NFT Atlanta Westside / Home Park

Westside / Home Park

This northwestern quarter of Atlanta is in the midst of a vast facelift. With the construction of the 14th Street bridge underway, Home Park is projected to become Atlanta’s next up-and-coming area. Westside (slightly to the south) is already home to several loft and condo projects. With both areas close to the proposed Beltline corridor, they promise to be real players in the battle for housing new Atlantans.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Guide to Entertaining Tourists

By Sara Cheshire
It's not just peach tree climbing anymore.

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Historic Buildings in Atlanta

By Sara Cheshire
Ready to see Atlanta's famous antebellum architecture? Well, fuck you, 'cause you can't! They been BURNED since 1865 so get ready to see a lot of McDonalds instead, you ignorant tool. In the meantime, Sara Cheshire has some cool late 19th century buildings to peacock.

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On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

Progressive Lighting
A great source of focal point medallions and gaudy chandeliers, Progressive Lighting on the west side of Midtown actually has some modern, trendy touches that belong in city homes. You have to dig through the crystal hailstorm to find them. It's the largest chain of residential lighting showrooms in the Southeast, and no matter where you are in metro Atlanta, there's one down the road (see the industrial Ellsworth area for a nifty outlet). Keep an eye on seasonal sales, when the many thousands of fixtures in these sprawling (and well-lit) showrooms can drop 30 percent in price. More often than not, traditional Southern opulence (think plantation entryway) is the order of the day.



Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

Ormsby's
Ormsby's is the perfect bar for a shitty February afternoon. It oozes warmth. It promotes silly gamesmanship. Upstairs is slick bar and restaurant dressed in pretty woods, while downstairs looms a fun-bunker, a cave, a huge space teaming with backgammon, Bocce, darts, pool and full-length shuffleboard. The entrance is nondescript, a single door with an "O" tucked beneath the overpriced furniture showplace Room & Board. It keeps with the speakeasy theme that's grown popular around the city--and indeed the country--of late. The draft beer is adventurous (Duchesse De Borgogne alongside a killer strand of Terrapin called Wake 'n Bake), though I feel the decor screams for a basic Guinness. Although huge and practically brand-new (it opened around Christmas), Ormsby's gets packed. This is your favorite college bar after its spent five years slaving in the real world, developed top-shelf sensibilities and a penchant for drinking potent beer from snifters. Another welcome addition to the burgeoning Westside.



Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

La Fonda Latina
I'll never forget my first meal at La Fonda. The day after St. Patty's, I'm visiting my girlfriend in Atlanta, hungover like late-'90s Mickey Rourke. She introduces me to the delicious little wonders that are fried plantains. Then, as always, the paella del mar arrives at our table with blinding speed. Halfway through the pan, I beeline to the toilet and ralph my brains out. All that succulent shrimp, salmon and clam in a pink puree before me. Biggest party foul in human history. Despite that unsettling introduction, I'm still giddy to go back to La Fonda, no matter which one. La Fonda's fifth metro Atlanta location is another winner, what with the airy patio and courteous waitstaff. And it's yet another attractive addition to the Howell Mill Road corridor, across the street from gut-busting Chowbaby. Consider it an option when lines are too long across the street. And pop in only when your guts are feeling up to it.



Posted By:  Josh Green
Photo:  Josh Green

5 Seasons Brewery
Located at the burgeoning corner of Howell Mill Road and Marietta Street comes the long awaited 5 Seasons Brewery Westside, brother to its eponymous siblings in The Prado and Alpharetta. The fare here is local and organic to the max--and priced as if they’d skinny dipped for each oyster and took lashings for the romaine. But hey, the food's all from within a two-hour radius of the ATL, no exceptions, and the spectacular environs are worth a little splurge. The best dish I tried was actually an appetizer, Kari Kari Crab and Cream Cheese Dumplings in Ponzu Sauce, the blueblood cousin of Crab Ragoon. The house IPA is the tastiest and most potent of the three beers I tried. In all fairness, the place had hardly opened when I partook in the stunning views from its massive deck (where there's ample parking, in the sky). The restaurant is massive, replete with a beer garden not yet open to the public. Stop in June 9 at 5:55 p.m. (get it?) for the grand opening, featuring free suds and nosh.



