NFT Atlanta Toco Hills / Emory University

Toco Hills / Emory University

Home to rich, lush foliage, and the rich, lavish Emory University student population, the neighborhood reflects both the environment and wealth of the school. For those eager to serve some jail time, snap some furtive photos outside the CDC while wearing all black and a face mask. The neighborhoods are beautifully laid out to impress; doctor’s and professor’s houses line the woodsy streets, with manicured gardens and renovated houses.




         



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Simone's Bakery
I want a bagel, I'm in Toco Hills, so usually I'd stop by Bagel Palace. But for the love of all things if I have to hear one more Emory kid drunkenly stumble through her order in a nasal Jersey accent--asking such outrageous, nonsensical questions as "Can I have an everything bagel, but with all the everything scraped off the top?" I will burn the mother down. Luckily, there's no need for flames. Putting up some competition against the stalwart Palace is Simone's Bakery. It's right around the corner, one of those places you wouldn't find if you weren't looking for it, but it's got spunk. The bagels aren't bad, the cookies pretty delicious, and it's relatively undiscovered, which means I've never had to wait in line. You won't regret stopping by for one of their smile-inducing, classic chocolate chip cookies.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Ella Guru
You may not have heard of Ella Guru, but the readers of Creative Loafing have. While it may not be much to look at, the store was voted the Best Used Record Store/Critics Pick. Its music selection is large enough for lazy afternoon browsing, without being so big you don't know where to start. And as the death of music you can physically touch--cassettes, CDs, gramophones--closes in, lots of people are digging up parents' old record collections, or starting their own. If you fall into either category, Ella Guru is an excellent place to add to your nascent stash.



BTW

Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Maggie's
You're running out of time to see the new Maggie's, by the way. Before the swarms of Emory students realize that it's not only a great little dive to infest after hours, but in daylight hours as well. Why don't you be the one to check out all the new remodeling that's gone on inside and out? While you're admiring all the surface changes, however, don't forget that changing the cover of a book doesn't do much to its content. Maggie's has still got all the piss and vinegar attitude you fell in love with, she just went and cleaned herself up a bit.



Posted By:  Jim Hunt
Photo:  Jim Hunt

Famous Pub and Sports Palace
If your neighborhood pub is feeling a little tame, head on over to Famous Pub and Sports Palace. As its name suggests, TV's and pull down projection screens abound and make this a more than adequate place to watch a big game. However, the best time to check out Famous is a nights when there isn't any magnetic event drawing in hordes of sports fans. Pool sharks circle the pool tables, challenging you to a friendly game with a 'small wager on the side.' Wander to the back room of the bar to find a tiered stage, equipped with its own stripper pole. The longer you stay, the more drunken fools you'll see trying it out, and inevitably busting their ass on the ground. Lastly, don't forget the beer towers, like tall personal kegs that are only $15 everyday. Bring a friend, though, as it's a lot to drink, or you might find yourself up on stage, convinced of your own hip shaking savvy.



Posted By:  Jamie Grimes
Photo:  Jamie Grimes

Mason Mill Park
Mason Mill Park is far from the easiest to find (that distinction would go to Piedmont Park, which, given its size, is sorta hard to miss), but it is conveniently located for expeditious travel, located just off of Clairmont Road and not too far from I-85 in the northeastern part of the city. This recreation area boasts a soccer field, a children’s play area, and what may very well be the most conveniently located mountain biking trail within a short drive of downtown. An incredibly large tennis area, complete with a bleacher pyramid topped with what looks like a press box, looms over the parking lot. A walking trail meanders around the wooden areas for who knows how far (the paths are often overgrown, which is good for those who want to feel lost in nature without leaving the city, but not so great if you want a nice walk and are allergic to being touched by green things). Just off said trail, cordoned off by chain-linked fence, is a dog park large enough to stable small ponies. Most of the patrons have well-behaved animals, and while it can be fun to watch your fuzzy little things socialize, you’d do well to collect your pets and run if you see Michael Vick coming…



Posted By:  Jamie Grimes
Photo:  Jamie Grimes

It’s spring—bitter weather and wind notwithstanding—and with the changing weather comes longer days, April showers, and misty yellow clouds looming over allergy-sufferers like a guillotine blade over Marie Antoinette. It’s gardening time again and, for some of us who’ve never, ever attempted to grow anything of merit or have tried only to have entire forests wilt to nothing around our thumbs, Pike’s Nurseries offer knowledge and the necessary materials to keep the casualties from mounting. They carry all manner of flora and trees and flowers and herbs and veggies, and an impressive array of fertilizers and other plant steroids. Generally, the staff is knowledgeable, but you can tell who works because they love horticulture and who works because they needed a job. By the end of my first trek and after seeing their set-ups, I was sure it was time to build a substantial koi pond in the yard, though I don’t think the apartment manager would much appreciate that. Visiting Pike’s makes gardening more a reasonable summer project than a daunting exercise in plant torture.



