatur, there was something both nostalgic and refreshing about flipping through shiny jewel cases, noticing the cover art of an album for the first time in a long time, and having real live people to ask about recommendations, or even just help finding a particular artist or song. Decatur CD hosts local and touring independents for small shows—usually free—and also has an excellent blog (www.decaturcd.blogspot.com) where you can sign up for their newsletter, see pictures of performances, find dates of shows in their store and at other Atlanta venues, and generally catch up on what music rocks, when it’s coming out, and why you should come get it from them. I found the CD I was looking for (Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago), paid the funky guy behind the counter in cash, and was told, “Man, you’re gonna fuckin’ love that album.” iTunes never made me feel that good about a purchase.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Willy's Mexicana Grill
Usually, if you're like me, you steer away from chains, even the local ones. You don't hate Willy's like you do Chipotle or McDonald's, but you figure, if you're going to eat a burrito, why not get one from Raging Burrito or something similarly local? But what happens when you wake up Sunday morning, so hung over you're not sure you're feet will still be there when you go to stumble to the bathroom, and you promised your significant other/best friend/someone whose name you can't remember you'd go see a movie with them at noon? This is when Willy's, as the local chain that pumps burritos out at a rate and efficiency that would make Henry Ford weep, will not only sound good, but angelic. Quickly purchase your steaming hot burrito, hide it in your giant purse or hoodie pocket, and enjoy a movie snack that is 'crazy delicious.'



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Mediterranean Grill is not recommended for pessimists. The food is so good so consistently that those who derive their pleasure in life from bitching about everything will find nothing to rag on, no flavor they don't love, resulting in an unexplainable depression, or even more mysterious: happiness. In all seriousness, Mediterranean Grill seems to win awards perennially for its fare, which one of the partners informed me comes from a policy of never freezing and making sure every scrap of food is freshly prepared that day. Also, if you have a party or function that requires a hefty amount of food that you are in no way capable of preparing on your own, it should be noted that Mediterranean Grill caters. Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for something not on the menu, particularly if you're familiar with Mediterranean cuisine. If they're not too busy, they probably won't mind whipping you up a little something special.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Dancing Goats Coffee Bar
I'm in your quintessential coffee bar--hip crowd, crazy wall paintings, and mismatched furniture that feels a little claustrophobic, but I tell myself it's adding to the atmosphere. That's when the man behind me, at arm's length away, releases nose bleeding gas into the air. Quickly employing the grade school 'gas mask' (my shirt collar pulled up over my nose and mouth), I pack up and head for Dancing Goats. The Dancing Goats Coffee Bar in Decatur seems to be making a run for the Starbucks crowd. While it lacks the bohemian ambiance that comes to mind when the words 'independent coffee shop' are brought up, Dancing Goats has a spacey, clean feeling, extending far into its building, making it feel larger than any other coffee joint in Decatur. Be warned, this is the habitat of young professionals, and you're much more likely to overhear conversations about TPS reports than last night's bacchanalian exploits. If you have some serious studying to do, or just want to drink some coffee in peace and quiet (and free of noxious odors), Dancing Goats is a good choice.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Taqueria Del Sol
Taqueria del Sol might have the best tacos for the best prices in town. With six tacos appearing each day on the menu, along with a new specialty each day, all at about $2, it’s easy to forget how much you’re ordering until they bring the basket to your table. The Decatur location usually has a long line around and after 6:00 P.M., although if you have a small party, you can walk up to the bar wherever there is an empty seat. If you feel like splurging, go for the guacamole and the cheese dip; both are pretty damn good.



Posted By:  Cary McNeal
Photo:  Cary McNeal

Whit's End
I love going to the mall, don’t you? No, really. Driving halfway across town, parking a mile away, fighting my way through throngs of pre-teen grrrrl gangz and families with triple-wide strollers just so I can overpay for a trendy shirt that I’ll hate when I get home and then have to go through all that hell again just to return it. Good times, my friends, good times. The good times are over, though. I found a new men’s store near my house that’s so groovy, I have no reason to visit the mall ever again. What a shame. The store is Whit’s End in Decatur, and here’s the thing: my clothing needs are simple. Jeans, t-shirts, the occasional pair of khakis. Whit’s End has me covered. Levi’s? Check. Columbia pullovers? Oh yeah. T-shirts? Right on. Socks, underwear, outerwear, belts, shoes; this little slice of heaven has it all. Even Fossil watches, gifts, and skincare items. For guys cooler and/or more stylish than me–i.e. everyone–Whit’s End also has Yuckboy, Chiliwear, Kuhl, Prana and more brands I’m not familiar with, but I bet you are. Best of all, owners Jeff and Greg, the friendliest guys you’ll ever meet, live right here in Decatur and donate part of their sales to local causes, bless their hearts. I like supporting local businesses, so I’ll be going to Whit’s End. A lot. Instead of the mall. I’ll miss you, Orange Julius.



Posted By:  Cary McNeal
Photo:  Cary McNeal

Ever walk into a restaurant and know immediately that it’s going to be good? That’s what happened to me the first time I set foot in Athens Pizza. I took one glance and one sniff, and said to myself, “Self, we’re home.” It’s not that I’m clairvoyant; I just know what I like. Warm, homey décor; smiling, welcoming faces; the smell of deliciousness in the air; and a big glass dessert case spinning slowly ‘round, calling out to my sugar-lovin’ belly. I put food and ambience on an equal scale when choosing a place to stuff my piehole, and in both cases, Athens is comfort: comfort food like baked spaghetti, lasagna, mousaka, gyro and Greek pizza, all homemade and consistently tasty; and comfortable, friendly service from a mostly Greek staff, headed up by owner Aseimoula Papadopoulus and her two grown sons. “Mrs. P” and her late husband, John, opened Athens in 1966, and though she doesn’t cook anymore, her recipes live on. She’s there most nights, greeting customers, chatting up regulars, and always saying hi to your kids. The Athens menu reads, “Over 30 years of expertise mixed with love;” eat there and you’ll walk out knowing that it’s true.



