Simply Buckhead March/April 2023

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at Atlanta
Buckhead, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Upper Westside Your Guide to Living Well in Atlanta ISSUE 93 • FREE MARCH/APRIL 2023

You had the will to make it happen. But, before your determination, it was just a dream. At First Horizon, we’re proud to support the spirit of entrepreneurs through every phase of business development. From imagination to operation to innovation, we’re always ready to help you take the next step. ©2023 First Horizon Bank. Member FDIC.

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"They made me feel so comfortable during the entire process. Their communication, follow up, and customer service is outstanding. THANK YOU, ACCD FOR GIVING ME MY SMILE BACK!!"


"Thank you to the ACCD Team! They truly go above and beyond to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. It's rare to find this caliber of service and am always so impressed after my visits there.

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ATLANTA SAYING? Wilmington Trust is a registered service mark used in connection with various fiduciary and non-fiduciary services offered by certain subsidiaries of M&T Bank Corporation. Investing involves risks, and you may incur a profit or a loss. Wilmington Trust traces its roots to the founding of WTC in 1903. ©2023 M&T Bank and its affiliates and subsidiaries. All rights reserved. AMP4084 230215 VF Your wealth, your life, and your goals are unique. Whether you’re looking to protect and grow your assets for future generations, succeed in your business ventures, or prepare for the unexpected, Wilmington Trust is here to help guide you through life’s transitions. For more information about how we can help you achieve your goals, contact Garrett Alton Executive Vice President/Southeast Region President 404.760.2130 Celebrating 20 years in Atlanta serving clients across the Southeast. A Heritage of A Modern Approach. TRUST.



Our goal is to provide each client with comfort and confidence throughout the home buying and selling process. As certified luxury real estate specialists with a passion for design, we bring our attention to detail to each step of the process. From staging your home for success to helping you find the perfect space for your lifestlye, we obsess over the details for you.

Intown Collective is a team of real estate licensees affiliated with Compass, a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. 404.668.6621
Unrivaled power meets supreme style. Discover the new Continental GT Speed. Find your extraordinary at The name ‘Bentley’ and the ‘B’ in wings device are registered trademarks. © 2023 Bentley Motors Limited. Model shown: Continental GT Speed. BENTLEY ATLANTA
SIMPLY BUCKHEAD •  MARCH/APRIL 2023  9 12 Editor's Letter UP FRONT 17 NEWS Brookhaven Blockbuster New dine-in theater maximizes moviegoing experience 18 LOCAL SALUTE Coat of Many Colors Bentley Motors honors iconic CNN sportscaster 20 LIVING THE LIFE Anne Irwin A former Buckhead gallery owner has found her next act in the art of mustard 24 APPROVED Great Outdoors This expert-approved gear will have you prepped and ready for hiking, biking, camping and everything in between 26 TRAVEL NEAR The Lesser Known Florida Amelia Island’s unexpected treasures 28 TRAVEL FAR Lone Star Love San Antonio beyond the Alamo LIVING 30 HOME Compliments to the House A custom Brookhaven home has personal touches in every corner 36 BULLETIN BOARD Dealers of Worth Local designers share their favorite value furniture spots 38 TRENDING Ancient-Inspired Wonders Hellinic and Roman pieces can create a modern look 40 TASTEMAKER Young Love Elle Cantrell is making waves in Atlanta’s design industry Contents SIMPLY BUCKHEAD ®  MARCH/APRIL 2023 80 44 70 20 26 30 ➥
Photos: 20, 30, 80: Erik Meadows, 26: Deremer Studios, 44: Leslie Andrews, 70: Sara Hanna




Welcome to the Neighborhood

If you haven't been to the mall lately, here's what you're missing

46 BEAUTY Trend Savvy

A doctor's take on beauty influencers' obsessions


H2O Lingo

Understanding your store-bought water


A Daily Dose

Lily Collins brings popular Pilates studio to Buckhead


56 KIDS Dollars & Sense

How to teach kids about money


Pet Prep

What to consider when adopting a furry friend


Mix and Match

Create a capsule wardrobe with tips from a renowned Buckhead-based stylist



The Gambler

Justin Ball bets on his ability to deepen Stage Door’s community ties

64 ART

Art in the Here and Now

New gallery emphasizes the latest avant-garde


Hooked on Heroic Journeys

Artist Michi Meko’s outdoor life helps him delve deep inside himself


Places to go and things to do


70 Atlanta at Play

Discovering recreational pursuits for all ages



Sensational Surf & Turf Chops Lobster Bar is back and better than ever

84 DRINKS Garden to Glass

Garnish your drinks with a home cocktail garden


Fun and Games

Your 3rd Spot’s small plates menu is just as fun as its selection of games


Cheese, Please

Capella Cheese founder Raymond Hook elevates Atlanta’s dairy game

Featured Restaurants

A sampling of great eats in and around Buckhead


When it came time to put together a photo shoot for our “Atlanta at Play” cover, having kid models was an obvious choice. After all, no one knows how to play better than kiddos!

Our creative team converged on the newly opened Sloomoo Institute Atlanta—a place dedicated to bringing joy to kids of all ages through sensory play. This Buckhead location hosted us on a weekday afternoon when it was closed to the public, so we had it all to ourselves. Photographer Sara Hanna captured our models, Bentley and Bakari, learning how to make giant bubbles with pink slime, standing (in rain ponchos) underneath a slime shower and running through a gooey lake of multi-colored slime.

93 Charitable

A spotlight on philanthropic and social gatherings

96 Scene

Photographer: Sara Hanna

Producer: Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Photography assistant: Judd Redmond

Makeup: Nyssa Green

Models: Bentley and Bakari, courtesy Click Models Atlanta

Cover Wardrobe: On Bakari: Jersey Polo in Yellow ($24), Classic Straight Leg Heritage Wash Jeans ($34); On Bentley: Tutu Jersey Dress in Turquoise ($26), available at

Special thanks to Sloomoo Institute Atlanta, Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh.

@simplybuckhead @simplybuckhead @livingwellatl
Joann Vitelli
Sara Hanna
Brandon Amato

Editor's Letter

When I was a student at the University of Georgia, ballroom dancing was more than a hobby. As a member of the Ballroom Performance Group, I danced 20-plus hours a week and loved every minute. After graduation, carving out time to don my ballroom heels became tougher. I loved my career of writing and traveling so much that, subconsciously, it felt selfish to dedicate so much time to a hobby. How silly! This year, for the second February in a row, I performed with other BPG alumni— some of my best college friends—in Ballroom Magic, the annual student show. While it’s taken hard work to be performance-ready, for me, dancing feels like playing or even active meditation: It’s the only time my brain turns off.

I think some of those featured on our pages can relate. In this issue’s cover story, “Atlanta at Play,” our writers explore ways to let loose, through sports, interactive activities, games and the arts. No matter your age, our area has plenty of ways to play, from mah-jongg, pickleball and golf leagues to indoor rock climbing, theater camp and, yes, even ballroom dancing. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll find your next hobby right here in Simply Buckhead.

The rest of this issue is packed with other stories to inspire you. Amy Meadows shares stylist Melissa Young’s tips for building a capsule wardrobe; Angela Hansberger outlines how to plant a thriving cocktail garden that’s as lovely as it is delicious for cooking and mixing your favorite beverages; and Elizabeth Harper’s “Simply Approved” column explores some must-have outdoor items for spring.

We hope you enjoy reading this playful issue as much as our team has in creating it!

Serving Buckhead, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Upper Westside

P.O. Box 11633, Atlanta, GA 30355

For advertising rates, call: 404.538.9895

Publisher and Founder

Sonny Hayes

Chief Financial Officer


Giannina S. Bedford

Managing Editor

Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Senior Contributing Editor

Alan Platten

Creative Director

H.M. Cauley

Copy Editor


Karina Antenucci

Chelsie Butler

H.M. Cauley

Carly Cooper

Caroline Eubanks

Emily Foley

Lauren Finney Harden

Elizabeth Harper

Mickey Goodman

Angela Hansberger

Michael Jacobs

Amy Meadows

Hope Philbrick

Lia Picard

Ashton Pike

Gillian Renault

Claire Ruhlin

Ginger Strejcek


Sara Hanna

Erik Meadows

Joann Vitelli


Cheryl Isaacs

Senior Account Executive

Michelle Johnson

Account Executive

Layla Ghadamyari

Account Executive

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Graphic Designer


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Website Development Management

Mike Jose Director of Audience Development


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Legal Counsel


Chelsie Butler is the executive editor of Kitchen & Bath Business, a trade publication that serves design professionals. She’s been an editor for various trade magazines in Atlanta since graduating from the University of Florida with a journalism degree in 1993. Aside from her career, Chelsie’s passions include volunteering at local animal rescue shelters, which she has been involved with for more than 10 years. Tying into her love of animals, she covers the pets column for Simply Buckhead

Sara Hanna Jennifer Bradley Franklin Senior Contributing Editor Chelsie Butler
We welcome all contributions, but we assume no responsibility for unsolicited material. No portion of this publication can be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission. Copyright © 2023 by Simply Buckhead ® All rights reserved. Printed by Walton Press, Inc. Distributed by Distributech and Distribution Services Group.
PWP Studio


This exhibition is co-organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Brandywine River Museum of Art.




Cousins Foundation


Burton M. Gold Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot Sarah and Jim Kennedy Robin and Hilton Howell Joseph Stella (American, born Italy, 1877–1946), Flowers, Italy (detail), 1931, oil on canvas, Phoenix Art Museum, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Marshall, 1964.20.

The Lesser Known Florida Page 26




A picturesque boardwalk leads to one of Amelia Island’s 40 public beach access points.
“There's more
the state than the palm
and neon-tinged postcard images most people expect.”
16 MARCH/APRIL 2023  • SIMPLY BUCKHEAD On Sale Now•Mar 28 – Apr 2•


They were on to something back in 1957 when the jingly ad “Let’s All Go to the Lobby” enticed moviegoers to buy snacks at the jolly urging of an animated candy bar, popcorn, candy and soft drink. Today, that gratifying combo of food and flicks has been taken to a luxe new level at LOOK Dine-In Cinemas, now open at Town Brookhaven in the former CinéBistro space.

The seven-auditorium theater rings all the bells and whistles, from


Making tracks as the fastest-growing city in DeKalb County, Chamblee has unveiled its new City Hall at 3518 Broad Street, adding 29,700 square feet to the town center with an $18 million, three-story building on the site of the old Chamblee police station and Civic Center.

The bustling hub—a stately brick beauty resembling a train depot in a nod to the city’s history—features a spacious lobby, council chambers for 180, community room accommo-

state-of-the-art viewing with laser projection, wall-to-wall oversized screens and digital surround sound systems to cushy recline-and-dine loungers and upscale cuisine.

Sip handcrafted cocktails, savor hand-tossed pizza and munch Asiago Brisket Nachos. Crab cakes and freshly made sushi, including the Dynamite Shrimp Roll, are also on the menu. Or go old school with soda, popcorn and classic candies.

Thanks to mobile ordering via a

dating 240, a courtyard, third-floor terrace and event lawn (check the calendar for the Summer Concert Series dates).

“One of our goals with this building was to create an environment where everyone felt welcomed,” says Chamblee Mayor Brian Mock.

“It has exceeded that expectation.” •


Head to Phipps Plaza in Buckhead to indulge in the olfactory delights


QR code on each tray table, guests don’t have to leave their seats, though the sumptuous lobby, complete with full-service bar, nicely accommodates early arrivals and late departures.

“I’m a true believer in the magic of the moviegoing experience and how that experience unites us as a community,” says Brian Schultz, CEO/founder of LOOK Dine-In Cinemas with 10 theaters and about 100 screens in Texas, California, Florida,

of European luxury brand Byredo at its first stand-alone store in Atlanta. Shop perfume and home fragrances in signature blends of fresh floral, warm musk, exotic spices and woody notes, from $45 candles elegantly poured into smoky black glass to a $1,700 limited edition box set of perfume extracts. Makeup and body care products are also available, as well as select Byproduct pieces (leather bags to camping gear) manifested from the maverick mind of Founder/Creative Director

Arizona and New York. “I’m honored to provide a shared space where people can get together and enjoy a wonderful cinematic experience, a delicious meal and each other.”

Along with regular programming, LOOK offers alternative content (i.e. independent films), special needs screenings and community events. n

Ben Gorham, a painter-turned-perfumer who launched the flourishing company in Stockholm in 2006. • @officialbyredo


Sights set on city living? Preleasing is underway at Westbound at The Works in Atlanta’s Upper Westside, with move-in dates starting in July.

Part of an 80-acre adaptive reuse development, the five-story, 306-unit property features a mod mix of one- and two-bedroom floor plans,

amenities aplenty (from a game room with an indoor/outdoor bar to a poolside open air TV lounge), and an all-access pass to upscale shopping, dining and entertainment. Located off Chattahoochee Avenue across from Topgolf Midtown, The Works will ultimately comprise 350,000 square feet of retail/entertainment, 500,000 square feet of office space, 500 residences, 200 hotel rooms and 13 acres of greenspace. The preview/ leasing center is open daily. • @theworksatl

NEWS BY Ginger Strejcek
LOOK DINE-IN CINEMA • @lookcinemas
NEWS CLIPS Marcus Ingram
LOOK’s Brookhaven location lights up the big screen with luxe seating and luminous technology. Above: A hospitable hub for movie lovers, the full-service cinema greets guests with a posh bar and lobby.

Coat of Many Colors

Nwas known for his considerable skill but also for his exuberant personality and flamboyant one-of-a-kind blazers. He was easy to spot while announcing NBA games courtside on CNN and its affiliates for 26 seasons. The Buckhead resident’s positive attitude didn’t abate after he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2014. Soon after, he and his wife, Stacy, created the SagerStrong Foundation to fund research for blood cancers. To date, it has raised more than $2.5 million.

Sager lost his two-year battle in 2016, but his legacy is celebrated through a partnership with Bentley Motors Inc. The company designed a one-off GT Speed Convertible inspired by the brightly colored, flowery blazer he wore during his acceptance speech at the 2016 ESPY awards. At that event, he received the V Foundation for Cancer Research Jimmy V Perseverance Award, named for Jim Valvano, whose courage and speech at the first ESPY Awards in 1993 inspired the creation of the foundation. Since then, the organization has raised $290 million for cancer research.

It was the last public appearance for Sager who received numerous awards, including induction into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame two days before his death. He was honored posthumously by

the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (the Emmys) for Outstanding Sports Personality and Sports Reporter, as well as being the recipient of the 2017 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Curt Gowdy Media Award.

The relationship with Bentley evolved from Sager’s friendship with Scott Reynolds, retail marketing manager for the western U.S. and Canada. The two were introduced via the V Foundation, and Reynolds came up with the idea to “dress” an iconic Bentley sports car with a Sager jacket pattern to raise money for SagerStong.

“I thought it would be amazing,” says Stacy Sager, who was involved in the entire process from brainstorming ways the floral pattern would be applied to leaving the hood pattern-free to accommodate signa-

and celebrities. A final design touch was embroidering Sager’s signature on the head rests and door plates.

The iconic vehicle has traveled thousands of miles via transport, and Stacy was along for much of the ride, including stops at the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Art Basel in Miami. It was widely welcomed by Olympians and NBA, MLB, NFL sports families who signed its hood and trunk to simulate the people Sager would have met during the year.

Signees include Stephen Curry, Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr., Dikembe Mutombo, Trae Young, Freddie Freeman, Jamal Anderson, the Sager family and many more.

“We’re honored to have so many athletes sign this unique sports memorabilia on wheels in memory of Craig,” Stacy says. “If he were here today, he would be driving the family around, top down, smiling ear to ear in this perfect

Bentley Motors honors iconic CNN sportscaster

representation of his beautiful and powerful spirit.”

The car was auctioned off in February after the NBA All-Star game in Salt Lake City. Proceeds were earmarked for SagerStrong that recently partnered with the V Foundation to fund Stanford University's Dr. Amy Bhatt's research into the way dietary changes might improve the intestinal environment in cancer patients. The goal is to improve therapies.

To further cap a stellar fundraising year for SagerStrong, NBA All-Star Stephen Curry auctioned off a special pair of sneakers he wore during the 2022 NBA playoffs. They brought $52,000 at auction, in addition to garnering attention for SagerStrong. n

SAGERSTRONG FOUNDATION @sagerstrongfoundation

BENTLEY MOTORS • @bentleymotors

Fans march in the SagerStrong Bentley parade at Truist Park to honor blood cancer awareness.
BY Mickey Goodman
NBA All-Star Stephen Curry puts his imprint on the Sager car. Left: Stacy Sager contributed to the design of the Bentley CT Speed Convertible created in memory of her husband. Below: Craig Sager wearing one of his iconic coats.
SIMPLY BUCKHEAD •  MARCH/APRIL 2023  19 The Tasting is a fundraiser for the nonsectarian Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program, supporting adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Honoring the legacy of Jerry Horowitz, philanthropist and visionary Learn more at Join Us! Sip, Savor, and Splurge at May 4th


A former Buckhead gallery owner has found her next act in the art of mustard

As told to Amy Meadows PHOTOS: Erik Meadows

love mustard. For years, everywhere I went, I would buy different kinds. About 10 years ago, I decided to try and make my own mustard one day, taking one I liked and adding ingredients. I eventually came up with a recipe that brought together mustard and Champagne, and it was unlike anything I had ever tasted before. I started giving it to neighbors at Christmas, and I realized how much they enjoyed it when I began getting the empty jars in my mailbox with notes saying, “More, please.”

