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November/December 2019 ISSUE 67 • FREE Serving Buckhead, Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Chamblee and Dunwoody






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T O O T S I E S . C O M


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead





Photos: 46, 71, 86: Sara Hanna. 97: Emily Butler Photography





71 COVER STORY 14 Editor’s Letter



28 Approved:


46 Fashion:

Portable Power

Fall’s Funky Fashions

Living It Up in a Virtual World

Five game-changing chargers for all your electronic gadgets

Showcasing the colors, fabrics and styles of the season

A new attraction delivers a unique 360-degree video experience

30 Kids:

52 Beauty:

17 News:

20 Travel Near: The Abbey in Asheville The world of Downton Abbey arrives at the city’s historic Biltmore estate museum

Jingle All the Way

The Mane Event

Local traditions that make the season jolly and bright

Hair care tools and products for fabulous-looking locks



32 Home:

22 Travel Far:

Domestic Dwelling

High-Standard Skiing

With help from a designer friend, a couple updates a 1940s home to meet family needs

A vacation on the slopes at Park City’s Stein Eriksen Lodge offers the ultimate spoiling

27 15 Minutes With: Nadia Bilchik A professional speaker discusses the art of good communication


38 Tastemaker:

86 Review: From KFC to Quinoa R. Thomas: a health food phoenix rises from the fryer

88 Drinks: The Heat Is On

62 On Stage: Carrying a Tune

Winter cocktails that warm from within

Choir teacher Jonathan Pilkington has belted notes from Georgia to New York


97 Events: Places to go and things to do

Setting the Stage

64 Art:

Stephanie Jacobs gets homes about to sell ready for their close-ups

Schuyler Rideout goes back to her roots for her canvas creations

Life-Changing Art

101 Charitable: A spotlight on philanthropic and social gatherings

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 


Enduring Hearts 5th Annual Bourbon Gala & Auction All proceeds directly benefit Enduring Hearts life-changing and life-saving research efforts. Audi Dream Driving Experience Raffle

Silent Auction


Serving Buckhead, Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Chamblee and Dunwoody NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 | ISSUE 67 P.O. Box 11633, Atlanta, GA 30355 For advertising rates, call: 404.538.9895 Publisher and Founder


Joanne Hayes Chief Financial Officer

Sonny Hayes Editor-in-Chief

Jill Becker Creative Director

11+ High-End Bourbons and Whiskeys on Tasting Menu

Alan Platten

The Foundry at Puritan Mill February 21, 2020 7:30 - 11:30 P.M.

ValueStream Media Chief Photographer

Sara Hanna Vice President, Sales & Marketing

Cheryl Isaacs Account Executives

Bill Garst Lisa George Michelle Johnson Website Development Management

BHG Digital

Shaye Strager Gourmet Dinner

Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Raffle

Tickets on Sale Now! This will be an exclusive, sell out event. Sponsorship Inquiries Email:

Live Music

Wine Pull

Open Bar

Live Auction

For most of her decades-long career, Shaye Strager advised her New York City clientele, from celebrities to CEOs, on the fine art of styling and reported on fashion trends as an authority for local TV audiences. Since her return to the South, she has transformed her career into a multi-city affair. Much like a fashion editor, she curates a day-to-day style for her clients, offering wardrobe consultations designed to help them identify their personal style and maintain their closets with updates that fit their budgets. In this issue, she put together the amazing looks for the “Fall’s Funky Fashions” feature starting on page 46. For more information on Strager’s work, visit

Director of Audience Development

Mike Jose Copy Editor

H.M. Cauley Contributing Editor

Jennifer Bradley Franklin Contributing Writers

Giannina S. Bedford Jennifer Bradley Franklin H.M. Cauley Rebecca Cha Carly Cooper Jessica Dauler Sherri Dickens Mickey Goodman Angela Hansberger Ann Hardie Neal Howard Michael Jacobs Nicole Letts Amanda Morris Lia Picard Sue Rodman Ginger Strejcek Muriel Vega Karon Warren Contributing Photographers

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.

Lynn Crow Kimberly Evans Charles Sharper Graphic Designer

Layal Akkad Legal Counsel

Saving Lives is Whiskey Business! 12 

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

Copyright © 2019 by Simply Buckhead ®. All rights reserved. Printed by Walton Press, Inc. Distributed by Distributech and Distribution Services Group.