Posted By:  Jamie Grimes
Photo:  Jamie Grimes

Mama Fu's
If you ask to speak to Mrs. Fu, you’ll likely get a strange glare from the cashier counter when you come in, but other than that, Mama Fu’s Noodle House does well to serve impromptu cravings for Asian food. Immediately noticeable from North Druid Hills Rd near Interstate-85, this burgeoning chain of not-quite-so-fast food will likely draw you in before you fully recognize the bevy of options in the immediate area. And, while none of the competing restaurants are a bad choice, Mama Fu’s is the best if you’re in a pinch. Service comes quick, with meals appearing minutes after orders are placed (which, at first, is enough to make one wonder if the food is prepared fresh or made in batches; the employees assure me it’s all fresh, and given their severe reaction to my asking about Mrs. Fu, I’m inclined to believe them). Many of the dishes are spicy, some—like the coconut-heavy soup I tried—were not worth the venture, and while you won’t leave complaining about the dishes, you won’t marvel at them, either. But if you have a dire need for spicy chicken and only a few minutes, it’s definitely worth the stop.



Posted By:  Jamie Grimes
Photo:  Jamie Grimes

Chris' Pizza
In the Toco Hills shopping plaza, not far from such shopping center anomalies as the Georgia Department of Labor, sits Chris’ Pizza, an unassuming pasta, salad, and pizza place that, for its ability, doesn’t seem to see a lot of business. The interior is sparse and mostly white, which doesn’t seem to be a terrific idea for a place where various sauces may go flying at any conceivable opportunity—remarkably, things stay clean. There’s also a multi-tiered granite fountain in the middle of the dining area, which does wonders to break the monotony of the decorations. Pick a topping, most any topping, and you can get it on your pizza. The food is always done to standard, and the pies come out blessedly free of pesky bubbles. Add to this the fact that you’re almost always guaranteed a quiet meal, this is a wonderful, pristine piece of pizza paradise wanting to be discovered.



Posted By:  Jamie Grimes
Photo:  Jamie Grimes

Atlanta Coffee Roasters, hidden deep in the bowels of the Toco Hills shopping plaza, offers more selection than your major java conglomerates, featuring different coffee blends and international coffees. I got something called Yemen Mocha—I didn’t know how that was any different from the Jamaican Blue Mountain or the Kenya AA—but my girlfriend’s basically an enormous coffee bean, so I selected it in a wondrous what-the-hell, might-as-well moment. Coffee’s never been so good, not at the one place that’s on nearly every street corner, not at those other places trying to be just like it. Though their hours are a bit strange in comparison to the coffee norm, and I’ve been denied once—so far—because the place was closed due to everyone being in attendance at a coffee conference or something to that affect. You can get it for home use, whole bean or ground, or you can get it by the cup and enjoy the local art on the walls or a newspaper or friendly conversation. They also maintain a great website and a toll free number so that no matter where you find yourself, you can always have that little bit of coffee bliss.



Posted By:  Carla Kaiser
Photo:  Carla Kaiser

Whole Foods

Editor's Note: Art-O-Mat is no longer at this location.


Ever wonder what they did with all those old cigarette machines? Today I went to the Whole Foods Market on Briarcliff so I could check out this Art-O-Mat machine I’ve been hearing so much about. It’s an old cigarette machine that’s been converted to a vending machine that sells art for five bucks. After I went to the customer service desk and got a token, I went to the machine and picked my brand of art treat. I chose “Betsy Ross” and guess what I got? 3 Three Dollar Bills, featuring Arabic writing on the back, and a picture of Susan B. Anthony in one of those outfits with the big black veil things. The three bills came in this cute little package shaped exactly like a cigarette.



Posted By:  Terah Shelton
Photo:  Terah Shelton

Tall Tales Book Shop
It’s no secret chain bookstores have taken over the world. Like an evil villain in a comic book, these bookstores—that will remain nameless —swoop down and attack customers with blinding beams of discounts, floods of books, and mind altering addictions served in cups. But Tall Tales Bookshop—the superhero —stands tall (no pun intended) as one of the few locally operated bookstores left to fight for truth and justice that resides in the small, independent businesses and battles in a field all but suppressed by a cutthroat epidemic. More than that, their employees actually know a thing or two about authors, books, or anything related in the book industry, unlike chain bookstore employees—that will continue to remain nameless. I mean, how can a superhero tussle with evil if they’re ill-equipped on the knowledge of their powers? These saviors use their x-ray vision to locate out-of-print books, flying powers to deliver purchased merchandise, and superhuman strength to support and organize local author events. Should you—the innocent bystander—visit Tall Tales, buy something from the $2 dollar table and sign up for email notifications. After all, superheroes need appreciation, love, and support too.



Posted By:  Jessica Harbour
Photo:  Jessica Harbour

Atlanta is not exactly a bookstore mecca; several much-loved bookstores (Oxford Books and its usedbook companion, Oxford Too; more recently, Kudzu Books) have fallen by the wayside. So the continued success of Book Nook is all the more remarkable. It’s a typical used bookstore in that the books are loosely (very, very loosely) shelved by category, and the staff, while friendly, isn’t necessarily going to be able to help you find that exact title you had in mind. It’s a far better idea to come in and wile away a couple hours browsing (or try the music, DVD, and comics sections, which are better organized). The luckiest browsers will be anyone who reads a lot of trade paperbacks—science fiction, romance, and horror, all of which have huge selections—and can trade in their old reads. Finally, Book Nook has to be the only place in town that will not only sell you a Chilton guide to a 1979 Datsun but give you a free American President coin with your purchase. All you William Taft collectors know where to go now.




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