At the time, I was the owner of the Anne Irwin Fine Art Gallery on Miami Circle. I started the business out of my home when my kids were little; it was my fourth entrepreneurial pursuit. I’d done everything from selling comic books out of my red wagon to making jewelry in college and starting my own graphic design business. I was always very intuitive about the art world and seemed to have an eye for selecting art that other people liked too. But at the end of 2019, after 30 years, I was ready to sell the business to my fabulous gallery director, Emily West. Then the pandemic hit the following March.

I was bored and felt so isolated. I couldn’t sit around reading books all day, and I started wondering if I could take this mustard to market. I was so naïve. I thought I could make the mustard in my kitchen, find a cool label and start selling it right away. But there is so much more work to it than that. I had to get licenses, take chemistry and food science courses through the University of Georgia, find an industrial kitchen and much more. It felt like everything was completely out of my wheelhouse, and it was such a challenge. More than once I thought that I was going to stop, but I took it one step at a time. I was too far along to give it up. It took me


nearly two years to get everything in place so I could get my labels and start selling my Champagne mustard, which I named Lilly’s Proper.

I officially started selling my small-batch mustard in September 2022. I now work out of High Cotton Kitchen, a privately owned, industrial community kitchen in Buckhead, and I have an assistant who helps me. There are so many things I have to do to get the recipe right in the amount I’m producing, like making sure the product doesn’t get too cool before we put the lid on to create the vacuum seal. And I couldn’t do it by myself. In fact, I’ve found my way into this incredible food community, and the people are wonderful. They are so willing to help and share information, and it’s just amazing.

Similar to the art world, I’ve discovered that the food world has its own culture. Art has its own language, and so does food. It’s taken me a long time to figure out how to speak the language, but I’m learning. My granddaughter, Darby, helped me set up an Instagram account for Lilly’s Proper, and I have someone who helps me with that content now as well. And I actually sold out over Christmas—nearly 600 jars. I didn’t think it would happen this fast, so I’m trying to figure

out where I go from here.

I’m just amazed at how many people love my mustard, which is almost like a sauce. I’ve heard from people who tell me how they use it, from mixing it into hummus to using it in a salad dressing. I love that. For me, art provided a way for people to congregate, learn and grow. Art changes your home, and I always wanted to sell art that was peaceful, interesting and energetic. I feel the same way about food: It allows you to gather at the table with family and good friends. Just like art is an experience, food is an experience. I’m enjoying being in this food community, and I’m really at the beginning of this adventure. I’m just taking it one step at a time. n @lillysproper


Lilly’s Proper Champagne Mustard is sold at local area shops and boutiques:

ERIKA READE • @erikareadeltd

BELLA CUCINA • @shopbellacucina

OLI+VE • @oliandev

SPLASH OF OLIVE • @splashofolive

TIMPSON CREEK GALLERY @timpsoncreekgallery

Above: Lilly’s Proper Champagne Mustard is a small-batch wonder with a blend of tanginess and flavor. Left: Anne Irwin never expected to take another entrepreneurial leap but has found a new adventure with Lilly’s Proper.


yatt Centric Buckhead welcomes our Georgia locals and neighboring state residents to escape the ordinary and enjoy the comforts of delicious foods and pristine rooms at a friendly rate. Receive 10% OFF Rack and Free Valet Parking with in and out privileges during your stay.

Offer Code: LOCAL

Booking & Stay Dates: 3/1/23 through 9/9/23



Lenox Square Parkway NE Atlanta, GA 30326 (located behind Lenox Square)

On Running Men’s Cloudwander

Waterproof Shoe ($180)

On the trails or around the city, this hero shoe is fit for multiuse. Combing the technology of On Running’s hallmark Cloudventure and Cloudrock styles with CloudTec cushioning, Missiongrip rubber and water resistance, the Cloudwander hiking shoe is ideal for any adventure, no matter the weather.

High Country Outfitters • 404.856.0910


REI Co-op Nalgene Sustain Graphic

Wide-Mouth Water Bottle ($14)

Stay hydrated while venturing into the great outdoors with a classic Nalgene water bottle. Crafted from recycled resin; BPA-, BPS- and phthalate-free; and adorned with a nature lover-approved REI Co-op graphic, this water bottle is the answer to both form and function. Plus, it’s made to last and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

• 404.633.6508 • • @rei

Women’s Teca Crop Wind Jacket ($70)

With an on-trend cropped style and punchy, colorblocked hues, this windbreaker is as chic as it is functional. Made from 100% repurposed polyester taffeta, you look as good as you feel sporting this eco-friendly wind- and weather-resistant jacket.

High Country Outfitters • 404.856.0910 • @highcountryoutfitters

Great Outdoors

Embrace the springtime weather, put your adventure cap on and get outside. This expert-approved gear will have you prepped and ready for hiking, biking, camping and everything in between.

Crescent Kayaks UltraLite ($849)

Hit the Chattahoochee or the high seas with a lightweight, expertly engineered kayak in a springy pastel hue to boot. Because of its lightweight design, this Crescent kayak is easily transportable and ideal for maneuvering those tight spots in creeks, rivers and bays. It’s anglerapproved, too.

Westbrook Supply Co. • 470-588-1406 @westbrooksupplyco

Tough Trail Chuckwagon Dog Tote ($149)

Bring Fido along for the ride with a specialized dog tote that packs all their gear into one convenient bag. Made from super-durable and water-resistant fabric, Tough Trail’s Chuckwagon pack has movable interior dividers for ultimate organization, pockets to hold two collapsible silicone bowls and a food bag, a waste bag dispenser that’s discreetly tucked away and a lined exterior pocket for wet toys.

Orvis • 404.841.0093 • • @orvis

SIMPLY BUCKHEAD •  MARCH/APRIL 2023  25 an ESCAPIST’S PARADISE Discover the seductive spirit and vivid flavors of Le Colonial’s French-Vietnamese cuisine in the heart of Buckhead Village. Open Everyday for Lunch and Dinner 3035 PEACHTREE ROAD, NE LECOLONIAL.COM • 404-341-0500 Let yourself be transported to the timeless elegance of France in the heart of the Buckhead Village. Make your reservation 3027 BOLLING WAY, NE LEBILBOQUETATLANTA.COM • 404-869-9944


As a south Florida native, I know there’s more to the state’s beach towns than the palm tree-lined and neon-tinged postcard images most people expect. I love to seek out the lesser-known destinations in the Sunshine State, but even I hadn’t heard of Amelia Island until I moved to Atlanta. Last year, when my husband and I needed a drivable beach getaway, we hopped in the car and drove six hours to this north Florida destination.

Amelia Island is a barrier island about 35 miles north of Jacksonville, the site of the closest airport. It first flew under a French flag in the 1500s before changing hands several times and eventually becoming a vacation destination with resorts, golf courses, private residences and a swanky car show in March. The presence of state parks preserves a rustic vibe.

Crossing the bridge to the island felt like entering a liminal space that’s not quite Florida. Sure there are palm trees and homes in vibrant hues, but there’s a certain serenity that comes with miles of wide beaches and no spring breakers in sight (it didn’t hurt that it also happened to be autumn).

I wanted to rest, but I can never

sit still for long, so The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island felt ideal, with its proximity to the historic downtown and parks. The ocean is always within view from the 446-room property—whether from the pool or the lobby—but the real selling point is the 27,5000-square-foot spa.

As soon as we checked in, I sped to my spa appointment, a signature “ocean healing” treatment. It started with a soak in a private tub, followed by a salt scrub and stone massage. You know the treatment was effective when you wake up feeling dazed yet calm afterwards (a dip in the private, adults-only spa pool perked me back up).

Feeling energized, my husband and I dined at Salt, the elegant, on-property restaurant whose name refers to the ocean’s proximity as well as its use of more than 40 globally sourced salts (salt blocks are even used as serving vessels).

Led by Executive Chef Okan Kizilbayir, the menu reflects his fine dining credentials (he worked under Eric Ripert at New York’s Le Bernardin) with an emphasis on seafood, befitting the coastal locale. Standout dishes included the seared snapper with Swiss chard and plantains, and octopus with chickpea puree and harissa oil.

The experience is a splurge (appetizers start around $30) but a worthy one on vacation.

Our first morning’s plan was dashed by temperamental Florida weather. Instead of going on the hotel’s “Hook, Line and Supper” excursion in which you catch your own dinner, we watched the rain meet the ocean from our room’s balcony.

When it passed, I was ready to explore, so we headed to Fernandina Beach’s downtown area that has eclectic restaurants, shops, a marina and blocks of historic homes. My favorite was a sea foam Victorian charmer with gingerbread trim. We had lunch at the Salty Pelican, a dive with staples such as locally sourced peel-and-eat shrimp and fried oysters, then took a stroll down Centre

Street to visit independently-owned The Book Loft and enjoy an ice cream scoop at Fantastic Fudge. The remainder of the trip followed this sort of cadence with a quick jaunt off island to explore the driftwood beach at Little Talbot Island State Park.

The day started drearily but ended with a spectacular sunset at the beach. I marveled at the way the tide pools reflected the wispy clouds glowing in a technicolor pink. I guess I can’t completely escape the neon-tinged beaches in Florida after all. n

THE RITZ-CARLTON AMELIA ISLAND 904.277.1100 • @ritzcarltonameliaisland

VISIT AMELIA ISLAND • 904.277.0717 • @visitameliaisland

Amelia Island’s unexpected treasures
STORY: Lia Picard
The Salty Pelican is the quintessential seafood shack serving fried shrimp and more. Above: The writer enjoyed a stunning sunset over The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island's beach. Left: The historic buildings of downtown Fernandina Beach contain charming shops and eateries. Lia Picard Deremer Studios Deremer Studios

We Mean Business

Over 15 years ago, ‘we meant business’ when we believed our community deserved the personal and professional service that only a local bank could deliver. We have grown since then but we still are locally owned with local decision makers who take pride in personalized service.

It is important that we remain accessible to our customers. That includes everyone from our staff right up to our Board of Directors. ■ We offer a full suite of competitive business, treasury and consumer banking services to help you pursue your dreams. You don’t find that on every block.

Business Loans A/R & Inventory Financing Lines of Credits Acquisition/Development Equipment Owner/Non-owner Occupied Real Estate SBA–7(a) & 504 Deposit Services Remote Deposit ACH Services Mobile Banking and Deposit Business Debit Card Wire Transfers Commercial Analysis Accounts Merchant Services Consumer Loans
Vacation Home Improvement
Home Equity Lines of Credit
David R. Coxon Sherry Martin, SVP
NMLS #1174631 Buckhead Financial Center 3880 Roswell Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30342 404-231-4100 North Metro Financial Center 6080 Bethelview Road, Cumming, GA 30040 404-835-9980
Kecia Smith, AVP Mani Swarnam, SVP President & CEO Director of Gov. Guaranteed Lending Deposit Operations Commercial Lending Team Leader

Lone Star Love

It’s not my first visit to San Antonio, Texas, but I’m treating it as if it is. Last time, I spent almost all of the trip in museums and at the famous missions, but now I look forward to venturing out to the get a taste of the city’s other neighborhoods. I was able to fly directly into the city from Atlanta in under three hours, making for an easy weekend getaway.

My favorite place to stay is Hotel Emma, a chic boutique hotel in the former Pearl Brewery. It’s right on the Riverwalk and has multiple restaurants and bespoke details such as custom-made robes and candles. It gets its name from the brewery owner’s wife—and mistress—who were both named Emma. The wife ran the brewery after her husband died in 1914 and kept the business going through Prohibition

by converting operations to dry cleaning, auto repair and making the legal “near beer,” a fermented malt beverage with very low alcohol.

The Pearl District that surrounds the hotel is home to more restaurants and shops as well as a campus of the Culinary Institute of America.

I browsed the stacks at The Twig Bookshop and drooled over the finely stitched goods at Dos Carolinas, which makes the hotel’s bathrobes. I went for lunch at Cured, known for its cured meats and brown butter caramel bread pudding.

Now satiated, I made my way back downtown to explore Hopscotch, an interactive art space with its own bar serving sotol cocktails to sip while you wander. Open since 2018, the space has an LED-lit ball pit, an installation in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign, and a

San Antonio beyond the Alamo STORY:

room where you can leave your secrets on an answering machine.

At Cuishe, named for wild agave used in mezcal, I dined on modern Mexican cuisine. The menu includes quesadillas with Chihuahua cheese and fried grasshoppers as well as chilaquiles and esquite, a corn dish with queso fresco.

On my way back to my hotel, I stopped at The Esquire Tavern, a longtime watering hole that opened after Prohibition. I sidled up to the 100-foot-long bar top, the longest in Texas, sipping my cocktail while admiring the taxidermy-covered walls.

The next morning, the husband and wife team behind San Antonio SiDeCaRs picked me up in a custom-made Vespa sidecar to show me their favorite spots. Curious drivers stopped at intersections to snap our picture and wave. We stopped for

Caroline Eubanks

coffee and breakfast tacos before they dropped me off at the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

The sprawling acreage has views of the Tower of the Americas and is made up of native and tropical plants, including 35 rare and endangered species. The glass conservatories hold an incredible variety of flora.

I returned to the Pearl District for dinner at Best Quality Daughter, which is one of the incredible restaurants in the district, featuring Asian fare with a modern twist like spicy pork fried rice. A nightcap was in order, so I headed to Hemisfair Park to Re:Rooted, a wine bar with blends from the Hill Country served on tap. You can even fill a canister to take back to your hotel!

Before my flight the next morning, I made a beeline for Market Square, with its colorful flags draped over the street. This area is great for souvenir shopping, with artisan goods from Mexico and beyond. I grabbed a cinnamon sugar pastry from Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia to eat as I browsed, the perfect last meal in the Alamo City. n

BEST QUALITY DAUGHTER • 210.819.4236 • • @bestqualitydaughter HOTEL EMMA • 844.845.7384 • @thehotelemma

SAN ANTONIO BOTANICAL GARDEN 210.536.1400 • • @sabotgarden

THE ESQUIRE TAVERN • 210.222.2521 • @esquiretavernsa

Left: Hotel Emma retains the grand brick design from its days as a brewery. Below: The Esquire Tavern is one of the oldest bars in Texas. Best Quality Daughter serves playful Asian-inspired dishes on vintage plates. The San Antonio Botanical Garden is the perfect green escape from the city center. Jason Risner Anne Burnett
SIMPLY BUCKHEAD •  MARCH/APRIL 2023  29 2023 WOMEN EMPOWHER LUNCHEON Thompson Hotel Buckhead Dress for Success Atlanta's Join us to celebrate our 2023 EmpowHER Honorees and recognize the empowered leadership and important contributions made by so many great women in our Atlanta community. March 30th, 2023 11:30AM Keynote Presentation by CEO, Business Author and Former Sports Agent Molly Fletcher DRESSFORSUCCESSATLANTA.ORG

to the

House Compliments


Sonia and Jibin Thomas dreamed of a modern custom-built home, anticipating the joy of creating the property. When they started the Brookhaven project in 2019, they were met with hiccups from codes and staffing to supply chain shortages.

“I wanted 10-foot ceilings on each of our three floors, but there’s a maximum structure height because DeKalb-Peachtree Airport is so close,” Sonia says. “There were a lot of issues we did not anticipate. We had no idea these issues would impact us years later. For example, our dishwashers are still backor-

dered!” The couple persevered with their eyes on the prize: a home done to their exact requirements.

“The entire house was completely designed and decorated by us, with zero outsourcing,” says Jibin. “We worked with the architect and builder to ensure our vision would work, and they helped us stay within code and budget. But we designed the floor plan, the dimensions and the finishes. We prefer it that way due to our specifications, our vision and our extreme attention to detail.” That means every piece of decor has something the couple loves or has a connection to, often with layered meaning.

STORY: Lauren Finney Harden PHOTOS: Erik Meadows
The entryway features blackand-white floors, inspired by Sonia's love of Blair Waldorf's townhouse in Gossip Girl. It's accented by a warm white oak piano from Cooper Piano.

Sonia, who is an associate professor of pharmacy practice, a clinical oncology specialist pharmacist and a health coach, loves the marble checkered tile in the foyer, inspired by Blair Waldorf’s house on Gossip Girl. The gold lion door knocker harkens to Sonia’s love of Gucci and her astrological status as a Leo. While a few disputes arose (“we have similar styles but sometimes different tastes,” says Jibin), there was always a compromise.

This level of detail doesn’t happen overnight. The project took three years and is still a work in progress, with the groundwork for the design laid and cultivated over the years. The couple scoured websites like Houzz for ideas and watched “endless hours of HGTV and YouTube,” says Sonia, noting that Jibin was keen to take advantage of a custom-build to make every detail fit—with a twist. Almost every furnishing except the sofa was bought online, sight unseen. “This requires a lot of patience and the ability to visualize,” says Jibin, who works in software as an IT senior manager of data analytics. “We have zero background in design, but

“We designed the floor plan, the dimensions and the finishes.”
— Jibin Thomas
The kitchen and dining area feature a high-constrast black-and-white palette with brass accents. Jibin, Leia, Sonia and Lara Thomas

both of us have a love for fashion. I also have a passion for interior design,” he says, noting that he’s addicted to home design television, particularly ones that highlight interiors in Paris, New York and Los Angeles.