Posted By:  Carrie Neal Walden
Photo:  Carrie Neal Walden

Six Feet Under
Seafood is delicious done right, but the good stuff can be hard to find in a landlocked city. Enter Six Feet Under. Between the original on Memorial Drive to the newer outpost on 11th Street, this is one way Atlantans can find fun and great seafood in just the right combination. When the weather's nice, the 11th Street location boasts a deck meant for enjoyment and one of the best views around of the city skyline. Both spots serve up some of the freshest shrimp, scallops, catfish and group dishes around. The garlicky, buttery shrimp-and-scallop app, cooked in a parchment-paper-like pouch, is the winning starter, while the fish taco combos, shrimp and grits, or baked group--a delicious concoction top with roasted red peppers and asparagus, served on a huge bed of tasty spinach--are entree standouts. Have a drink at the bar, watch the pretty people gather and get your seafood on right, even five hours inland!



Posted By:  Beth Linder
Photo:  Beth Linder

Star Provisions
Ever wonder what would happen if a store like Anthropologie decided to go the food route? Where instead of selling trendy, bohemian clothes and home goods, they sold kitchenware, baked goods, and lunch on the go. Yeah, that'd be pretty cool. Well, lo and behold, someone beat me to the punchline. Meet Star Provisions--Atlanta's answer to creating harmony between functional marketplace and conceptual design. It's a bakery. It's a bistro. It's beyond. The ultimate eye-candy for the cooking conscious and the on-the-go-eater. Whether you're stopping by for a fresh-off-the-grill turkey Panini, a bag of old-fashioned salt-water taffy, or a brandy new spatula, your list of palatable needs will be more than met. Plus, the atmosphere is well worth a stop by--urban, muted, and shabby chic. If you've separated yourself from the American mainstream and aren't in your daily rush, consume your vittles out on the patio. Then, after lunch, you can take some time to browse the unique neighboring shops. Time certainly seems to be the novel mission of Star Provisions, but rightly so. If their chefs, shopkeepers, and designers are going through the motions to create such an artistic culinary experience, the least we can do is appreciate their work.



Posted By:  Beth Linder
Photo:  Beth Linder

Taqueria Del Sol
Zimmern's law number 46 states that, when in doubt, the restaurant with the longest line always offers the best grub. Case in point: Taqueria del Sol. Even in the "semi-cold" of Atlanta's winter months, the line will pour out the door and wrap around the covered patio. Don't despair--despite the hordes of hungry patrons, you won't have much of a wait. Defying every natural law known to man regarding the art of line-waiting and having your credit card ready is the Taqueria del Sol cashier. Or rather, the "sole" cashier. Now, this is not a one-man job by any means, yet he'll ask for your name, dish you a snappy comeback, and take both your order and visa-at-hand faster than you can choose your desired soft shell taco. So, my fellow, gringo/as, know what you want before you reach the "five-people-from-the-front" mark. And for the all things good and queso, be ready to draw your wallet faster than Wayne could draw his gun. You're not at Moe's any longer. This territory is born and bred on vigilance and decisiveness. And if you don't play by the rules, there'll be NO PICO FOR YOU!



Posted By:  Beth Linder
Photo:  Beth Linder

Owen Lawrence
More like a museum than a home decor boutique, Owen Lawrence is a rare jewel hidden within the industrial atmosphere that is Howell Mill. And while Mr. Owen and Mr. Lawrence sound more like secondary characters in a British spy novel, they are, in fact, the main reasons this unique showroom doesn't go unnoticed. When you enter their realm--to shop to your heart's and wallet's content--they ensure that those with distinguished and extravagant tastes for the finery of life have a personal, one-of-a-kind experience. From Furstenberg Porcelain to the unparalleled beauty of L'Objet, customers will find a melange of exclusive tabletop, china, and candle collections from around the globe. Gaining popularity on the registry front, a gift from Owen Lawrence makes for an unexpected wedding or shower surprise. This is certainly a far cry from Macy's and not even on the same wavelength as Target. This is where elegance meets affability on the gilded edge.



Posted By:  Beth Linder
Photo:  Beth Linder

The Real Chow Baby
Well hidden in Atlanta's distinct industrial district at the end of Howell Mill Road, is a surprisingly eclectic group of shops and restaurants that have become a Saturday (and even Sunday) night staple for city dwellers. The Real Chow Baby is no exception, as one of the fastest growing phenomenons this side of Midtown. Who would have thought "make-your-own-stir-fry" would be such a goldmine? Never ceasing to escape the rush of hungry vultures craving coconut curry chicken, unsuspecting weaker (and newer) members of the herd try not to get trampled while waiting for a table. Yet the line never seems to end, which proves their Asian-inspired concoctions are worth the time, effort, and weekend noise. It's compact dining at its finest, and seconds are just up, around the corner, past the sea of tables, and at the end of a 20-minute line.