Posted By:  Cary McNeal
Photo:  Cary McNeal

It’s funny how our restaurant needs change over the years. In college, we want something cheap. Once we’re working, we want cheap and good. When we have kids, we want cheap, good and kid-friendly. By “kid-friendly” I mean that the waitrons and patrons don’t pass a stone when your kids 1) yell 2) cry and 3) make an ungodly mess, which kids always do, and there’s no way to stop them. Cheap, good and kid-friendly–that’s Little Azio. Yeah, it’s a chain, but a mini-chain, with seven Atlanta locations, including my favorite in Decatur. I like the pizza–thin, crispy, tangy but not over-sauced. Ditto the chicken parm piadina, which comes with the best pasta salad I’ve ever had. My wife worships the salads, especially the Asian Chicken. My spawn orders pasta, and will typically forego all 77 possible combinations (seven pastas, including low-carb penne, times eleven sauces, from marinara to wild mushroom marsala) for good old plain spaghetti. The price is right, too. The three of us eat well for under 30 bucks. And the atmosphere is bright and open, with TVs inside or a patio if you prefer fresh air and waving flies off your food. But please don’t let the kid-friendly tag scare you haters away. You won’t find Chuck E. Cheese-type bedlam at Little Azio, just good eats and good times for everyone.



Posted By:  Cary McNeal
Photo:  Cary McNeal

Wuxtry Records
When I was in college a hundred or so years ago in Athens, Wuxtry Records was my home away from dorm. What little money I had went to buying LPs like Get Happy!, Jamboree, and Murmur, the new record from an up-and-coming local band called R.E.M. So I’m a little embarrassed to confess that although I live within hocking distance of the Atlanta Wuxtry, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been there. I don’t do vinyl anymore, so I’ll use that as my excuse. It’s also in a crummy shopping center with bad parking and hundreds of pigeons that shit all over your car. But hey, if you’re a die-hard vinylist, or just a music fan in general, buy an umbrella and check it out. Wuxtry has more than vinyl, of course. The wee store is packed to the gills with new and used CDs, cassettes, and even a few 8-tracks for those of you who like songs that stop in the middle so the tape can change programs (“Stairway To Heaven,” anyone?). Some of the CDs were priced a little high ($10 for used), and I don’t know anyone who listens to tapes anymore, so it’s really the vinyl that makes Wuxtry what it is. If a record exists, you can bet it’s in there somewhere, all you have to do is find it.



Posted By:  Jamie Grimes
Photo:  Jamie Grimes

Surprisingly good for a shopping center joint, and surprisingly good for cheap Mexican food, Mexico City Gourmet lives up to its name, bringing all the quintessential Mexican dishes to the table with a flair that sets them apart. The obligatory salsa, dished out just for having a seat and at no charge, is exceedingly spicy, which is a good thing. In fact, all of the dishes, from the burritos to the salads, come with a unique heat signature that shows the chefs aren’t just throwing pepper into everything without considering the ramifications. But beware…if you can’t handle the spice, you may want to hold off on eating here or at least ask the waitstaff if you can get yours sans pepper, because the restrooms aren’t somewhere you want to find yourself suffering any amount of personal distress. Well past the kitchen and food lockers, the windowless restrooms bring to mind every stereotypical thought one could have concerning personal hygiene; they’re dark, dank, and don’t smell spectacular. Perhaps you weren’t the first to suffer the attack of the spice.



Posted By:  Jamie Grimes
Photo:  Jamie Grimes

ChocoLaté Coffee
There are a few cafés open late into the evening, but they’re mostly large chain coffee places with little appeal, the charms of which seem to be in finite amounts and spread irregularly throughout dozens—or even thousands—of stores. And unless you’re one to wait through long lines and suffer claustrophobic seating arrangements, you’re almost completely out of luck. Enter ChocoLate, an independently owned and operated coffee and dessert shop relatively new to the scene. Sure they have the old standbys, but it’s their eclectic alternatives that set them apart, their flavored chai and their gingerbread steamer. And with the extended and oft-unmentioned drought and the beat-down the sun will give you on any given day, what could be better than a peanut butter or bananas foster frappe? And unlike many other coffee shops, the interior is bright and alive with color. Art on the wall ranges from abstract fun to anime versions of characters from The Wizard of Oz (that was one bad-ass Tin Man). Plus, there are ample couches and comfortable chairs around the coffee table in the back—the perfect place to chill out.



Posted By:  Deanna Jue
Photo:  Deanna Jue

Fernbank Science Center
Astronomy was the only class that I’ve ever been in danger of truly failing. The equations. The scientific names. Textbook contradiction to my idea of an auto-pilot easy freshmen year class studying the twinkling night stars. Lucky for me, I’m not bitter. The Fernbank Observatory reawakens marveling at the mysteries of the night sky, hiding light years away and unveiled to the human eye only as you peer through the hulking base of the Fernbank’s 36-inch telescope. See twelve billion year old globular star clusters, galaxies, planets and discuss with your fellow stargazers if a particular star looks more ‘blue’ or ‘green.’ Makes searching for the big dipper child’s play. Open to the public every Thursday and Friday night (weather permitting & from dark or 8 pm, whichever occurs later, until 10:30 pm), the experience includes a real live astronomer, answering any questions for the non-scientifically inclined crowd. Best of all, the only price you’ll pay is restraining yourself from snickering at any mentions of Uranus.




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