A few pieces transferred from their previous home, which was just down the road: A vintage French balloon chair now holds a place of honor in their eldest daughter’s room. But for the most part, the decor was new. “We tried to sell almost everything from our previous home because we wanted to start from scratch,” Sonia says.

Showstopping design starts in the foyer and continues through-

out. The primary bedroom and bathroom were a combination of Sonia’s love of all-white and Jibin’s preference for darker, moodier environs. “During the pandemic, we had a lot of time to think about the decor and changed many plans. Somehow we flip-flopped!” says Sonia. “We ended up with black. It’s definitely a moody vibe in there.”

The bathroom is a reflection of the couple’s travels, particularly to the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni on Lake Como, Italy. “We’d never seen so much marble in a bathroom done so tastefully,” Jibin says. “Although recreating that was out of our budget, we designed it in a way that evokes the feeling of being back in ➥

Left: The custom fireplace is a focal point in the living room, drawn on a piece of paper by Jibin and shown to the builder. Below: Custom wine storage is cleverly hidden around the fireplace. Left: The Brookhaven home's exterior is a preview of the interior. Below: The entryway was inspired by European architecture and features dentil molding and an oversized mirror from Anthropologie.

Italy.” They used large, white and gray marble-like porcelain tiles on the floors, back wall and on all four sides of the shower, with a shower floor laid in a herringbone pattern. In the main living spaces, the two wanted warmth to blend seamlessly with contemporary styles. “We didn’t want anything too trendy like

an all-white look,” Sonia says. They settled on a white, gold, brass and black theme for the heart of the home, with an all-important appliance: a Wolf double griddle stove. “It was on our wish list prior to building,” she says. European white oak herringbone floors add a touch of Paris, and the sherpa fabric sec-

tional and goop x CB2 ivory bouclé chairs keep things modern. A custom fireplace by Keystone Millworks with fluted hidden storage underneath and bespoke wine storage nearby rounds out the first floor.

The playroom for the couple’s two daughters is a study in creative problem-solving. They wanted it to

be vibrant but sophisticated and functional, so they added a Murphy bed to transform the space into a guest room if needed. As always, the two focused on the home holistically. “When you walk in the front door and see the black and white foyer, it’s complemented by bright and bold colors on either side: blue and

Above: "We bought the TOV Furniture bright green chairs almost two years before the house was built," Sonia says. The office nook was inspired by Dolce & Gabbana. Above and Below: The speakeasy's sleek interior; the faux bookshelf that leads to the jewelbox speakeasy.

yellow in the playroom/guest room and green in the study,” Sonia says. Another area of creativity: the speakeasy, a hidden room reflecting the couple’s love of The Great Gatsby. “We wish we lived in Paris in the ’20s [like F. Scott Fitzgerald],” says Jibin, noting that neither are huge drinkers, but they love the

conversation that is often a product of sharing cocktails. Taking inspiration from the St. Regis hotels in Atlanta and New York, they plan to commission a large mural to reflect their cosmopolitan tastes.

When looking for a location, the couple found Brookhaven was a happy compromise, tying together

Sonia’s love of Manhattan and Jibin’s affinity for Los Angeles. “I wanted to live closer to Buckhead, and Jibin wanted to be in an area that allowed for more space and bang for our buck,” Sonia says. Jibin located the lot while browsing Zillow and presented it to the builder.

Despite the obstacles, the couple

is thrilled with their home. “This house will always be an integral part of us, our family and our future,” Jibin says. “We are extremely blessed to be where we are. Loving where you live is something we try not to take for granted. It provides peace, security and that ‘home is where the heart is’ feeling.” n

"I wanted a workout room that was light and airy, with floor-to-ceiling windows," Sonia says. Above: Black wasn't what the couple thought they'd use in their primary bedroom, but they love it. Below: The primary bath was inspired by a trip to Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloi on Lake Como, Italy.



Local designers share their favorite value furniture spots

Virginie Airieau • @acuratedroom

Swoox Curated


“It's one of my favorite places to find oneof-a-kind pieces in Atlanta. I love the fact that they carry different styles. There is always a treasure to be found.”

Mélange: “Perfect place if you are looking for French antiques. They have a beautiful selection. What always catches my eye is the dec-

orative objects they have, such as candle holders or vases. They pack on a ton of character and are a great finishing touch to an interior.”

Westside Market:

“[It] con sists of lots of smaller booths owned by individuals, with old and new items. It is a great place to find some deals. They don't have everything, but they do have a lot of great pricing.”


Now and Again: “It has mostly resale but also carries lots of new lighting for the home at good prices.”

edefined Home Boutique: “This is one of my favorites for lots of fill-in pieces as well as upholstery, including beds.”

Gina Sims • @ginasimsdesign

Antiques + Modern: “With locations in Springs and Decatur, it’s a


Sip your morning coffee or tea from an objet d’art. The Serena Carone Green Cup is crafted of terre noire (aka “dark earth”) sourced from the Paris Basin of the Seine River. It’s part of Astier de Villatte’s collection of Parisian ceramics, where each piece is made by a single craftsperson from start to finish using 18th century techniques. The ceramics are finished with a stamp of the maker’s name and the brand logo, an overlapping A and V. Available for $285 at Dixon Rye. • @dixon_rye

must for when we want great vintage pieces. There are loads of modern designer pieces too, but I'm usually there for the accessories, lighting or that one-of-a-kind statement piece. There is a wide range of prices, but I can usually find something that fits the bill.”

CoCoCo Home:

“I have to recommend CoCoCo Home for the amazing sofas and accent chairs. It’s family owned, and all the pieces are made in North Carolina. They also have an incredible array of fabrics and the ability to customize lengths and depths of your sofa to fit how you like to sit. They are a must visit. But make an appointment.” n

Atlanta-based hard surface flooring retailer Floor & Decor has opened its newest location in Buckhead at 3365 Piedmont Road. The Floor & Decor Design Studio showcases more than 30 vignettes and offers one-on-one designer consultations in your space that include hand-selected samples, measurements, a 3D design rendering and a custom project quote. The team is led by Quida Lide, the new studio’s design manager.

n Buckhead’s The Kimpton Sylvan Hotel earned the 2022 Northstar Stella Awards’ prestigious Gold Medal in the Best Boutique Property Southeast category. The Stellas award hospitality properties and service providers that

deliver “quality service and innovation” to meeting and events professionals. The Kimpton Sylvan Hotel was commended for its commitment to maintaining an eco-friendly environment, including its 5,000-square-foot, on-site oxygen-cleansing gardens as well as the use of resource-efficient bulbs, faucets and shower heads in the 217 guest rooms.

n Brookhaven's Arts & Culture Commission has several public art projects in the works and is searching for artists to help with murals, art crosswalks, bicycle racks and more. Interested artists are invited to fill out a survey available at

Kudzu Antiques + Modern retails new and vintage pieces.
SIMPLY BUCKHEAD •  MARCH/APRIL 2023  37 Wearethepremiercomplimentary conciergeservicehelpingpeople andbusinessespurchasethebest servicesthatfittheirneeds ABetterWayToShop

Michael Aram Butterfly Ginkgo Table Lamp ($1,000)

Lamps have taken a more sculptural turn in recent years, proving their value far beyond functional lighting. Take, for example, the Butterfly Ginkgo Table Lamp from artist Michael Aram. Rendered in solid brass, it balances its visual weight with its delicate hand-touch. No two Michael Aram pieces are alike, so proudly display this conversation piece in a room where it can shine.

Fragile Gifts • 404.257.1323 • • @fragile_gifts

Parete x Cynthia Rowley Whatever Floats Your Botanicals Wallcovering (price upon request)

Parete, the expressive wallcovering company, has teamed up with fashion designer Cynthia Rowley to produce a line of wallpapers fit for any style seeker. Featuring snapdragons, wild flowers and secret hummingbirds, the paper is as playful as it is statementmaking. If the gloriously moody ebony is not bowling you over, the paper also comes in a chic and cheerful sky blue colorway. Compare the two in person at Paul+ showroom at ADAC. Paul+ • 404.261.1820 • • @paulplusatlanta

Feeling Floral

Florals for spring? Groundbreaking. However, this season’s florals have permission to go over-the-top in color, style and scale to produce flowers that really wow and command a room. Try these floral fixups to inject a spring into your step.

STORY: Lauren Finney Harden

Le Botanica Series XII

No. 8 and 9 ($550 each)

Buckhead-based artist

Renée Bouchon is known for her abstract art, in particular her Le Botanica series featuring floral motifs painted atop vintage late 19th-century French paper. Sign up for alerts about her next series drop because these sweet, one-of-a-kind pieces go quickly.

Renée Bouchon

Similar styles available at @reneebouchon

Ginori Anfora Rajathra Palace Candle ($1,001)

A decorative floral motif brings elegance and sophistication to this artisan-crafted candle from Italian brand Ginori. The utmost in olfactory luxury, the candle’s scent is reminiscent of India’s state of Rajasthan with notes of rose, patchouli and spices of cardamom and coriander. Topped off with a pure gold finial, it’s an indulgent way to bring floral fragrance and design into any space.

fête • 404.254.0144 • @tresbellefete

Annie Selke Eternal Spring Woven Rug ($2,174)

A perpetually cheerful addition to any room, this woven rug from Kit Kemp’s collection for Annie Selke calls on golden tones to emulate sunshine. Flat-woven and handmade, it adds a touch of craftsmanship and looks at home with neutrals as well as other colors for a maximalist look.

Marguerite’s on Dresden 404.841.9171 @margueritesondresden

A LUXURY STAYCATION THAT IS UNPARALLED No worry. No jetlag. No stress. We take care of you every moment. A Staycation with us is more than a vacation; it’s true luxury relaxation curated perfectly for you. 3315 Peachtree Road, NE Atlanta, GA 30326 | 404-946-9000

Young Love


Seldom does someone uncover their lifelong passion at 4 years old. Then again, Atlanta-based interior designer Elle Cantrell isn’t known for taking the most traveled path.

Born in Eastbourne, England, Cantrell and her family immigrated to the states—specifically Mari-

etta—before she was a year old.

At that OTP address Cantrell had a Hallmark-movie-worthy experience with love at first sight, except instead of falling for a handsome townie, she was starry-eyed for home decor and furnishings.

“My parents hired an interior designer to work on our family home,

and I have been interested ever since,” says Cantrell, whose career has been influenced by design moguls such as Robert Brown, Darryl Carter and Sarah Lavoine.

A tastemaker in her own right, the SCAD grad founded Elle Du Monde, a full-service residential design firm, in 2016. Alongside her all-female team of six, Cantrell brings her collected-contemporary-meets-bold aesthetic to homes throughout the metro area, from Buckhead and Dunwoody to Brookhaven and beyond. She’s even been called upon to outfit Atlantans’ second homes in Sea Island.

Here, she shares her take on Atlanta’s interior design industry, what she’s working on and more.

What design elements do you like to experiment with most?

Color and texture. I love challenging clients to think outside the box, both for furnishings and architectural elements.

Where do you find inspiration?

Traveling is a huge source of inspiration for me. I also love spending Saturday mornings with a cup of coffee in one hand and a design magazine in the other.

What's your favorite room to design in a home?

The kitchen. My designs are about function as much as form, and the kitchen has to be a perfect blend of both. People are afraid to go bold in the kitchen, but it's the heart of the home and should be inspiring.

The most memorable project you've worked on?

It's really hard to say because all of our projects are so different, and I love each of them. We're currently working on a full renovation and addition for a historic house in Ansley Park that includes adding a contemporary pool house. It's going to be up there as a favorite and is wellaligned with my personal aesthetic.

What do you love about working in Atlanta?

We have a huge design industry in Atlanta, but it's small at the same time. Everyone knows each other, and it's a warm, welcoming group of professionals. I'm lucky to be a part of it.

What's an underrated design trend? Antiques in contemporary design. Clients are sometimes afraid to mix well-loved pieces into a new, polished space, but antiques bring a sense of warmth and authenticity that cannot be replicated.

If we're talking about "a little goes a long way," what design element comes to mind?

Florals. A little sprinkle is enough, in my opinion. n

Cantrell is making waves in Atlanta’s design industry
Marc Mauldin Photography
Astrid Ottoman, BRADLEY | Suite 315 Assorted Pillows courtesy of Jim Thompson | Suite 304 Rug courtesy of Moattar | Suite 314 Mantas Ezcaray Mohair Rozco Blanket, Peacock Alley | Suite A6
351 Peachtree Hills Ave, Atlanta Monday – Friday | Open to the Trade & Public More info at @adacatlanta | #adacatlanta Ella Table by Elan Atelier available at Paul + Original Artwork by Nate Adair from Jim Thompson DESIGNADAC 4.18–4.20

Welcome to the STYLISH Neighborhood


It’s always exciting when new stores open in the neighborhood, and after so much change at our malls recently, it’s refreshing to see new tenants come in and breathe new life into our favorite shopping haunts. Here is a rundown of the newest boutiques to open in Buckhead’s major shopping districts.


Frances Valentine

Created in 2016 by designers, business partners and best friends Kate Spade and Elyce Arons after selling their original brand Kate Spade New York, Frances Valentine sells men’s and women’s ready-to-wear fashion, handbags, shoes and jewelry. The aesthetic? Colors, prints and designs that are joyful and exuberant. The shop opened in late October and

feels like your best friend’s chic home with colorful rugs on the floors and eclectic artwork on the walls.

rag & bone

Known for its high quality classic styles and elevated basics, rag & bone is synonymous with understated, New York chic. The boutique opened in September and sells the brand’s ready-to-wear, denim, footwear and accessories. The space reflects the brand's signature store aesthetic with marble ledges, brass racks and handcrafted walnut tables displaying the current collections.

Sarah Flint

Luxury shoe designer Sarah Flint was just 25 when she started her brand in 2013, and now her Atlanta boutique

is her third brick-and-mortar store. The shop opened in November, and a striking royal blue façade greets customers as they walk into a space with velvet chairs, custom wallpaper and built-in bookcases, some displaying shoes, others books, all in coordinating shades of blue. Her designs run the gamut from pumps and flats to loafers and booties, and are handcrafted in Milan. Fans include Amal Clooney, Serena Williams and Lady Gaga, and now, plenty of Atlantans.



Well known among Hollywood’s elite and beloved by the likes of singers Justin Bieber, Harry Styles and The Weeknd, Amiri is an LA-based streetwear line that launched with

menswear and has now branched into both womenswear and a new kids’ collection. You can find the full range at the 4,000-square foot Atlanta boutique that opened in October and sets a striking tone with marble accents, display cases and pops of blue throughout.


Currently helmed by Matthew Williams, Givenchy needs no introduction to Atlanta’s fashion-minded. At the new store, opened in November, you’ll find fashions for men and women, accessories and exclusive capsule collections, the first of which is with Atlanta-born, New York-based streetwear label Bstroy. This boutique is the second in the country to present Givenchy’s new retail concept featuring industrial


stone and mannequin sculptures designed by British artist Ewan Macfarlane.


Moose Knuckles

As its first store in the Southeast, the Lenox location of Moose Knuckles opened in November and serves as an introduction of the Canadian-based luxury outerwear brand to many. What can you expect?

Ultra-chic outerwear for the whole family that offers as much of a fash-

ion statement as what you’re wearing under it. The design of the store recreates the Canadian tundra and boasts elements of high-tech fitting rooms and floor-to-ceiling digital screens.

Savage X Fenty

Call it the store opening heard ’round the city because this one had a lot of buzz—even before leasing contracts were signed. It’s no wonder, since everything Rihanna touches goes viral, and her lingerie

and loungewear brand is no different. Located on the mall level sandwiched between Moose Knuckles and Guess?, the boutique sells lingerie, loungewear and active wear for men and women.

Tiffany & Co.

After operating exclusively in Phipps Plaza for more than 50 years, the legendary jeweler has expanded its Atlanta presence with a second boutique in Lenox Square near Bloomingdale’s, next to Mont-

blanc and TAG Heuer. The Lenox store is smaller than the Phipps outpost, but the two will operate congruently, with each store carrying separate portions of the brand’s collection. n



PHIPPS PLAZA • @shopphippsplaza

LENOX SQUARE • @lenoxsqmall

1. The hat wall at Moose Knuckles. 2. rag & bone in Buckhead Village. 3. You can’t miss Sarah Flint’s blue storefront. 4. Frances Valentine in Buckhead Village.
1 3 4 5 2
5. The new Givenchy boutique in Phipps Plaza.


Most beauty aficionados have been there: You follow an influencer on social media; they share a trend with “wow” results; and you think, maybe I’ll try that. While some cutting-edge brands and influencers offer sound advice, other trends can be ineffective at best or harmful at worst. Here, we tap board-certified dermatologist Dr. Elise Barnett, founder of Atlanta Skin Wellness in Sandy Springs, for her expertise to separate beauty fact from fiction. Bottom line: If you’re unsure of a new-to-you beauty trend, it’s always safest to ask a trusted doctor.

