Get out of your own backyard. The world is yours. Claim it.
1. Gladys and Ron’s Chicken and Waffles
529 Peachtree Street NE Atlanta, GA
When I first heard the name Gladys and Ron’s Chicken and Waffles I assumed that this restaurant was owned by some retired married couple. Little did I know that I had really taken the Midnight Train to Georgia! The smothered chicken is insane. Heads up, they don’t serve alcohol but that’s OK because this is not nouvelle anything. Gladys and Ron’s is serious Southern Soul Food and I’m smuggling greens home in my bag back to Harlem. Bonus – there’s free parking behind the restaurant.
2. Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
350 Spelman Lane SW Atlanta, GA
The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is located in the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Academic Center. The museum is an academic resource but also a cultural excursion. Contributions are welcome but admission is free and open to the public. Parking is $3. Contrary to what you’d expect this gallery doesn’t always play if safe. Check their calendar for a range of edgy and thoughtful exhibitions.
3. B Chic Shoes
2591 Piedmont Road Atlanta GA
The premiere episode of reality show The Real Housewives of Atlanta featured this shoetique’s owner Rashidah Ali with a trunk show at the Loews Hotel Atlanta. Remember when Nene confronted Dwight? Yes, we had to include something from those famous housewives. Rashidi Ali is a NYC shoe stylist who has hooked up everyone from Kim Kardashian to Wendy Williams, and B Chic Shoes is not just red soles.
793 Juniper St NE Atlanta, GA
Confession: I had low expectations of Asian fusion restaurant Straits Atlanta when I learned that rapper-actor Ludacris is the owner. Generally rappers eateries tend to be very heavy on creating a scene and they often neglect food quality and customer service. I am pleased to announce that regarding Straits I was wrong. The food is amazing, the people are good looking and the service is adequate. Have a lychee martini and chillax.
5. Flip Burger Boutique
1587 Howell Mill Road Atlanta, GA
The yummy Flip Burger Boutique is owned by Top Chef’s Richard Blais. Pick your heavenly poison with menu selections like the turkey burger, shrimp burger, gyro burger, chorizo burger and veggie burger just to start. Flip Burger feels a little like a nightclub or a really cool party. With good food, loud music and a gorgeous staff Flip Burger is all about fun. The milkshakes trump the cocktails. You can gain 10 pounds just walking by the front door!
6. Martin Luther King Jr. Center
450 Auburn Ave NE Atlanta, GA
As a Northern “Yankee,” I can’t visit the south without paying homage to the struggle of the African American Civil Rights Movement. Similarly, I implore you, please don’t ever visit Atlanta without visiting the Martin Luther King Jr Center. You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you came from. Nearby please also find Dr. King’s birthplace and the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
7. High Velocity
Atlanta Marriott Marquis 265 Peachtree Center Avenue Atlanta, GA
Every city needs a good sports bar, right? Especially an upscale sports bar with comfy leather recliners, huge projection screens and valet parking. If your game is on you have to check out High Velocity. And unlike most sports bars the food isn’t a throwaway. Score! Win-win.
8. Nagoya Japanese Seafood and Steakhouse
48 King Street Roswell, GA
Who says that you can’t find good sushi down south? Nagoya has a sushi bar and a wonderful hibachi style experience. The decor may not be as swank as other places but the chef seems to be having fun, the fresh seaood is absolutely perfect and so are the reasonable prices.
9. Strip Atlantic Station
245 18th Street Atlanta, GA
Strip Atlantic Station is Atlanta at its trendiest with fab s’mores brownies. The servers here are sweet and will probably remember your order if you come back. If you’re headed to the movie theater across the street then Strip will upgrade your movie night. Strip is also good late night spot. Well, as late night as Atlanta gets. Definitely head upstairs if you like to keep it lively. This is a fun spot for people watching.
10. King of Pops
1079 North Ave NE Atlanta, GA
The King of Pops is the Atlanta frozen yogurt and ice cream spot du jour. You’re never too old for popsicles. These pops are only $2.50 each which is expensive for frozen flavored water but cheap for gourmet bars with treats like crushed vanilla wafers, cheesecake and dark chocolate embedded within. Glad that they decided to include fro-yo. Special Note: The King of Pops can also be an ice cream-tastic casual dating experience.
Honorable Mentions: Atlanta nightlife confuses me. Some of the people running the hot spots often seem to be trying too hard. At any rate I wanted to include a couple of grown and sexy spots for folks who wanted the lounge experience without a booty shaking club night. Also check out Paschals Restaurant for high end soul food in a beautiful space; Whiskey Park located in the W Atlanta Midtown, and Aurum Lounge.
Author and Multimedia Personality Abiola Abrams, the Lifestyle Passionista, writes and makes TV and web series about living your best life.