Posted By:  Sheronda Gipson
Photo:  Sheronda Gipson

Where can you enjoy a delicious latte and a flaky scone while listening to bomb poetry and soothing music as visionary paintings flood your brain and melt into your soul? On Marietta Street at Urban Grind Coffee Shop of course! This is not just a mere java joint where caffeine zombies wander aimless for their daily fix. Oh no! Urban Grind is ground zero for some of the hottest poets, singers, and visual artists in Atlanta. Every night there is something new and different for you to tap your toes to. Standing events include singer/songwriter open mic on Tuesday, poetry open mic on Thursday, and games, art shows and a live DJ on any other given night. This ultra fly, sophisticated, bohemian haven is more than just your local coffee spot around the corner. You never know, here the next Grammy winner may be sipping tea on the couch next to you.



Posted By:  Larissa Erin Greer
Photo:  Larissa Erin Greer

Octane Coffee
Say you’ve been spending your morning shuffling papers, warding off your e-mail inbox, and trying your best to avoid hearing all about your coworkers’ botched weekend hookups. Sounds like you just need to escape the office and connect remotely for a few hours. The best spot? Hipster haven of free Wi-Fi and all things caffeinated: Octane Coffee on Marietta Street. It’s pretty much the best place to plug in and log on in the West End, because they offer a great selection of lunch-time goodies (like tasty soup and sandwiches), the pretentious folks tapping away at their laptops are rarely in the mood for conversation, and in the event you’ve had a seriously rough morning—they also have a surprisingly sophisticated list of high-gravity European beer. Just be forewarned that you must be of a certain eclectic/artsy/faux-indie aesthetic to chill here, or you’ll be warding off annoyed scenester stares the entire time—which is fine by me, because it’s like a little piece of Williamsburg, Brooklyn right here in Atlanta.



Posted By:  Lauren Begnaud
Photo:  Lauren Begnaud

Truly a city landmark, some of the oldest parts of the King Plow Arts Center date all the way back to 1890, though most of the building was erected in the mid to late 1930s. King Plow is home to businesses like The Food Studio, (who cook up gourmet cuisine), Counter Culture, (who make some of the best coffee in the business) and Actor’s Express (who feature the city’s most chilling and provocative plays), and that’s only naming a few! Other residents include photographers, production companies, art galleries, and a circus arts school. Feel like ballroom dancing? The Arts Center has that as well, which is proof that the industrial part of town has its certain charms as well.



Posted By:  Carla Kaiser
Photo:  Carla Kaiser

Utopia Martini Bar & Tapas Lounge
Ok. Some friends from work called me from “Utopia” the other day, where they were having lunch. They told me to get my ass over to the corner of Marietta and Northside immediately. I said, “Back it up. Are you telling me to join you for lunch in that white brick building that looks like a strip club?” (believe me, I’m all about strip clubs, but I usually eat my lunch elsewhere) I was imagining a dark interior with big mirrors and waitresses with cellulite peddling a T-Bone lunch special. But in reality, it was more like a magical alternate universe that not very many people know about (yet). Even if the food sucked, which it did not, I’d still go back there a million times just to be in the environment. And get this, the owner actually came to our table and thanked us for coming, invited us to the grand opening party, and left the impression that he appreciated our business. Who knew? There’s actually is a restaurateur in Atlanta who isn’t completely jaded. PS. At Utopia, they have FONDUE. Real chocolate fondue. With the little forks, marshmallows, strawberries and cut up pieces of bananas.



Posted By:  Lauren Begnaud
Photo:  Lauren Begnaud

Octane Coffee
If you are like me, you just don't feel human until you've had that morning cup of coffee. There is definitely something to be said about Americans and their caffeine. And what should you do when you have this hankering for your morning fuel? Not just any old cup of joe will do! Sitting at the split of Howell Mill Road and Marietta Street, Octane has clearly become the city's best coffee shop. Not only are they the only shop in Atlanta to French press every single cup of coffee, they also have a large selection of high gravity beer ranging from American to Belgian to German. Hungry? Octane also has a nice sandwich and salad selection to keep those bellies happy. The Pesto Grilled Cheese is to die for. Parking might be tricky during busier times, but street parking is always available. Still need a reason to go? Octane also offers free wireless internet access, so it makes the perfect place to relax, or get work done.



Posted By:  Lauren Begnaud
Photo:  Lauren Begnaud

Certain parts of the city have come a long way in the past few years, and that can definitely be said for Atlanta's West Side. In the past, West Side has been considered more industrial and not very restaurant friendly. Since then, it has started to boom with business, restaurants, and housing. Located near Georgia Tech, Spoon has caught much attention over the past year for their delicious Thai cuisine. The curries are hot, but not too hot. The coconut soup is perfection. The feel is contemporary, yet the food is traditional. Like many restaurants Spoon offers lunch specials at a lower price then their dinners. A couple of my personal favorites are the Panang Curry and the Basil Fried Rice. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time if you head there for lunch, because Spoon tends to fill up quickly. On the plus side, the service and the food are always respectable and night time provides a more chill and less crowded environment. Spoon = great Thai at a great price.