Can Botox really be preventative?

Absolutely. We use the muscles in our faces to make expressions, and over time those muscles can form

lines (forehead, crow's feet and frown lines). By relaxing those muscles [with Botox], they aren't able to constantly worsen those wrinkles or form them at all. You know what they say: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Is the latest trend of face taping that uses kinesiology tape strategically to soften wrinkles safe? Does it help? Although I think taping the face is probably not a good idea as it could lead to other problems such as dermatitis due to the adhesive in the tape, I do think products like this are temporarily effective, albeit impractical, as they prevent the muscles from contracting and creating wrinkles. A silicone patch may be especially helpful if used overnight for "sleep lines"— lines created not by movement

of muscles but by creases formed when sleeping on one's stomach or side. Wearing these during the day is usually not practical but applying to sleep can help.

Does drinking or eating collagen have an impact on beauty (hair, skin, nails)? At this time, there isn't enough evidence for me to personally recommend oral collagen supplements, and studies are mixed.

We know fermented foods can be good for gut health, but now there are beauty products with fermented ingredients and probiotics. How is I don't necessarily recommend anything fermented or any product containing bacteria, but I do recommend products that contain prebiotics. These give the skin the nutrients it needs to establish a healthy microbiome that can reduce symptoms of inflammation and calm diseases such as seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) on the skin

Slugging (that is, applying a liberal amount of an occlusive emollient such as Vaseline or a super-thick moisturizer) is viral on TikTok. Does it have merit?

It depends on the person. For those with excessively dry skin or patients who are taking medications such as isotretinoin, which tends to make the skin dry and sensitive, this could have some benefit. I would never recommend "slugging" for anyone with acne-prone skin or clogged pores, as this could make matters worse.

Do at-home microcurrent devices really sculpt your face by working out the muscles?

It depends on the device itself, but the NuFACE has nice results, and they are almost instant. By stimulating certain facial muscles, the jaw can become more defined and the brows lifted. You must continue to use it in order to reap the benefits.

Skin cycling, or rotating the products we use, is a huge TikTok trend. Should we be doing it?

Most dermatologists have been recommending “skin cycling” for years now, although we haven't always called it that. Retin-A, the gold standard for anti-aging, can be quite irritating, causing many to give up. Giving your skin little breaks by skipping a night or two between each use can help with tolerability and long-term compliance. n

A doctor's take on beauty influencers' obsessions
ATLANTA SKIN WELLNESS CENTER 404.446.4840 • @dr.elise.barnett
STORY: Jennifer Bradley Franklin
Dr. Elise Barnett of Atlanta Skin Wellness offers advice based on proven studies.

Derrick Tennant

Derrick has lived through a coma, paralysis, and rehab, yet he has come out stronger. Despite his limitations, Derrick proves that even in the midst of darkness, happiness can be seen.

Jenn Hobby


A Quiet Hero herself, Jenn is a beloved radio host and Atlanta personality whose warmth and devotion to her family shine through the moment she steps behind the podium.

Candice Glover ft. HoneyBees

Live Performance

You’ll love the musical stylings of American Idol season 12 winner Candice Glover with the SCAD HoneyBees, the alumni vocal ensemble comprised of six breakout stars.

Quiet Heroes is a special annual luncheon hosted by CURE Childhood Cancer to honor mothers of children with cancer. Our Quiet Heroes have literally put their lives on hold while they fight cancer alongside their child. They are mothers. They are daughters. They are sisters and friends. They are your neighbors and coworkers, and we invite you to help us celebrate them on March 25.

This luncheon is the perfect time to share a relaxing and inspirational afternoon with your friends as we honor these overburdened moms.




MADE POSSIBLE BY: Chris and Tom Glavine Donna Kennedy

Inspirational Speaker


From spring and mineral to alkaline and artesian, it’s hard to keep up with the differences on bottled or canned water labels. What’s best? What’s just smart marketing verbiage that could be driving up the cost (for no good reason)? Here, we tapped Hollis Callaway, Buckhead resident and founder of Montane Sparkling Spring Water, to explain the nuances among various waters so you can make a more informed decision for yourself.


Think: Poland Spring, Montane, Arrowhead

To be classified as a spring water, it must naturally flow out of the ground. Natural pressure forces spring water through rock that filters it. “Spring waters that have been tested have demonstrated excellent quality water. Depending on the type of rock it goes through, the water will have different profiles, the biggest components of which are minerality and alkalinity,” says Callaway. When in doubt, you can’t really go wrong with the quality of a spring water.

Understanding your store-bought water

FIJI, Simple Truth (artesian version), Springtime

It may sound fancy, but artesian is really just water that is pumped out of the ground. “It’s a fancy well water. They are trying to make it sound nicer than it is. It’s considered inferior to spring water,” says Callaway.

Think: Aquafina, Dasani, Kirkland Signature



Think: Acqua Panna, Evian, Sanpellegrino

Any spring water can be a mineral water, too, says Callaway. While there is not an exact, widespread definition for this, mineral water typically contains a large quantity of dissolved minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium or silica. “Most European spring waters are considered to be mineral waters because of their higher mineral content.” A water brand’s website may report the exact composition.

This is simply tap water that has been filtered. “Purification removes nearly everything from the water, including contaminants and minerals. Reverse osmosis is one type of purification. Personally, I would say purified water and water from your fridge filter are on the same level,” Callaway says. Save the environment a few plastic bottles and just fill up your refillable water bottle.


Think: Essentia, Jove, Glacéau smartwater (alkaline version)

Alkaline refers to the pH of the water. Most waters are close to a neutral pH and alkaline waters—that

Consumer Reports released results from a large study that tested bottled and canned waters for four heavy metals and PFAS, a group of highly toxic “forever” chemicals that have ended up in water sources. See how your favorite brand stacks up here: Plus, the Environmental Working Group analyzed more than 31 million state water records for pollutants. To see what’s up with the tap water in your neighborhood, enter your ZIP code here:

can occur naturally or are manufactured—have more base, or a higher pH. Some brands tout the health and skin benefits of this. Studies confirm the benefits of an alkaline diet rich in fruits and vegetables, but none of those findings relate specifically to alkaline water. “I’m not aware of any medical, peer-reviewed science that supports that. The reality is as soon as water gets into your stomach, the acids in your stomach and the hamburger you just ate will alter its pH,” Callaway says. n

H2 O
Hollis Callaway, founder of Montane Sparkling Spring Water, says that the water you think is delicious is purely a matter of palate.

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Lily Collins brings popular Pilates

STORY: Karina Antenucci

While Lily Collins was working as a physical therapy technician and personal trainer, she saw an opportunity to bring a contemporary style of Pilates to Atlanta. She opened The Daily Pilates in Inman Park in 2015, offering an athletic version of the workout that pairs

strength training with dumbbells, bands and more with Reformer machine exercises. Last month, Collins, who has a degree in kinesiology and exercise science, opened the brand’s first franchised location in Buckhead Village.

“People were traveling from Buckhead to Inman Park to take our

classes. It was the most-requested area for another location,” she says.

The new 2,189-square-foot studio is helmed by Nikki Hightower, founder and owner of Buckhead Village consignment shop Sacdelux, and Jessica Davis, a dentist for a luxury dental boutique. The space features 11 Reformers and two advanced Cadillac machines in a separate room for private instruction, as well as a lounge area and FLUSH tea bar serving herbal teas and fresh

juices. Reflecting the brand’s signature clean, neutral aesthetic, the bright Buckhead setting is designed by Collins, who also runs an interior design business, LC Designs, LLC. Here, we chat with Collins about Pilates, fitness in Atlanta and her wellness beliefs.

What does Pilates do for your body that other workouts don’t?

The main thing that makes it standout is that it’s such a mindful, strength-training exercise. It uses alignment and breath, so it takes a lot of focus to be present in the body and mind to do workouts correctly. Because I’m shorter, I’ve always been drawn to workouts that create length and not bulk. I’ve done cycling, barre and the treadmill, and I’ve just found that Pilates gives me muscle tone in a way unlike other workouts that made me feel bulky.

How has Atlanta’s fitness landscape changed since your first location opened?

Back then there were a lot of gyms focused on bootcamps, running and circuit training. Today, it’s not just about fitness or looking good. It’s about wellness. There are a lot of well-rounded boutique fitness studios. We’re finally starting to catch up to other cities.

What’s your typical healthy routine? I typically do Reformer five days a week, a massage once a month and meditation with apps like Calm for 10 minutes a day where I can just focus on my breath. I’m very into eating flaxseed in the mornings and drinking lots of water. I have an infrared sauna at home and installed a redlight panel inside. I'll put chlorophyll detox drops in water before 30-40 minutes in the sauna, then refill with electrolytes and lots of water.

Do you have a core wellness belief? Our motto is wellness is a daily thing. It’s something you can incorporate through your entire day, just by making as many healthier choices as you can, whether that’s looking in the mirror and telling yourself something nice or starting the day drinking a glass of water. I think that’s all we can do. We’ve got to live our lives. n

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SIMPLY BUCKHEAD •  MARCH/APRIL 2023  55  KIDS  PETS   STRATEGIES FAMILY Give your personal style a boost with a truly versatile capsule wardrobe. Mix & Match Page 60
“If you have clarity in your closet, then you have clarity in your mind.”
— Melissa Young

Dollars & Sense

How to teach kids about money

Money doesn’t grow on trees, but how should children know that unless you teach them? “Kids don’t understand the flow of money: Mom and dad go to work, pay taxes, pay expenses, put money into the bank… But they can learn these things with guidance,” says Tracy Tanner, president and CEO of Dunwoody-based Wealthy Habits, a nonprofit that teaches children starting at age 11 about money through camps and programs.

“Good financial habits like saving for an emergency fund are like putting on the seatbelt every time you get in the car. The moment you need it, you realize how important it is,” she says.

Tanner offers the following ideas for ways parents can foster money-smart kids.

Start when they’re in elementary school. One of the biggest things you can do is teach the value of money by hav-

ing your child earn it, says Tanner. “If they want a toy, say, ‘OK, we’re going to wash the family cars today. Why don’t you help us out, and I’ll give you money to buy that item.’”

Have them discover the value of change. When they’re developmentally ready, teach children how to count change. This can be a fun and even competitive game with siblings or friends to see how fast they can count change that equals a dollar or give a certain amount of change back. The exercise can even come with a monetary award.

Go to a bank.

In the age of digital deposits and Venmo, this likely doesn’t happen often. Still, bring your child to the bank a couple of times when they’re younger to deposit a check or talk to a banker. “Ask, ‘How do you open a bank account?’ and allow the stranger to give the lesson,” says Tanner.

Create a list of their expenses. A great way to show kids how things add up is to make a list of their expenses, says Tanner. This can include their afterschool activities and associated costs, as well as their portion of housing, groceries, electricity, restaurant bills and more.

Have a conversation about credit.

“This is a big one,” says Tanner. “They need to learn about how much interest costs.” If your child wants to make a big purchase, she suggests loaning, not giving, them the money and charging them interest as they work (through chores or an actual job, depending on their age) to pay it back. “Instead of keeping the interest, you can put it in a savings account for them and give it back at a later date.”


n Give a child 20 pennies and have them decide how to spend them. Rent is five pennies, groceries are four, going out to eat is two, utilities are two, etc.

n Next, give them a raise of five pennies. They can decide to buy a new car, put that extra in savings or something else.

n Have them lose their job and take away nine pennies. Have them figure out what to give up.

n Discuss their choices.

Teach teens about taxes. With older kids, you could take a look at your pay stub together. “Show them how you had to earn $1,500 and work X number of hours to receive only $1,000,” Tanner says.

Explain decision-making around purchases.

When children understand why you decided to buy this or that at the store—whether it’s cheaper, better quality or the first one you saw when you were short on time— it helps them prioritize.

Practice what you preach. Just like anything else, your kids are watching your behaviors related to spending and saving. If you want them to be money smart, you might need to adjust your habits accordingly. n

WEALTHY HABITS • 678.218.1291 @wealthyhabits

Tracy Tanner, president and CEO of Wealthy Habits. Start teaching kids the value of money in elementary school. A group exercise at Wealthy Habits.
17–19, 2023
the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra Visit for tickets or call 1.800.982.2787
A classic, comic quest for true love.
Supported by Jessica He & Patric Palkens. Photo by Rachel Neville.


What to consider when adopting a furry friend STORY: Chelsie Butler

Not much compares to the joy of welcoming a new pet into your home. Whether you’re a first-time pet parent or a veteran adopter, the experience for you and your new cat, dog, bunny or bird (insert more options here) can be amazing.

To ensure the experience is ideal for all involved, it’s important to plan ahead. Consider the monetary investment from vet bills (even if you have a healthy pet, regular checkups are a must) and the cost of food and toys. Your personal schedule and activity level need to be taken into account, too.

“Ideally, we want to give a positive impression about adopting a pet, but we also want to be realistic so the pet is not returned because the owner did not have all the details,” says Christina Hill, associate vice president of marketing and communications at the Atlanta Humane Society, which has two locations, including the Arthur M. Blank Family Animal Center that opened on the westside in the fall.

Doggie Dos and Don’ts

Hill says to consider your lifestyle and what dog personality traits will work best for you. A couch potato may be a perfect match for a pup who doesn’t need too much outdoor exercise. If you are a runner or hiker, a more active dog would be a better choice. Dogs like routines in terms of daily meals and exercise, so if you travel often or work long hours, a different kind of pet, such as a cat or a bird, may be a better option.

If you’re considering adopting a puppy, Hill says make sure you have the extra time to housetrain them. If not, an adult dog who is already educated in the rules of elimination may be just the ticket.

Kitty Cat Etiquette

“If you’re not home a lot and can’t afford a dog sitter to help out when you’re gone, but still want a pet, come and meet our felines,” says Hill. “Many people stereotype when they think of cats, but they have just as wide a variety of personality

traits as our canine friends. They’re just a lot more independent and don’t mind being left for the day.”

Lifestyle also comes into play when adopting a cat. Are you looking for a feline who is energetic or more laid back? Talkative or quiet? Shy or social?

If you are considering a kitten, why not take two? Hill says adopting a pair helps keep them active and learn good behaviors.

Adoption Ready

“Everyone is different and looking for something different in their new friend, so it’s hard to have a simple checklist for someone looking for a pet,” Hill says.

The adoption counselors at the Atlanta Humane Society don’t always have a full history on their dogs and cats, but there are ways to research.

To find out how an adoptable pet feels about having another fourlegged friend at home, schedule a meet-and-greet. Counselors can also provide detailed instructions on introducing cats to one another or to a dog already in the household.

“Our adoption counselors are trained in helping find the perfect dog or cat to match your personality and what you’re looking for in your new family member,” Hill says. n

ATLANTA HUMANE SOCIETY • 404.875.5331 • @atlantahumane
The Atlanta Humane Society has two locations where adoptable cats and dogs are waiting for their forever homes. AHS Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications Christina Hill says it's best to adopt two kittens at a time so they can keep each other active.

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The Offi cial School of Atlanta Ballet Photo by Kim Kenney

basic dark denim. That’s the foundation of an outfit. Then you can add a layer on top of that, such as a trench coat, a white blazer or a denim jacket that will give you added style. And you can choose pieces that can be layered and worn through all of the seasons. A capsule wardrobe should last you a long time.

How can I add color to those neutral foundational pieces?

Accessories. If you’re wearing all black, add a really bold statement earring or a pop of color with a necklace. You can also add colorful bags to your wardrobe or use any type of shoe to add that color. You have to become great at accessorizing.

How many pieces should I plan to purchase or have?

I think 20 pieces is a comfortable place to be. That could entail five pairs of trousers or pants, two skirts and a number of blouses to mix and match. You can also have five pairs of shoes in there. You may even have items in your closet now that you can build a capsule wardrobe around, such as a cardigan that looks good and makes you feel great. You know what works best for you.

How much should I plan to budget for new items?

It’s helpful to set a budget of around $99 per outfit. That includes a top and a bottom. But it’s also good to start small. If you know what you’re able to afford, give yourself 50% of that so you can be comfortable as you make your first purchase. When you see what you can do with that 50%, then you have that extra cushion as you add more quality pieces.


Create a capsule wardrobe with tips from a renowned Buckhead-based stylist

What is a capsule wardrobe?

It’s 7:15 a.m., and you’re already running late. You walk into your closet to select an outfit for the day, and you stop. There are so many items in the jam-packed space that you don’t know what to put on. You spend an inordinate amount of time trying to settle on a blouse, pants, shoes and accessories,

and you head out the door feeling stressed and depleted. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

A capsule wardrobe gives you a way to create more than one outfit with a small number of items in your closet. For instance, you could have 10 items total but be able to create 40 outfits depending on how you mix and match them.

Melissa Young, a Buckhead-based lifestyle and wardrobe specialist, offers the following tips for building a capsule wardrobe that will simplify your routine and give you more outfit options than you could imagine.

What kind of pieces should I have in my capsule wardrobe?

Start with the basic essentials. That could be a black turtleneck, a white button down, a black pair of pants, a gray tee, a pair of white jeans and a

How long will it take until I have a streamlined capsule wardrobe? This isn’t going to happen overnight. Be patient with yourself and trust the process. As you begin adding items, you’ll be able to see a difference in your wardrobe in about four or five weeks. You may even find yourself preparing your outfits the night before, and you won’t start the day standing in your closet feeling overwhelmed. You’ll feel organized and ready to go. I always say that if you have clarity in your closet, then you have clarity in your mind. n


Hooked on Heroic Journeys



Michi Meko says his dark, layered landscape paintings provide maps for internal explorations.
“There’s a part of me that wishes I could be more of a myth: ‘There’s this guy in Atlanta who goes and does this.’” — Michi Meko
66 Chad Brown

Justin Ball acknowledges falling for a semi-bluff when he became Stage Door Theatre’s executive director in September 2021.

He was drawn to the Dunwoody theater’s intimate 125-seat space— “There’s something about being 6 feet away from an actor that really allows for greater catharsis”— and its deep community roots.

But Ball, an avid poker player, found a short-stacked financial infrastructure compared with what he expected of a nearly 50-year-old nonprofit.

The theater at the Dunwoody Cultural Arts Center also was going through an identity crisis. Stage Door let longtime Artistic Director Robert Egizio go in 2020, changed its name from “Players” to “Theatre” in 2021 and struggled to fill seats when a new artistic director replaced Golden Age Broadway shows with Shakespeare and other classics.

That artistic director left in late 2021. Ball, 43, has the title of producing artistic director as he tries to expand the theater’s reach before its 50th season in 2023-24.

Ball was a safe bet. After growing up in a New York suburb, reflected in his omnipresent Yankees baseball cap, he earned theater degrees at Trinity and Brooklyn colleges. He got a taste of Broadway in artistic production at the Manhattan Theatre Club, taught at New York University and led the Sharon Playhouse in Connecticut.

He and his now-ex-partner had a daughter in 2016 and moved to Atlanta in 2017. When she was ready for kindergarten, he was done being a stay-at-home dad.

“I don’t believe my job is to come in with the best ideas in the room but to figure out who has them, cultivate them and harness them,” Ball says.

Stage Door is focusing on three areas:

Artistic programming, which includes family-friendly fare and at least one serious drama in a five-show main stage season, plus a series spotlighting outside performers such as improv group Dad’s Garage.


Justin Ball bets on his ability to deepen Stage Door’s community ties

A performing arts academy with year-round classes, student companies, summer camps, private lessons and school programs.

Cultural arts programming, including cultural heritage days and rental to outside troupes.

Ball is stacking the deck with diversity. He hopes to stage contemporary works and is proud that none of this season’s directors is a white man.

Accessibility is another chip in his stack. For the 50th season, a new mobile unit will bring theater to places such as schools, retirement homes and veterans centers.

“I am really excited to put my mark on the organization and fig-

ure out how we can be as inclusive as possible,” Ball says.

Having raised corporate sponsorships from a pre-COVID average of $7,000 to $30,000 and counting, he is ready to go all in with a capital campaign. Inside, the former school cafeteria lacks flexibility with its fixed stage and low ceilings. Outside, signage is outdated and hard to see.

Ball puts all his cards on the table: “I truly believe that theater can educate, can transform communities, can enlighten us. This little theater here in Dunwoody has the opportunity to improve our lives.” n


Stage Door has two main stage shows left in its 49th season:

The Niceties

An intense drama about race relations based on real events at Yale in 2016; March 17 to April 2.

Peter and the Starcatcher

The musical origin story of Peter Pan, featuring academy students alongside professionals; May 12 to 28.

Shows are on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

STAGE DOOR • 770.396.1726 • @stagedoortheatrega

Art in the Here and Now

New gallery emphasizes the latest avant-garde

Ricky Echegaray’s view of retirement was a bit different than what some might envision. “I didn’t want to be an old fart who only went from one cruise ship to another,” he says.

So when he decided to retire in 2020 after a career in advertising, it was time to figure out the next stage of life. The 55-year-old native of Puerto Rico opted to open an art gallery, and Art-e A Gallery of Now was conceived.

And then there was COVID. For two years, Echegaray, who now lives in Dunwoody, researched art, artists and locations until he was able to open his Miami Circle space in late November. The location appealed to him with its presence of 15 premier and prestigious galleries. “There is a sense of seriousness here that you’re not a pop-up store,” he says. A collector himself, Echegaray put thoughtful research into the warren

of vignettes that pop with color throughout the 1,300-square-foot space. “This is a completely unpretentious gallery where you can see what’s happening in the world in pieces of art,” he says.

Part of the reason for having a public space was purely practical.

“I’ve been buying and collecting art for a few decades now, and I ran out of walls in my house,” he says.

“When I ended up with two storage units full of art, I realized it was time to monetize my passion.”

At the same time, Echegaray says his research revealed some important information. After visiting galleries in Atlanta, he noticed a new movement of art was rising, with more interest in cutting-edge contemporary works, and the prices were rising along with it. “Other people were taking this new art seriously, so I started studying and buying that type,” he says.

Now, Echegaray has established his gallery as a stand out for having a broad collection of artists such as Banksy, Klint and Kaws. While those names aren’t exactly newcomers, they represent a style that’s hard to define but beginning to attract considerable attention, says Echegaray. “I don’t want to label it contemporary or street urban graffiti; it’s art that’s happening now and how society is expressing itself, and how these artists are expressing themselves as well.”

Echegaray also prides himself on having an enviable inventory of modern master works. “If you’re looking for a Warhol or Haring, I might have 13 pieces when some galleries might have one or two,” he says.

The often abstract, uncategorizable works he features may not have mass appeal, Echegaray says. He’s even had to explain the allure to his son. “He told me, ‘I could’ve

painted that in kindergarten!’ But it’s important to understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And sometimes a painting that’s just dots of different colors or 10 lines across a white canvas can be worth $100,000 because the artist has established a reputation.”

The gallery is also home to superstars, including several Picassos and a six-figure Warhol, alongside pieces by English artist Damien Hirst, French street artist Mr. Brainwash and Puerto Rican Eduardo Cabrer. Expect to see an increasing number of local artists in the near future.

“I’ve spoken to many artists that are happy they’ll have a place to show their work and be taken seriously,” Echegaray says. “I want to recruit more. They need a place and a voice, and this is it.” n

STORY: H.M. Cauley PHOTO: Joann Vitelli ART-E A GALLERY OF NOW 404.661.4327 •

Hooked on Heroic Journeys

Michi Meko won MOCA GA, Atlanta Artadia and Joan Mitchell Foundation awards within days in November 2017, but the multidisciplinary Atlanta artist was done with painting in 2020. He left the studio to camp, fish and embrace a new passion for tying fishing flies out of trash, burlap, feathers, raw cotton and even his own dreadlocks.

But Buckhead resident Courtney Bombeck’s persistence persuaded Meko to accept a commission in 2021, and he has painted and exhibited ever since, now represented by Bombeck’s CO-OP Art Atlanta.

Meko, an Alabama native, ended 2022 with a shared exhibit of Southern landscape paintings in New York while finishing a commission for The Coca-Cola Co. To accompany Meko’s solo installation last summer, Chicago’s Kavi Gupta Gallery published a book of his field notes, sketches and photos; Black Navigation sold

out its 100 copies in two hours.

Meko’s work will be part of a group exhibit, The Alchemists, due to open March 2 at Buckhead’s Johnson Lowe Gallery.

He still ties flies for his own use, including a creation he calls the Georgia Dry Rub, made with a potato chip wrapper, deer fur and rooster hackle.

Meko spoke from his downtown Temporary Studios space about fishing, art and the heroic journeys that connect them.

Have you always done landscapes? No, no, no. I absolutely, for most of my life, made fun of landscape painters, so in a way I’ve become the thing that I’ve made fun of. I’m not even interested in creating the perfect picturesque landscape. There’s something deeper that I’m after.

How do you bring the wilderness into your work?

From being out so much, it was only natural for that environment to translate into this studio practice but then still keeping my whole history of graffiti writing and my interest in abstraction. When we look at the landscape, we’re the viewer, right? Well, what if the landscape could reflect back? Or what if it passed judgment on us? I began to realize that these landscapes were just portraits of what was going on within myself.

How often do you go into the wild?

I’ll try to go every weekend if I can. My car is packed. It’s got firewood. It’s got tents. It’s got a whole kitchen in there, axes, my fishing gear.

[I’m] just taking a black perspective to this weird sort of traditional sport and questioning its history and tradition. It’s rigid and boring. What fun is that? That’s not hip-hop. Maybe it’s jazz, but it’s like Benny Goodman. Benny Goodman’s

good, but he’s not Miles Davis.

How is the fly-fishing world responding?

[Adventure photographer] Chad Brown was here filming a documentary about my art and my fly-fishing. The Flyfish Journal did an interview with me, which I think is pretty cool.

How do you get more black people into nature?

The more that I’m vocal, the more that I am visible, the more that I do show these experiences, people will become curious. So I am trying to start a residency for black men in wild spaces because you have to go face the dragon, the demon, which is yourself. Then those men can have the hero’s journey. Hopefully at the end of 2023, I’ll be able to pull that off. n

Artist Michi Meko’s outdoor life helps him delve deep inside himself
Chad Brown


More than 20 years ago, Kristin Connor learned that her baby son, Brandon, had cancer. He is now a healthy 21-year-old, but Connor remembers the traumatic, exhausting days of his cancer journey. It inspired her and friend Chris Glavine to launch CURE Childhood Cancer's A Tribute to our Quiet Heroes, an event dedicated to supporting mothers who are going through a similar experience.

On March 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., A Tribute to Our Quiet Heroes will welcome 250 of these tireless and dedicated mothers, giving them a welcome break and a chance to relax together. Connor, the organization’s CEO, has found both inspiration and lifelong friends through the Quiet Heroes community. Having moved to Florida, Glavine is no longer involved in the event, but her unflagging commitment over the years helped the luncheon become a favorite for moms and supporters alike. Donors and paying guests have contributed generously to the cause, raising more than $6 million for pediatric cancer research since 2005.

“Guests always leave feeling so uplifted,” Connor says.

A Tribute to Our Quiet Heroes will take place at Flourish in Buckhead and will feature lunch by Legendary Events, plus musical entertainment. The moms will enjoy manicures and hand massages in the pampering room and take home a gift bag with items from InspireDesigns in Alpharetta, jewelry from Erin Gray Design and much more. Atlanta radio and TV personality Jenn Hobby will emcee, and Derrick


Tennant, a comedian and inspirational speaker, will elicit plenty of laughter as keynote. Guests can enjoy the silent auction and test their luck in the raffle; one lucky winner will get a prize from Brown & Co. Jewelers. Sponsorships start at $1,500. Delta Air Lines is the presenting sponsor. Simply Buckhead is a media sponsor. Individual tickets are $150. n • @curechildhoodcancer

Four honored moms relax together at the event. Board member Heidi Nelson (second from left) with her guests at last year's event.

The Dancing Man of La Mancha

Toss together imaginary dragons, a feisty innkeeper’s daughter, the town barber, a marriage plot and lots of swashbuckling adventure and you have Atlanta Ballet’s full-length Don Quixote. Based on Miguel de Cervantes’ classic novel and choreographed by Yuri Possokhov, the ballet is full of physical humor and fiery, virtuoso dancing as it weaves the tale of the famous man of La Mancha and his reluctant squire. Don Quixote’s famous horse appears as a dazzling, life-size puppet, and 21st century projections enhance the more traditional but equally lavish sets. Possokhov’s production was originally created for the Joffrey Ballet and entered Atlanta Ballet’s repertoire in 2018. The irresistibly dancey score by Léon Minkus will be in the hands of the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. Don Quixote is the kind of ballet that will entertain the whole family, even the ballet-phobes. March 17 to 19 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Tickets $25-$142. n


If you’ve been to this much-loved community event before, you know it’s a barrel of fun. You can pick from 30 car nival rides and see if the kids are up for a pony ride. Treat yourself to something yummy from one of the food booths, indulge your creative side browsing the arts and crafts vendors, and enjoy two days of center stage performances. Admission is free, but you can buy a daily wristband for unlimited rides: $20 a day on Wednesday and Thursday family nights; $25 a day on Friday and Saturday. Individual ride tickets are $1.25. All proceeds support the Dunwoody Preservation Trust. The festival takes place April 19-23 at Brook Run Park.



March 4, 11, 18, 25

The opening of this popular farmers market is a sure sign of spring. Shop for fresh organic fruits and vegetables, gourmet goodies, prepared foods and more. Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to noon in the St. Philips Cathedral parking lot.


March 18, 25, 26

This annual event at Brookhaven’s Blackburn Park features a 5K on March 18 benefitting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and a weekend packed with music, an artists market, kids zone, classic car show, local eats and drinks.


April 14

This elegant evening at the 37th annual Swan House Ball honors Jenny Pruitt, executive chair and founder of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, while supporting the Atlanta History Center and its educational programs.

here! Lemonade Days Festival returns to Dunwoody for 23rd year Comedy,
romance in Atlanta
Don @lemonadedaysdunwoody don-quixote-2 • @atlantaballet
Kim Kenney
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at Play


Prolific English writer and philosopher G.K. Chesterton once said, “The true object of all human life is play.” We’re inclined to agree. Whether you’re looking for a way to keep the littlest members of your family engaged and occupied, hoping to hone a new skill or seeking friendships later in life, this feature has plenty of ideas to get you started. You never know: You might just find a new passion, right in our neighborhood.

PHOTO: Sara Hanna


On Bentley: The Favorite Denim Skirtall: Removed Patch Remix ($40), Open Back Space Dyed Tee in pink ($24). Available at

On Bakari: Classic Straight Leg Heritage Wash Jeans ($34), Cotton Jersey Uniform Polo in Light Blue ($18)



Getting slimed used to be synonymous with Nickelodeon, but interactive playcenter Sloomoo Institute brings a new perspective to the concept. The sensory space, which opened this past winter in Buckhead following locations in New York and Chicago, is a slime mecca made for kids, but adults will have a blast, too.

Upon entering, you’ll have the chance to massage, stretch and ball up various kinds of slimes in different colors, scents and textures. Next, satisfyingly spread some down a wall or slingshot a ball of it at a loved one standing behind behind plexiglass. Make your way through more rooms and experiences including a blacklight room where you can play with colorful kinetic sand and have a dance party with your

virtual slime character, a lake of slime where kids are invited to take off shoes to enjoy the squish under their toes and an obstacle course to climb through. In one area, you can wear a heart rate monitor as you play and watch your heart rate slow (a sign of relaxation).

“We are actively working on a study at Sloomoo with well-known children’s psychiatrist Dr. Judith Joseph to find out exactly how magically beneficial our experience is for people of all ages,” says co-founder Karen Robinovitz, who discovered slime through her friends’ daughter after battling severe grief and depression. “It was the first time in a long while that I not only had a genuine smile but felt joy.”

Robinovitz teamed up with friend Sara Schiller to bring the concept to life. Schiller says, “Little did we know that we were tapping into a hu-

Top: Jumping for slime at Sloomoo Institute.

Right: It’s all fun and games at a Kids at Play birthday party.

man need to connect with ourselves and others that only became more powerful after the pandemic.”

With the purchase of the enhanced admission, brave kiddos— and adults—can get swathed in plastic rain gear and slimed from buckets overhead (very a la Nickelodeon). It’s a hoot.

In the finale, visitors can create their own take-home slime by customizing its texture, scent, color and accessories, capping off the memorable activity.


In late 2020 with virtual classes and limited sports options for kids, Craig Drilling saw a dire need for an outlet to get outdoors and play. The full-time dean of student life (previously director of athletics and phys ed) at Brandon Hall School in Sandy Springs launched Kids at Play Atlanta, a mobile physical education service featuring trained coaches. Despite returns to normal life

From a stress-relieving art class to fun sports activities and a cool, interactive play space, these recreational pursuits will captivate your child under 12. Possibly you, too! COVER STORY
Sara Hanna

post-pandemic, due to its unique niche, the recreational offerings— from individual sport sessions, birthday parties and field days to regular group sports programming—continue to expand for children between ages 3 and 13.

“It’s important for youths to get outside, get fresh air and develop healthy habits and routines. There is a direct correlation between exercise and academic success,” says Drilling. “Critical thinking skills and teamwork are a big part of it, and through good coaching, they might find success that they may not have felt otherwise.”

How it works: For the mobile programming, coaches will come to your home or neighborhood park throughout metro Atlanta. Depending on what your child prefers, the coach can set up structured games, high-energy movement activities or an intro to sports over 45-minute to two-hour sessions. For birthday parties or as part of a portable physical education session, tiger tail tag is a fan favorite. Here, children tuck a T-shirt into their shorts and run around, trying to pull them out of each other’s pockets until one person is left. During a field day, games might include a water balloon toss, egg and spoon race and soccer obstacle course.

Kids at Play also offers hour-long sports programming at locations in and near Brookhaven. This spring and summer may include a volleyball clinic, soccer skills class and lacrosse clinic. At the end of each class, children receive different awards and evaluations that reflect their positive skills or behaviors.