Posted By:  Lauren Gunderson
Photo:  none

King Plow Arts Center
Actors Express (http://www.actorsexpress.com) is located in the King Plow Arts Center, a cool factory-turned-public-complex that houses a fantastic restaurant and tons of local businesses. I love theatre. TV is convenient and movies are splashy, but there’s nothing like live performance. Theatre (as well as coffee) is in my list of things-I-get-to-be-snobby-about. But because the theaters in town are spread out (there’s no Theater Row, like in New York, where everything is walkable) you’ve got to know where to look to find the good stuff. I always start with Actor’s Express, one of Atlanta’s best theatres for new plays. You might occasionally find a classic play produced with new pizzaz, but more likely you’ll find the best new plays performed with the best actors and designers in the city. I was at the King Plow Arts Center the other day and found myself constantly entertained: the show was awesome, then during intermission I watched the dancers spin around the Fred Astaire Dance Studio and on the way to the water fountain I wandered in to the gallery full of delightful paintings. A full night of art for the price of one ticket!



Posted By:  T. Murray
Photo:  Courtesy UG

Atlanta has its fair share of coffee houses and places to chill with your laptop while sipping on a warm beverage. But Urban Grind, tucked in what used to be an industrialized area west of midtown Atlanta, offers more than a cool name and free Wi-Fi. The vibe keeps both hip professionals and those who go against the grain feeling at home. Inspired by the look and feel of cafes in New York, Urban Grind blends together the industrialized environment of the ‘hood where it resides with an artistic indoor ambience. The Grind displays the work of local Atlanta artists and also keeps a rotation of events that features poets and musicians. And best of all, if you crave a new cup of comfort, Urban Grind will give you a break with winter specials like hot cinnamon caramel apple cider. You can even satisfy your sweet tooth with some of Jake’s Ice Cream. Next time you are driving around downtown Atlanta, take a detour to Urban Grind’s and sip on something new.



Posted By:  Beth Malone
Photo:  none

I don’t leave my neck of the woods that often; I’m comfortable here. I never even hike the 3 blocks to the Highlands—I don’t like Polo shirts, happy hours, or those damn boat shoes. However, the other morning I felt like taking a drive. Peter and I had brunch at West Egg Café on Howell Mill. Comfy waiting rooms with newspapers and couches, allow you to cozy up with your sweetheart. They offer free coffee; even if the pots are empty, you’ll still appreciate the thought. Friendly service, cheap, healthy food, and the loveliest décor make it a great spot to visit—it’s worth the drive. I took the bacon out of my green tomato burrito, but think you’d all be happier to leave it alone. Add cheese to your omelet, and choose grits over potatoes. Quick note: No booze is sold here; if you drink Bloody Mary’s more for the vodka, and less for the tomato juice—West Egg’s not your cafe.



Posted By:  Jason Cent
Photo:  Jason Cent

Part of an Atlanta restaurant group known as Fifth Group, The Food Studio is a truly outstanding dining experience. I’ve been a longtime fan of this group’s unique establishments, which include their original, South City Kitchen (Crescent Ave), Sala (in the trendy Virginia- Highlands district), La Tavola Trattoria (also in VA-Highlands), and of course The Food Studio, which is in the historic King Plow Arts Center facility, just west of Midtown. The food at Food Studio is described as Bold American. We hosted our wedding reception at The Food Studio and I cannot think of a single thing I would have changed or was disappointed in—except that the DJ arrived 30 minutes late and had no clue what music we had requested. But that’s another story and involved someone being jailed. The menu changes a little with each season, and entrees range from $16 to $35, including dishes like seared sea scallops, pan-roasted venison, and Niman Ranch pork loin, which are all outstanding.



Posted By:  Jessica Harbour
Photo:  none

Sit a second and ask yourself what would make for the ideal coffee shop. Good coffee? Of course. And hot chocolate? Yes, hot chocolate. And pastries and cookies? Got ’em. And a small kitchen so if you come in with a sudden appetite you can order a delicious cheese sandwich with potato chips and a pickle on the side? Sure. And let’s throw in a couple big comfy couches, rotating art exhibits, free Wi-Fi, and enough room that you don’t have to listen in on other patrons’ cell-phone conversations. And friendly baristas with interesting hair colors. If all these things are present, you are at Octane. The coffeehouse has recently (conveniently) extended its hours, to accommodate all the brainstorming Turner employees and Tech students who really, really need the coffee-and-couch combination.




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