“This can be a springboard to more competitive rec sports if they’re interested,” Drilling says. “The most important thing is keeping kids


Don’t hold back is the theme at Sandy Springs’ 9,000-square-foot action painting experience Splatter Studio. Unlike typical sip-and-paint studios, this artistic space is open to all ages and doesn’t show you how to paint anything. Little artists can create whatever their hearts, or fingers, desire.

“Splatter Studio encourages freedom of expression in the space and using your full body—flinging, throwing paint and becoming part of the art-making process. Everyone comes out with a unique painting in truly their own style that they can experiment with in the studio.” says Jenna Rees, Splatter’s chief brand officer, who has a background in fine art. She collaborated with the studio’s owner Howard Krinsky of Binders Art Supplies and Frames to launch the concept in 2020 as a Ponce City Market pop-up before opening the first brick-and-mortar in VirginiaHighland the following year.

Walking into Splatter is like stepping into an abstract painting. Every inch is covered in paint, and the immersive experience is intentionally designed. Each participant receives a 16-by-20-inch canvas and is encouraged to get messy by pouring paint on it, flipping it upside down, putting it on the floor, painting said floor, the ceiling, the walls—again, whatever you want. Kids and their adults can play with paint in a way they wouldn’t be able to do in an academic or home setting, making it like unofficial art therapy. n

KIDS AT PLAY ATLANTA • 678.471.6284 • @kids_at_play_atl

SLOOMOO INSTITUTE • @sloomooinstitute

SPLATTER STUDIO • 404.487.3820 • @thesplatterstudio

“Having an art outlet is healthy for youths,” says Splatter Studio’s Jenna Rees.

Eight-year-old Alexandra Murphy, a Brookhaven resident, shares her experience taking piano and musical theater classes at The Studios Brookhaven.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A professional piano player, choreographer or a baker. I have a dream of performing, teaching or acting in New York because there’s a lot of Broadway shows there. Last summer, I got to go to New York and see Aladdin I thought it was cool.

What do you like about taking piano lessons?

I really like piano because it teaches me how to play new songs, so when I get older, I can hear a song and play along. My mom plays the piano really well. A lot of people in my family have had piano, so my little sister, who just turned 5, is taking lessons as well.

Tell me about your experience with Broadway Kids classes. Mr. Don [Don Jones, owner of The Studios Brookhaven] lets us listen to the whole song about two times, then lets us know the first three words, and we learn the whole song three words at a time. We just worked on “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King. It’s really fun because the class lets us dance and perform in a big room, and there’s not a lot of places you can do that as a kid.

What’s your role as team captain like? I help be a good example for the other kids and help the choreographer teach some dances. n

678.224.1810 @thestudiosbrookhaven
Photos: Joann Vitelli


Gone are the days of hanging out at the mall or catching a movie on a Saturday night. Today’s teens want to enjoy exciting, active pursuits in their free time. Fortunately, plenty of options are right around the corner. STORY: Amy Meadows


Atlanta may not offer the rock climbing paradise of Colorado, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your climb on in the metro area. In fact, teens looking for that adrenaline rush can head to Stone Summit Atlanta, a Chamblee-adjacent indoor rock climbing gym that welcomes climbers of all ages and skill levels for the perfect blend of recreation

and exercise. It’s a full workout for the mind and the body.

The gym offers an array of classes, from belay lessons (how to hold the rope for a climber) and bouldering basics (fundamental techniques for indoor bouldering) to lead climbing (a style in which one person takes the lead and other climbers follow). Visitors can purchase day passes, and memberships are available for individuals, families and students.

Stone Summit Atlanta hosts a variety of youth-based climbing clubs, including the Ascent Club for newer climbers ages 9 to 13, the Cliff Club for ages 6 to 16 who have a flexible learning schedule and the Alpine Club for those 13 to 18 who either want to learn foundational climbing skills or hone their more advanced skills. Additional clubs are available to tweens and teens who continue to advance to higher levels. Stone Summit also is home to several competitive youth climbing clubs, and the facility’s teams rank among the leading teams in Georgia.

Trial classes are available throughout the year to help young climbers take their free time to the next level.


Opened at The Interlock in November 2022, Sandbox VR is one of the world’s most advanced location-based virtual reality experiences. According to Josh Cole, senior vice president of marketing, the new Westside location “features four private rooms for virtual reality gameplay called ‘holodecks’ in which groups of two to six players have a truly shared experience, exploring virtual worlds and relying on each other to succeed in games that are designed to be social experiences.”

Players start the experience by getting geared up with wrist and ankle trackers, a haptic feedback vest and VR headsets and headphones that together allow for full-body motion capture and an unprecedented level of realism and complete immersion in which your body is the controller. Groups can choose from six experiences, from Deadwood Valley (a thrill-ride through a town overrun by zombies) to the Curse of Davy Jones (a battle on the high seas against supernatural creatures and a hunt for long-lost treasure).

Bouldering challenges teens physically while teaching them self-reliance and resiliency.

“Sandbox VR is a great alternative to the standard hangouts,” Cole says. “The technology allows players to see and physically interact with one another while feeling like they are in the middle of an action movie. And after playing, all guests receive personalized highlight videos similar to movie trailers that capture all of the laughter, screams, intensity and excitement of their experience. They are the perfect way to remember and share your e xperience on social media.”



What if you could blend the speed of soccer with the throwing and passing of football and basketball into one sport? Well, it’s already been done with Ultimate, a noncontact disc sport that is sweeping the nation. Here, the Atlanta Flying Disc Club welcomes teens to experience this invigorating sport.

“Ultimate is a self-officiating sport; there are no referees or umpires calling fouls or making rulings on the field, so it is up to each player and each team to play

by the rules,” says Chris Cahill, president of AFDC. “Ultimate relies on the players themselves to make the calls they believe are right and resolve disputes as they arise, taking ownership of their actions, seeing the situation from another perspective and resolving issues with their opponent. This can help develop a character of fairness, honesty and cooperation that teens can carry with them for life.”

The AFDC hosts a number of middle and high school leagues and helps local schools start their own Ultimate programs. It also offers tournaments and workshops for individuals as a low-pressure opportunity to get to know the game and learn how to throw a disc well. “Don’t be intimidated if you don’t get it at first—we have all been there,” Cahill says. “Just come out and have fun!” n


• @atlantaultimate


Dunwoody High School senior Kate Perry has played her fair share of competitive sports, from soccer and volleyball to tennis and swimming. But during her junior year, she found a sport unlike any other: girls flag football. Led by Coach Montez Swinney, the Dunwoody High team welcomed Perry as a defensive line rusher two seasons ago, and she discovered her love for a sport that’s not only on the rise nationwide but also recognized as the fastest growing sport in Georgia, thanks in large part to the Atlanta Falcons and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, which began working together in 2016 to get the sport sanctioned across the state at the high school level to promote gender equality.

What do you enjoy most about playing flag football?

where you perform really well, and there’s a great team spirit, and the next game you have the same great mindset but may not perform as well. Each game is unique.

How has flag football made you a better athlete?

It’s so tactical. You really have to think through the gameplay and focus on what you are doing in each moment. You have to be intentional with every step you make because it is so fast-moving.

What is your advice for other girls who want to try flag football?

If you’re going in thinking, “I know nothing about football,” so many girls are in that same position. My first day of tryouts was when I learned most of what the game is about. That’s because your performance is based on you as an athlete and as a person. If you’re a good runner, you can use that. If you’re good with agility, you can use that. It’s just about playing to your strengths. n

SANDBOX VR • 470.731.8119

• @sandboxvr

STONE SUMMIT ATLANTA 678.720.9882 • @stonesummitclimbing

I love how game-specific it is. Every game is different, and you have to create a specific strategy for each game you play. The games are shorter, so we have two games back-to-back on a typical day. You can have one game

For more information, visit

Joann Vitelli Above: The field is wide open for some fun in the sun with the Atlanta Flying Disc Club. Below: Sandbox VR takes the virtual reality experience to a new level with some of today’s coolest tech.



It’s the ultimate beer run! Actually, it’s the Buckhead Run Club, founded in 2018 as a collaboration between Livable Buckhead and lululemon Buckhead, and now sponsored by Iron Hill Brewery.

“The original idea came from an informal group of like-minded runners who worked in Buckhead and wanted the camaraderie of a group run after work,” says Scott Cantrell, Liveable Buckhead’s communications director. “Livable Buckhead formalized the group and supports it with the ultimate goal of giving

people a healthy alternative to getting in their cars and sitting in traffic. It’s a great way to get some fitness in, build friendships and put off your commute home until traffic is lighter.”

Buckhead Run Club members gather every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Iron Hill Brewery and set out on Path400 for a 2- or 3-mile run or walk in a relaxed group setting. All skill and pace levels are welcome, and everyone can stay after the workout to enjoy food and drink at the brewery. Throughout the year, members also participate in 5Ks or other group runs together.

“The key to our success is our continuity and participants’ knowing that we are here, week in and week out,” Cantrell says. “Finding time for fitness can be hard. Making new friends can be hard. The Buckhead Run Club is here to make both of those a little easier.”


Looking to join a sports league but don’t know where to start? The Atlanta Sport and Social Club, a premier organizer and provider of adult recreational sports leagues and fun social events, could be the answer.

Designed for active adults ages 21 and older, ASSC is home to a variety of traditional and social sports leagues, from basketball, bowling and cornhole to flag football, kickball, soccer and softball, among others. You can even find leagues dedicated to your favorite bar games, such as darts and shuffleboard, through the organization, which launched in 2012 and quickly became the largest sport and social club in the area, serving more than 25,000 participants across 70 leagues annually. What’s more, the ASSC hosts several events throughout the year, including Atlanta Field Day, the Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival, Atlanta Oktoberfestand the Strikeout Hunger softball tournament.

Playtime isn’t just for kids. In fact, adults are looking to fill their much-needed downtime with activities that are equal parts entertaining and escapist. Check out these options to add some real fun to your life. STORY:
Path400 offers the perfect backdrop for the Buckhead Run Club.
Amy Meadows


Like so many couples, Michael and Leslie Gottfried were looking for a way to get fresh air and exercise during the pandemic. The Buckhead residents noticed three pickleball courts had been built at their Midtown golf and tennis club, and they decided to give the sport a try, ultimately playing at the Atlanta Pickleball Center on the westside. Michael quickly became “obsessed,” with Leslie not far behind him. In fact, Michael became so enamored with the sport that he founded PCKL, which sells high-performance pickleball paddles, accessories and more. For the couple, pickleball is a perfect fit for their busy schedules and a great way to stay active and social.

What really drew you to pickleball?

MICHAEL: It’s perfectly constructed for social interaction. The court is small enough that you can carry on a conversation with the people across

the net from you; the games are rela tively short; and while it’s fun to win, it’s fun to just play. It’s my preferred exercise at this point in my life.

LESLIE: It’s a quick hobby and good workout. Michael and I don’t get to do a lot together—we have two small children and we both work—but we both love to compete. And the best way to learn the game is to just get out there and do it. I joined a league in the fall, and it helped me get up to speed quickly.

What advice do you have for a novice?

MICHAEL: Get ready to get obsessed. For whatever reason, when you play once, all you want to do is keep playing. If you think you’ll play for an hour, you should probably budget two or three hours because you’re going to want to keep going.

LESLIE: If you don’t have a good couple of first tries, don’t give up. Give yourself at least 10 tries before

Go out with a bang every time you try to Beat the Bomb.

The ASSC makes it easy to find the league that suits your interest through its website that posts league options, schedules, signup information and more. The site also provides information about pick-up games in neighborhoods across the area through a collaboration with OpenSports via the OpenSports mobile app. The ASSC is a one-stop shop for all of your sports league needs, and you’ll undoubtedly find what you’re looking for with a couple of clicks and a competitive spirit.


The escape room has become one of today’s most popular recreational outings for adults. If you’re looking to take the experience up a notch, plan a visit to Beat the Bomb, which opened in Upper Westside in October 2022.

“No other escape room ends with a giant paint bomb or foam bomb if you lose,” says Michon van As, the brand’s marketing director. “At Beat the Bomb, teams must advance through five high-tech video game-based rooms, including an epic laser maze. The games require all players to actively work together, making the experience

far more social than your traditional puzzle-intensive escape room.”

If your group doesn’t crack the code in the time allotted, you’ll come face-to-face with either a paint or foam bomb, depending on the mission you’ve chosen. Fortunately, all guests are suited up in hazmat gear to add to the experience.

The attraction offers a full bar, beer garden area and food menu that allows you to enjoy some pregame refreshments or to keep the party going after you’ve finished up in one of the glass-walled bomb rooms. And because the facility is constantly developing new games and game levels, you’ll never have the same experience twice. Van As says, “You can expect to walk away with some epic memories, and every player gets free photos and videos of their blast.” n


you decide it’s not for you. And don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s easy to get into your own head about it. The trickiest part is learning about the scoring, where to stand and some of the techniques. You learn by playing.

What do you enjoy most about the game?

MICHAEL: I would say it is the most

accessible form of adult competition that exists. Period.

LESLIE: It combines the best parts of physical activity and social interaction. You get that beautiful pairing, which for someone who doesn’t have a lot of extra time, is great. n

PCKL @pcklball


• @atlantassc


• 404.458.6562

• @beatthebomb

• 404.842.2680



Joann Vitelli



So many seniors take dance at Academy Ballroom Atlanta in Buckhead that studio owner Eddie Ares views them as two age groups: those up to 80 and those beyond. For some, ballroom is a step back toward the ballet of their youth. Others have no history on the dance floor. But alone, as a couple or with friends, it’s never too late to start, Ares says.

Some seniors stay at Academy for a decade or more as they spin and dip into competitions held monthly in age groups that stretch into the 90s.

Two dances aren’t a good fit for seniors past 75 because of the exertion, Ares says: the quick step and the paso doble. Everything else is in play. Introductory packag-

es of five lessons start at $65.

In addition to the physical benefits of dancing as exercise, ballroom enhances mental sharpness from learning and repeating the movements, which Ares says is why some early-stage dementia patients take classes. Ballroom also is a great social activity, he says. Newcomers fit in easily because they have an area of shared interest: dance. And because students of all ages are in the studio, they make friendships across generations.

“It becomes almost like a family,” Ares says.


Mah-jongg continues to draw players 60 and older as it spreads beyond its founding Asian culture.

“The pace of the game is nice,” says Shawn Martin, a Brookhaven resident who has turned her mah-

Seniors aren’t letting age slow them down as they keep in step with activities that are fun and social, inside and out.
Academy Ballroom owner Eddie Ares dances with Marcy Steinberg. Danny Huckaby, SGAA

jongg hobby into a business teaching the game around the Buckhead area with her daughter and runs the Facebook group Rocket Mah Jongg. Each round, in which four players take turns drawing and discarding tiles until one completes a 14-tile hand, lasts about 25 minutes, and sessions typically last two hours but can stretch to four, she says.

Diana Mir, an Atlanta resident who took up mah-jongg in retirement after a back injury forced her to drop golf, advises finding a teacher to start because the game is complicated and isn’t fun with people of different experience levels.

Some senior centers and libraries offer lessons. The Marcus Jewish Community Center in Dunwoody is starting beginner and advanced classes and provides space for free open play for members and nonmembers ages 60 and up Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The American version of the game requires a new card detailing valid hands each year from the National Mah Jongg League. Standard print costs $14; large print is $15. A set of tiles can range from $100 to $400.

“Studies show that it’s good for your brain,” Martin says. “It’s a good social activity. I see strangers build lifelong friendships.”


Claude Rhen was an occasional weekend hacker who used to play tennis when he joined the Senior Golfers

Association of Atlanta in retirement in 2003. The Dunwoody resident, 84, still plays once or twice a week.

“It’s the camaraderie,” he says. “You meet some great people.”

The group plays Monday to Thursday mornings, moving among 20 courses in the greater Atlanta area. The annual membership fee is $25. “You can’t join a club for that,” Rhen says.

Members must be at least 55 and pay an initiation fee of $25 in addition to the dues. Every outing is a tournament split into flights based on handicaps. Greens fees are $25 to $40, and each player contributes $5 to a prize pool.

The group takes four out-of-town trips each year, the biggest of which is the member-guest three-day trip.

Association banquets in February and November mark the start and end of the season.

Rhen says membership has declined in recent years, so the association lets golfers join any time of year.

Golfers can send a membership request through the website, he says. “We invite them out initially with one of our members to play a round with us so they get an idea what goes on.” n


404.846.3201 • @academyballroomatlanta



Taking up comedy in your 60s, says Kurt Blumthal, 61, means that after you put in a decade honing your style, writing and handling of hecklers, your audience is likely to be in a memory care facility in Florida. So you’ll need only one joke.

Blumthal, a senior mortgage banker for Ameris Bank who lives in Brookhaven, is a lifelong class clown who saw the likes of Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Pryor and Robin Williams at a theater where he worked in his native Fort Lauderdale.

Years of talk about comedy classes led him in 2022 to a six-week, $599 course at Jeff Justice’s Comedy Workshoppe in Buckhead. He then took a second course from Justice and improv classes at Whole World Improv Theatre.

“Now there’s a whole subculture of friends that I have,” Blumthal says. “We go to the Landmark Diner once a month, and we sit down at our corner table, and we write and laugh.”

The initial class was the gift of Carol Stewart, with whom Blumthal has lived for five years. They aren’t married, fueling one routine in his observational comedy.

“What the hell do you call each other when you’re our age?” Blumthal says.

“Spouse” or “wife” is untrue. “Partner” has same-sex connotations. “Girlfriend,” he says, “makes me sound like a 12-year-old.”

“Lady friend” sounds like a hooker. “If I say ‘lover,’ I sound like a jerk.”

The punchline: “I introduce her as Carol, and she just introduces me as asshole.”

Blumthal keeps the jokes PG13, following mentor Justice’s advice for wide appeal. He appears at open-mic nights a few times a month. The Punchline and Laughing Skull Lounge are his favorites for performing or watching.

Blumthal won an open-mic contest at the Decatur Arts Festival last May, earning $50 and a chance to headline this year.

He isn’t changing careers, though he hopes to land enough corporate gigs to make comedy a paying hobby.

Besides, he has a bum shoulder, so golf is out. n

Shawn Martin (standing) and her daughter, Faye (right), coach a couple of students on the finer points of mah-jongg. Joann Vitelli



Surf Turf


Chops Lobster Bar has been one of the undisputed top steakhouses in Atlanta since it opened in 1989, and it’s been a personal favorite of mine since my now-husband and I enjoyed one of our first dates at the bar more than a dozen years ago. I, like many fans, watched in horror as live news stories on a January 2022 night showed flames and smoke billowing out of the restaurant. Though no one was hurt in the blaze, the

damage was significant and provided a prime opportunity for a refresh.

I’m happy to report that this Buckhead go-to spot for flawless surf and turf reopened in fall of 2022, complete with smart renovations that both elevate the environs and preserve the stately feel of the dining rooms on both levels. Lobster Bar still feels subterranean, with its vaulted mosaic ceiling inspired by the Grand Central Oyster Bar in Manhattan, and sumptuous

leather seating that feels fresh. Chops regulars will immediately notice changes, namely a new upstairs dining room that opens onto a patio overlooking Buckhead Plaza and an expanded bar and dining area, adorned with modern art curated by Fay Gold, including a neon-accented piece by Srinjoy. The main dining room was meticulously recreated with identical materials, including the signature light fixtures, so it feels both new and familiar.

STORY: Jennifer Bradley Franklin PHOTOS: Erik Meadows

Chops Lobster Bar's menu walks the line between classic and creative. For an elegantly presented starter, opt for oysters on the half shell, served over chipped ice.

Perennial favorites are as good as they’ve ever been, while a few new additions add interest to an already well-rounded menu.

Over the course of two weeknight visits—one upstairs at Chops, the other downstairs at Lobster Bar—I discovered that perennial favorites are as good as they’ve ever been, while a few new additions add interest to an already well-rounded menu, available no matter where you sit. There’s no wrong way to order, but there are a few things you shouldn’t omit. Don’t skip the fried lobster tail as a starter. Available whole or portioned into bite-size “nuggets” (my favorite), its succulent meat comes sheathed in a gossamer crust and served with drawn butter and tangy-sweet honey mustard aioli (word to the wise: ask for the sauce on the side for dipping). Similarly, don’t sleep on the spinach salad. Prepared tableside, baby spinach is tossed with candied shiitakes, bacon lardons, toasted pine nuts and a tangy vinaigrette, then served warm. It’s a sneakily delicious way to eat your veggies. A couple of new menu offerings take inspiration from other Buckhead Life restaurants, and they’re every bit as good at Chops as they are at their original locations. Wild Burgundy escargot, a Bistro Niko signature, comes in a specially designed crock. Each tender morsel is drenched in garlic and parsley butter, and topped with flaky puff pastry for the ideal single bite. Similarly, Kyma’s version of red wine-marinated, wood-grilled octopus, adorned with pickled red onions and capers, is a welcome addition and perfect for sharing.

It’s impossible to imagine a visit without a steak from the extensive list, ranging from a petite 4-ounce Wagyu filet mignon to a massive 40-ounce porterhouse. I’m a sucker for the bone-in ribeye from the “custom aged” offerings. My 20-ounce order came deliciously marbled with a charred, seasoned exterior and textbook medium-rare center. Though the steak is meltin-your-mouth delectable on its own, guests can dress it up with “enhancements” such as black truffle butter, sauteed foie gras or béarnaise sauce. I opted for creamytart triple creme blue cheese for the ultimate decadent main.

Above: Spinach salad is prepared tableside, tossed in a tangy-sweet warm bacon vinaigrette. Right: Steak and seafood is the main event, but the sides shine at Chops. Below: Escargot topped with golden puff pastry are an ideal one-bite wonder. Above: No meal here is complete without the succulent batter-fried lobster tail.

While steak is the name of the game—literally—the seafood offerings never miss. In the case of the Hawaiian ahi tuna, served seared and flecked with sesame seeds over scallion-studded Yukon mashed potatoes and port wine glaze, the dish is hearty and, dare I say, meaty, enough to fit right in. For a more delicate entree, opt for Dover sole sauteed with lemon and capers or “Hong Kong”-style sea bass with spinach, fresh ginger and sesame-soy broth.

Regardless of your order, prepare to share a few decadent side dishes. The sweet corn mash is a reason to visit all on its own. Given the absence of cream, each time I indulge, it leaves me wondering what culinary alchemy was used to achieve the impossibly creamy texture. You can’t go wrong with any of the potato iterations, from hashed potato “tots” with blue cheese truffle aioli to black truffle parmesan fries. I prefer to keep it classic with the baked potato dressed with butter, sour cream and chives. If you’re determined to add more greens to

the table, the toothsome broccolini, served simply with Maldon sea salt, olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes, is a crowd-pleasing favorite.

If you’ve saved room for dessert— and you really should—order the white chocolate banana cream pie. Fans who mourned Buckhead Diner’s closing will recognize it as a reincarnation of the version that won a James Beard Award, packed with fresh bananas, clouds of whipped cream and sweet white chocolate curls. It’s a nostalgic finale to a dining experience that never gets old.

Bottom line: Chops Lobster Bar’s ongoing menu excellence and expert service, coupled with the aesthetic upgrades, mean there’s a lot of life left for this Buckhead stalwart. n

Chops Lobster Bar



• @chopslobsterbar

Prices: appetizers and salads: $14-$38; entrees: $36-$59; steaks: $56-$179; sides: $12-$38; desserts: $12.

Recommended: Bone-in ribeye, escargot "Au Pernod,” fried lobster tail, warm spinach salad, Hawaiian ahi tuna, corn mash, white chocolate banana cream pie.

Bottom line: The combination of new environs and menu additions with the luxe, comfortable dining rooms on two levels and flawlessly prepared steak, seafood and sides make this a perennial favorite for good reason.

Above: The ahi tuna comes crusted with sesame seeds and barely seared. It's a meaty alternative to the chops that dominate the entrees. Right: White chocolate banana cream pie, berry-topped crème brûlée or an espresso martini are worthy dessert options..


Garnish your drinks with a home cocktail garden

Expanding your home cocktail repertoire is as simple as adding a sprig for springtime sipping. Whether muddled in the bottom of a glass, shaken or added for garnish, herbs add flavor, aroma and a bit of razzle dazzle to a drink. Starting an herb garden is easy and cost efficient, and ensures what you put into your glass is fresh and chemical-free.

Herbs thrive in just about any soil, usually are not bothered by pests and will produce all summer. You don’t need a large garden space. A container on the porch works just as well as a plot in the yard.

We reached out to John Jenkins, a manager at Buckhead’s Pike Nursery for his guidance. If you follow his advice, some herbs, such as sage and tarragon, reseed themselves. Perennials of rosemary and thyme can grow all year long.

“What I generally ask at the start is what kind of light conditions the budding gardener has,” Jenkins says. “Herbs like a lot of sun.” It’s easiest to control this with a small

container garden. Once you have picked a suitable pot, make sure there are holes for drainage. “Herbs do not like wet feet,” he says. Fill the container with potting soil. Adding peat moss helps with breaking up the soil and drainage. Mulch or pebbles in the bottom help with drainage as well. Pike has a starter fertilizer to add nutrients for developing healthy herbs. Take

the herbs—most at Pike are sold in 4-inch pots—loosen their roots and space the seedlings about 5 inches apart, as they will eventually fill your container. Tamp down and moisten the soil.

Herbs like different soil and water conditions, Jenkins says. “If you are mixing plants, make sure the herbs are similar,” Jenkins says. Basil and mint are good together, as are lavender and rosemary.

Some of the easiest to cultivate also happen to be key ingredients or garnishes to classic cocktails.

Rosemary can add depth to a whiskey drink and lend the essence of forest floor to a gin and tonic.

“It likes a drier, Mediterranean type of soil with full sun,” says Jenkins. This hearty herb will also be available for warming winter drinks because it thrives all year.

Woodsy thyme is a little sophisticated, a little savory. Slapping a sprig brings herbaceous aroma to a gin and tonic, instantly adding a spark of glamor. Much like rosemary, it thrives in drier soil and not a lot of water. Jenkins says moderate watering will do.

Fragrance can impact a cocktail dramatically, and lavender has one of those intoxicating scents. It balances with sweet, bitter or citrusy drinks, and a little goes a long way. It is a great herb for making an infused syrup that captures the essence of spring in a bottle.

Basil and mint are both easy to grow and thrive together. They


For an easy, herb-infused simple syrup, add 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat. Add a half cup of loosely packed herbs, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain and discard the herbs. Store airtight in the fridge for three to four weeks. Whenever a cocktail calls for simple syrup, use your herb-infused version for a flavorful twist.

don’t like conditions to be too wet or too dry, and they flourish with full sun (six or more hours a day).

“A big tip for good growth with herbs is using them as much as you can,” Jenkins says. Pinch basil back so it grows bushy and not leggy.

Basil’s slightly sweet, almost peppery, flavor brings excellent depth to spirits such as vodka, gin and tequila. Mint pairs with virtually anything. Both can be muddled into lemonade, too. Herbs don’t require much maintenance other than water and, as Jenkins says, “keeping their feet dry.” If insects or fungus become an issue, he suggests Neem Oil, a naturally occurring pesticide Pike carries. His go-to cocktail? He likes a Moscow Mule (a combo of vodka and ginger beer) with a sprig of rosemary from his garden. n

PIKE NURSERIES • 404.843.9578 • @pikenurseries
John Jenkins of Buckhead's Pike's Nursery has helpful (and easy) advice on starting a cocktail herb garden.

Fun and Games

Your 3rd Spot’s small plates menu is just as fun as its selection of games

Technology-driven dining and gaming concept Your 3rd Spot opened in the Upper Westside’s The Works in November. The 26,000-square-foot space features a restaurant and beer garden, as well as an arcade area, an indoor cornhole arena and a 4,000-squarefoot patio. Though the gaming aspect is designed to spark conversation, so is the food program, which features a 20-dish menu of globally inspired small plates, spearheaded by Director of Culinary Innovation & Executive Chef Stuart Rogers, who shares his insights here.

How is the shareable menu designed to evoke conversation?

When everyone is tasting the same dish, they have a shared experience, which makes the conversa-

tion more organic and interesting. Our purpose is to connect people and build community. We built the menu with shareable small plates crafted with unique ingredients and big flavor to promote exploration and conversation. Our ingredients are locally and seasonally sourced when possible. Our menu is digital, so we can be creative and current.

How does the menu complement the overall gaming experience and vice versa?

When you go to a place that does gaming well but the food is an afterthought, it's one-dimensional. You’ll have fun, but you won’t be drawn to go back very often. Every component of the Y3S experience is complementary and contributes to a more enriching, fulfilling, craveable experience that we hope

Sip, Sip, Hooray

will make people want to come back more often and create a community with us.

How does the “Y3S, Chef” program work?

The “Y3S, Chef” program features one of our talented line cook’s culinary creations every few weeks. Each order from a guest is a vote to keep the item on the menu, and the line cook gets a bonus for every item sold. Our goal is to highlight the talent we have and give the team an opportunity to share their recipes with their community.

Can you tell us about the drink menu?

We have an incredible craft cocktail program with premium spirits, fresh juices, beautiful glassware and some really fun, shareable options. Our goal is to have balanced cocktails that make memories and provide some “social lubricant” for our guests. n


Rreal Tacos, known for fresh Mexican cuisine and creative cocktails, is taking over Atlanta. Locations are already open in Midtown, West Midtown and Chamblee, and a new outpost is in the works for Sandy Springs. You can also mix up the restaurant’s margarita at home with these easy steps.

Rreal Margarita

Serves 1


2 ounces tequila

1 ½ ounce triple sec ½ ounce lime juice

Splash of agave

Hawaiian-style black lava sea salt Dehydrated lime


Fill a shaker cup with ice. Shake vigorously for 5-10 seconds until ice has broken up. Rim a glass with Hawaiian-style black lava sea salt and fill with ice. Strain margarita into the glass, garnish with lime and enjoy.

RREAL TACOS Multiple locations • @rrealtacos

Miami-based doughnut shop The Salty Donut, which originated as a pop-up in 2015, is expanding to Atlanta with plans for a Buckhead location to open early this year. Need a fix sooner? Krog District and West Midtown are slated for spring and summer openings.

n With an original location in VirginiaHighland, Sea Salt Lounge has opened a second location on Howell Mill Road in Upper Westside. Stop by for a menu of fresh seafood (everything from fried lobster bites to crab cake sliders), live music and cocktails.

n Morty’s Meat & Supply debuted at The Village Dunwoody in December with a counter-service barbecue menu along with a selection of graband-go items and a daily special.

FOODIE JOURNAL Culinary News & Notes
YOUR 3RD SPOT 770.230.3033 @your3rdspot
Left: Hen of the Wood Mushroom Flatbread and Spicy Chicken Sausage Flatbread.
Brandon Amato


Capella Cheese founder Raymond Hook elevates


Cheesemonger Raymond

Hook is best known for his work at Star Provisions and his gourmet shop, Capella Cheese. But his path was not a clear one. In 1984, his family purchased an Oklahoma restaurant with a small cheese counter. It was his job to figure out how to manage it. Later, he studied accounting, worked in Las Vegas hotels and became a food journalist, eventually finding his way back to cheese.

“I’m a vegetarian and felt uncomfortable working as a chef in restaurants that served meat. Cheese was a way to stay in the food business,” he says.

Last summer, he combined his life’s work of business and cheese and opened his dream shop in Armour Yards. At Capella, he offers a rotating selection of 200 to 250 cheeses, each of which

he’s intimately familiar with. He hand-pulls mozzarella, cuts charcuterie with a state-of-the-art Berkel slicer and makes a variety of sandwiches daily. Capella also sells everything you need for entertaining, from beer and wine to flowers, books and bakery items.

“I’ve been here every day that we’ve been open, selling cheese on the counter,” he says. “I love being here. I love this shop. I am so grateful that I get to call it mine. It’s not a grind or ‘going to work’ for me. There’s nothing else I want to do in my life right now.”

We spoke with Hook to learn more about his favorite topic: Capella Cheese.

What sets Capella apart?

We are strictly a cut-to-order cheese shop. We let people try every cheese we have so no one leaves with a

cheese they don’t like. We have a strong sampling program with eight or nine products a day. We also have pre-made sandwiches, salads and snack trays for grab and go.

What was the most challenging part of creating the shop?

The construction and buildout. Getting the fine details of our cooling systems for the cheese rooms was incredibly challenging during the pandemic. We need ultra-high humidity, so we have gravity coils (a cooling system without fans or any airflow).

What has surprised you most?

How many people come in and fall in love with the shop right away! We’ve been told over and over how excited people are that a high-quality cheese shop is available in Atlanta. It’s been a won-

derful, warm welcome. We do everything we can to make sure customers have a great experience.

Where has your work taken you?

I travel a lot for cheese—Portugal, Spain, France, England, Switzerland. I go see cheesemakers and meet people in the business. I went to Milan and Northern Italy to tour caves and buy cheeses not available to other people. I’ve probably been to 100 cheesemakers since the ’90s.

What do you do for fun?

I like to go out and eat great food with friends. My friends are like family. I like Miller Union and Redbird a lot. I have a long list of restaurants I want to go to. I’ve heard great things about Atlas. I don’t drink a lot, but when I do, I like really good stuff. I have four or five bottles of fancy Champagne in my fridge. I like to go out for walks in the spring and summer. I just love nature. I come from a family of farmers and ranchers. I love connecting with people who make food at farmers markets and such. n

dairy game
STORY: Carly Cooper PHOTO: Joann Vitelli FUN FACT Hook has a shirt that reads “I [Heart] Mosel” because he’s that big of a fan of Mosel Valley wines!
CAPELLA CHEESE • 404.882.3974 • @capellacheese


A sampling of great eats in and around Buckhead

A petite white chocolate Key lime tart is a sweet send-off at Little
Alley. Ecco's interpretation of classic scampi includes perfectly al dente bucatini, Georgia shrimp and Sapelo Island clams. Westside's DAS BBQ is known for its smoked wings, melt-in-your-mouth brisket and comforting side dishes.


Chamblee’s popularity as a residential and dining destination seems to be on the rise, and Chef Jared Hucks is here to make sure diners eat like royalty. Winning starters include a homemade bread plate with prosciutto butter and cheddar pimento cheese, silky sweet potato bisque and sashimi quality seared scallops. For mains, go with the cold smoked salmon, Moroccanspiced shrimp and grits or the hickory smoked Brasstown coulotte steak. Desserts are deliciously unique. If you’ve got belly room to spare, be sure to witness the chef’s gastrotheatrics with the banana bread pudding service. Our favorite was the lunar chocolate, which the chef calls his “dessert moonscape.”

Smaller dishes: $11-$21 • Larger dishes: $23$45 • Desserts: $9-$15 • Chef’s tasting menu: seven courses/$95 •


Chef Suzanne Vizethann offers thoughtfully handcrafted food in a room as pure and simple as its namesake drink. Southern classics are the foundation of this Roswell Road breakfastand-lunch spot, and you can’t go wrong with the Brunswick stew, chicken salad, pimento cheese or the fried chicken biscuit with pepper jelly and pickles. Vizethann’s love of sweet confections really shines at weekend brunch, when folks line up in front of the inviting bright-blue cottage for the likes of toasted blueberry coffee cake and poppy-seed pancakes with strawberries and lemon curd. Breakfast dishes: $8-$13 • Salads and sandwiches: $8.25-$11.50


In 2016, Stephen Franklin had a dream to make Georgia the most “inclusive, creative barbecue experience in the country,” and that’s just what he did at DAS BBQ. Whether it’s the rosy, smoke-ringed brisket, equally pink and juicy St. Louis-style ribs or the spicy, smoked chicken wings, every bony bite is a testament to Franklin’s focus on the art and science of smoked meats. Bring the whole family and don’t pass up house-made sides of decadent cream corn, mac ’n’ cheese and stick-to-your-ribs Brunswick stew. Dig into white chocolate banana pudding after if you’re willing and able.

Meats (whole, half and sandwich): $7-$28, sausages $5/link

Wings: $9/$18 for half dozen/dozen

Side dishes (in regular, pint or quart): $3-$23

Desserts: $3-$5 •


Meals at Ecco in Buckhead have the elegance and spontaneity of a spin around the dance floor, thanks to the hyper-seasonal approach

to the menu. The kitchen shines in creative interpretations of European cuisine with dishes such as Spanish octopus with Castelvetrano olives, grilled pork tenderloin with beet top risotto, and tortellini stuffed with butternut squash and mascarpone. Perennial favorites such as fried goat cheese with honey and cracked black pepper and the Allora flatbread (with its San Marzano tomato sauce, still bubbling mozzarella, hot sopressata and pepperoni) don’t fail to impress. Paired with expert service, a nicely curated wine list and an atmosphere that’s at once sleek and cozy, this Phipps Plaza-adjacent eatery warrants a visit. Bottom line: If you find something you crave, visit soon to get it before it’s gone. Small plates: $9-$18 • Flatbreads: $15-$21 Pasta and mains: $19-$36 • Sides: $7-$12 Desserts: $6-$9 •


Take your taste buds on a nomadic journey at Gypsy Kitchen in the Buckhead Village District, where you’ll find abundant flavors plus an upbeat vibe. Small plates dominate the menu, true to the Spanish tapas experience. The eclectic assortment ensures there’s something to please just about anyone, with abundant vegetarian options as well as diverse omnivore plates. Don’t miss tirokroketes, a trio of crisp cheese balls served with spicy-tart almond romesco sauce. Grilled octopus is cooked to tender perfection. Roasted mushrooms and whipped goat cheese toast surely makes avocado toast green with envy. Moroccan spiced lamb skewers are pleasantly spicy. Sumac honeyroasted carrots offer a healthy way to satisfy sweet cravings. The bar menu presents wine, beer and creative cocktails including gin and tonic on draught with an exclusive tonic. Sangria is offered in both red and rosé versions, with shareable carafes available for an authentic Spanish experience.

Cocktails: $9-15 • Small Plates: $9-20

Meat & Cheese: $8-48 • Mains: $25-65

Desserts: $10-12 •


Le Colonial’s website describes this upscale French-Vietnamese restaurant as “a luxurious escapist oasis,” and we’d agree. Amidst potted palms, starched white tablecloths and whirring vintage fans, glitzed-up diners are transported back to 1920s Vietnam and enjoy the culinary synthesis of the era. Favorite street fare such as banh mi thit nuong (chargrilled pork sandwich) and pho bo (beef noodle soup) get the white glove treatment with chef Richard Lee’s skillful way with Asian herbs and spices. Classic favorites of crispy pan-seared chicken dumplings, garlicky beef rice noodle rolls and curried green papaya salad will have you hankering for a one-way ticket to Saigon.

Small plates: $12-$24 • Soups and salads: $10$18 • Large plates: $14-$60 • Sides: $4-$11 Desserts: $12-$14 •


A meal at Little Alley is an escape, an immersive experience no matter where you find yourself seated. Settle in and indulge in the daily rotating selection of ultra-fresh raw oysters served with a trio of housemade sauces and an appetizer of brûléed bone marrow that’s so rich it could double as butter for grilled bread. The main event is an array of prime Angus cuts, both wet- and dry-aged from 28 to 60 days, so guests can choose their steak’s flavor intensity, cut and tenderness. If you’re really going for broke, make it a surf-and-turf with the addition of a flash-fried Maine lobster tail with drawn butter. Whether you’re out for a special occasion, a business meeting to close a big deal or a “just because” meal, this is a carnivore’s paradise, with aged prime beef, ultra-fresh seafood and hearty sides served with gracious, professional service in a luxe atmosphere. Starters: $16.95-$27.95 • Steaks: $51.95$139.95 • Sides: $11-12 • Desserts: $12-14


Treat your tastebuds to as many dishes as possible at Rumi’s Kitchen Sandy Springs, whether you sit in the spacious dining room with its bubbling water feature or order to-go. The menu is packed with powerful culinary rhythms and rhymes. Falafel stuns with crisp-tender chickpea balls, pickled veggies, tangy tabbouleh and savory tahini sauce. Mirza ghasemi (smoked eggplant with tomato and garlic) presents strong notes without hiding the scrumptious plant flavors. Chicken barg infuses a juicy wedge with exotic flavors thanks to the saffron marinade. Pair it with Shirin polo, fluffy rice dotted with orange zest, red barberry, pistachio, almond and rosewater—a divine mix of flavors and textures. Lamb hummusiya tops hummus with lamb sausage for a pleasing contrast of spicy heat and cool umami. Dukkah roasted carrots play nutty-spicy notes against tangy-sweet yogurt cheese. Good luck choosing a favorite.

Starters: $8-15 • Salads: $8-12

Mains: $18-45 • Sides: $4-10

Desserts: $10 •


Starfish—which can look just a little lost on the block that houses Restaurant Eugene and Holeman and Finch—is exactly the kind of sushi joint we have been trolling for. In a city where Japanese cuisine can be hit-or-miss and sometimes not the freshest, chef-owner Seung K. “Sam” Park’s reticent little pearl is a superior catch—cute and compact as a bento

box but with just a hint of luxury. At dinner, we were delighted to see how the kitchen plays around with untraditional ingredients such as truffle oil and balsamic vinegar, slicing fish as thin as carpaccio and arranging it in dazzling presentations. When our flounder sashimi arrived, the server told us to place a dab of the ponzu jelly spiked with cilantro, jalapeño and lime on a strip of the fish and roll it up. Exquisite. Starfish isn’t the kind of place that announces itself with screaming klieg lights or red carpets. But in this culture of excess, sometimes being a little bit under-the-radar can be very seductive.

Lunch Entrees: $7-$16 • Dinner Entrees: $12$30 •


Occasionally, sitting at Treehouse feels more like a cookout. Neighbors and regulars have been coming here for the familiar comfort food and laid-back atmosphere for more than 20 years. Brunch is a big deal, with a large menu and generous portions of favorites such as the Georgia pecan waffle and Southern-style eggs Benedict covered with sausage gravy. It’s all about the patio here, and dogs are welcome guests. The chef works to enliven old favorites with as much attention to the all-American fried chicken sandwich as the New York strip au poivre. He also curates a mighty fine list of craft beers. Brunch: $8-$10 • Appetizers: $3-$13

Burgers and sandwiches: $7-$10 • Large plates: $17-$22 •


Don’t be put off by the mobs of hipsters waiting for a table or the funky menu items with unfamiliar ingredients such as hemp, flax and chia. Though it could easily be mistaken for an ephemeral, crunchy beardo hangout, True Food Kitchen is here to stay—not just because of its good intentions and exemplary karma, but because of its tasty eats. Favorites include the shiitake lettuce cups, spring asparagus toast and the T.L.T. (tempeh, lettuce and tomato) sandwich. Good for the uninitiated are the margherita pizza, steak tacos and Mediterranean chicken pita. Recommended drinks include the non-alcoholic Cucumber Cooler and Medicine Man tea or the buzzinducing lemongrass margarita, citrus skinny margarita and Strawberry Smash.

Starters and vegetable plates: $7-$13

Salads and bowls: $10-$14 (added protein $3-$9) • Pizzas and sandwiches: $12-$16

Entrees: $14-$26 •

Note: Prices and menu items may have changed since original publication.


Visit to read all of our restaurant reviews!


Nourishing your Body and Soul with


Share the experience, spread the word

Food & Drink


STORY: H.M. Cauley

PHOTOS: Kim Evans Photography

The 17th Annual Starfish Ball, a gala celebrating the nsoro nonprofit’s mission to assist youth transitioning out of foster care, feted the contributions of two local supporters. Angela Lewis, founding partner of the CPA firm Wilson Lewis, was named Queen of the Ball for being nsoro’s first corporate sponsor, providing pro bono services and support since 2005. René F. Jones of M&T Bank was honored as the ball’s King for his commitment to equitable opportunity and his ongoing support of the organization. The late January event at the St. Regis Atlanta, for which Simply Buckhead was the exclusive media sponsor, included cocktails, dinner, dancing and live and silent auctions. The 550 guests raised almost $1.1 million to support the educational goals of teens leaving the foster system.

Derek Bottoms, former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Erica Bolden Patrice Greer, Ernest Greer John Howard, Diane Howard nsoro's Class of 2023 with nsoro Board of Directors Dedrick Thomas, Danny Glover, Susan Balsavage, John Balsavage Tara Mays, Malika Johnson, Darrell Mays Joanne Hayes, Sonny Hayes

Maggie Schreck, PA-C is a highly-skilled and sought-after injector treating patients in the Buckhead location of Truffles Medispa. Maggie is an injector trainer for both Allergan (the makers of Botox Cosmetic, the Juvederm portfolio, and Kybella) and Galderma (the makers of Dysport, the Restylane portfolio, and Sculptra Aesthetic). Maggie is also one of the very few injectors who trains physicians and other practitioners throughout the State of Georgia in the use of Sculptra Aesthetic for both the face and body. With more than fourteen years of injectable experience, Maggie specializes in Non-Surgical Aesthetic Rejuvenation.

She is a true artist who loves working with patients to help them achieve their aesthetic goals. She is known for her excellent bedside manner, exceptional patient care, and innovative treatments that cannot be found at other practices. Maggie obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Fine Arts from Miami University of Ohio and her Physician Assistant degree from Yale University. In addition to her extensive experience as an injector, Maggie has worked in the field of plastic surgery since 2007 assisting in surgery, preoperative care, and postoperative care. Maggie is a native of upstate New York and lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children.

QWO FDA-approved

softens fine lines and wrinkles in the forehead, crows feet and frown lines
non-surgical fat reduction in neck and body.
adds or restores volume to the face with results lasting up to two years
maggie schreck
Schreck, PA-C Botox/Dysport
of cellulite with
and body treatment that stimulates collagen to lift and build volume T R U F F L E S M E D I S P A 2233 Peachtree Rd., Suite K, Atlanta, GA 30309 (770) 460-2000
Sculptra face


Alexandra and Zach French, founders of the Gift of Surrogacy Foundation, chaired and hosted the organization’s gala fundraiser in early February at the 42West venue on Atlanta’s Westside. The hors d’oeuvres and open bar enjoyed by 300 guests were accompanied by music from Scattered, Smothered and Covers, a DJ, a wine pull and silent and live auctions. The event raised more than $150,000, surging past the goal set to fund one full surrogacy journey. The nonprofit was launched in 2022 after cancersurvivor Alexandra had a second child via surrogacy. The objective is to provide education about and access to surrogacy options, mentorship, support and financial grants to those whose medical diagnoses prevent them from having children on their own.

Emma Nare, Alexa Spathelf, Sofia Bibliowicz Nancy Abood Jill Segal, Brooke French, Zach French, Alexandra French, Alexa Spathelf, Lana Imerman, Lenny Silverstein Taylor Estes, Kristen Estes, Kelsey Smith, Chase Smith, Naomi Morson, Ryan Morson Jackie Avery, Dorotea Parker, Abbie Brown, Joi McNair, Nadia Little Holly Lybeer Mehl, Kyle Mehl, Tonya Jones, Laura Mehl, Megan Primrose Alexandra French, Zach French STORY: H.M. Cauley PHOTOS: Andrea de Anda Photography Alexandra Burriss of Scattered, Smothered and Covers


Chops Lobster Bar's dining space update includes this evocative piece of neon-accented art by Srinjoy, aptly titled Icon

Glow. PHOTO: Erik Meadows


The Best of Luxury Outdoor Living, Family, and Community in Cashiers, North Carolina

LONESOME VALLEY is a private gated community just outside of Cashiers, NC offering extensive hiking trails, fly fishing, lake activities, a fitness facility with heated outdoor pool, tennis, and rock climbing, as well as priority access and pricing at Canyon Kitchen and Canyon Spa, both located at the entrance to the community.


Currently under construction on a streamfront home site, this home will feature a guest home above the two-car garage. The open floor plan boasts stunning hardwood floors, high ceilings, and a masonry fireplace. The kitchen has it all: custom cabinetry, stone countertops, Sub Zero, Wolf, and Miele appliances, plus an island with plenty of seating. The expansive outdoor spaces include a dining porch, a screened porch with a stone fireplace, and two open decks. Start the 2023 summer season off right in this fabulous new construction home in exclusive Lonesome Valley!


JUDY MICHAUD: 828.371.0730

MITZI RAUERS: 404.218.9123

TOM GOLDACKER: 828.200.9045

JOHN MUIR: 404.245.7027

BROOKS KITTRELL: 828.230.4453

Office: 828.526.1717 | 488 Main Street, Highlands, NC 28741 |

©2023 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Equal Housing Opportunity.
Presented By Your Mountain Getaway Awaits Limited Lot & Cottage Packages Remaining Gated Community High-Speed Internet Maintenance Included 2.5 Hour Scenic Drive From Atlanta Stunning Views WWW.PRESERVEATWHITESIDECLIFFS.COM 470.602.9693 704.202.4161
modeling a dress by Alix (Madame Grès) for Vogue. Courtesy of the Horst P. Horst Estate and @TheArtDesignProjectGallery.
Schedule your tour today. Call (404)891-9190 to learn more. Unexpected Happiness | 3200 Howell Mill Rd. NW Atlanta, GA 30327 Experience award winning design and unparalleled service. Offering Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care

JUDY MICHAUD: 828.371.0730

MITZI RAUERS: 404.218.9123

TOM GOLDACKER: 828.200.9045

JOHN MUIR: 404.245.7027

BROOKS KITTRELL: 828.230.4453

20 CUSTOM LUXURY HOMES IN A PRIVATE GATED COMMUNITY Named after its beautiful 40-foot waterfall, Saratay Falls is a new community of 20 luxury mountain homes to be built just minutes from Cashiers, NC, by developer Loudermilk Homes, a large, custom home builder out of Atlanta, GA, known for a relentless focus on quality craftsmanship, transparency, and advanced smart home technology. Find out more at, or call us to chat. MODERN-RUSTIC DESIGN | NATURAL 40’ WATERFALL | HIKING TRAILS & OBSERVATION DECK LOT 4 | $2,795,000 | MLS# 100943 LOT 19 | $2,195,000 | MLS# 100916 LOT 7 | $2,490,000 | MLS# 101042 LOT 14 | $2,245,000 | MLS# 101041 Office: 828.526.1717 | 488 Main Street, Highlands, NC 28741 | ©2023 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Equal Housing Opportunity.

Articles inside


pages 97-99, 101


pages 95-96


pages 93-94


pages 90-92


pages 88-89

Sip, Sip, Hooray

page 86

Fun and Games

page 86


pages 84-85

Sensational & Surf Turf

pages 80-83


pages 78-79


page 77


page 76


pages 74-75


pages 72-73

at Play

pages 70, 72


pages 68-69

The Dancing Man of La Mancha

page 68


pages 67-68

Hooked on Heroic Journeys

pages 66-67

Art in the Here and Now

pages 64-65


page 62


pages 61-62


pages 60-61


pages 58-60

Dollars & Sense

pages 56-57


page 50


page 48


pages 46-47

Welcome to the STYLISH Neighborhood

pages 44-45

Young Love

pages 40, 42

Feeling Floral

pages 38-39


pages 36-38


pages 30-36

Lone Star Love

pages 28-29


page 26

Great Outdoors

pages 24-25


pages 22, 24


pages 20-21

Coat of Many Colors

pages 18-19


page 17


pages 3-5
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