Scott I. Zucker Facebook “Like” us at LivingWellATL

Twitter Follow us @SimplyBuckhead

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[ BEHIND THE COVER ] Unlike a lot of the people who have graced our cover who aren’t professional models, Rebecca Adams is used to bright studio lights. An actress hoping to make it big in Atlanta’s thriving film biz (see page 71), Adams is accustomed to being in front of the camera. She wasn’t as familiar, however, with the “haze in a can” we sprayed in the background to help give a few of the shots some old-Hollywood ambiance. Its effects may have been a little more subtle than hoped, but it’s clear that Adams has star potential in spades.


Photographer: Sara Hanna Wardrobe: Courtesy of Tootsies (Rag & Bone hat, $275; Theory mock-neck sweater, $255; Smythe jacket, $695; LeSuperbe pants, $425) Hair: Olivia Haynie Makeup: Michaela David Shot at the Sara Hanna Photography studio


Interested in Advertising?

Read Simply Buckhead online at

For information, email us at or call 404-538-9895


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



[ E DI T OR ’ S L E T T E R ]

The Headshot Truck


went to see a movie at The Springs Cinema & Taphouse recently, and as I laid back in the fully-reclining and heated—yes, heated!— seat, watching the previews and munching my popcorn, I thought to myself, What could be better than this on a rainy Sunday afternoon? I’ve been an avid filmgoer since my early 20s, when sitting in a dark theater and escaping to the world on the screen for a few hours helped ease the migraines I once suffered from. I still love going to the movies and admittedly probably watch too much TV and Netflix. But there’s more great content than ever these days, and amazingly, more and more of it is being produced right here in Atlanta. So when we put together our cover story on the local residents making that happen (see page 71), we had no shortage of interesting subjects to choose from. Take, for example, Ryan Millsap, who founded the movie studio where Venom, Godzilla and scores of other films have been made. Or writer-director Deborah Riley Draper, who is branching out from documentaries to feature films starring the likes of Jasmine Guy and Gabrielle Union. Speaking of great stories, on page 56, Ginger Strejcek writes about how a visit to Big John’s Christmas Trees has been a holiday tradition for countless Atlantans for 70 years. On page 86, Rebecca Cha reviews R. Thomas Deluxe Grill, another Buckhead institution. And on page 54, three intrepid Simply Buckhead team members try out some of the more unique area wellness services. I think you’ll find it’s all worth—to steal from legendary

Jill Becker

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

HOURS OF FREEDOM The Story of The Terezin Composer Produced by The Defiant Requiem Foundation

Thursday, December 5 | 7 pm Ahavath Achim Synagogue 600 Peachtree Battle Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30327 Hours of Freedom dramatizes music by fifteen composers imprisoned in the Theresienstadt (Terezin) Concentration Camp during WWll. Presented as nine chapters with titles including, “Hope,” “Fate,” “Longing,” and “The Eyewitness,” this concert combines music, video, and narrative to showcase works by Viktor Ullmann, Gideon Klein, Zigmund Schul, Pavel Haas, Rudolf Karel, and ten others. The compositions performed portray the agony and suffering of camp life, along with the inspiration, revelation, harmony, and hope that comes through music. Free and open to the public Registration required by November 30

film critics Siskel and Ebert—a thumb’s up.


The Fran Eizenstat and Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture Series presents

N E W S | L O C A L S A L U T E | T R AV E L | 1 5 M I N U T E S W I T H | A P P R O V E D | K I D S



High-Standard Skiing P22

Overlooking the famous Deer Valley Resort, Stein Eriksen channels the experience of a luxury European ski lodge.

Park City, Utah's tony Stein Eriksen lodge features creature comforts such as ski valets and heated outdoor walkways.

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 














9 2

. 28 C E D





The Ultimate Dining Card is valid at all Buckhead Life restaurants. Additional restrictions apply.


Karon Warren


ego fans dreaming of morphing into the world of The Lego Movie can come close at Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta’s newest attraction. Launched a few months ago, The Great Lego Race VR Experience brings together kids and parents in a virtual world where they compete against Lego Minifigures in brick-built vehicles. The 360-degree-video experience features such scenes as a rocky moun-

tain, a rolling river and hot lava. “This new experience puts guests right into the action with twists and turns,” says Penda Meftah, general manager of the Phipps Plaza attraction. “Our new VR adventure engages all senses during a four-minute ride and includes guests’ favorite Lego characters.” Visitors climb into virtual pods, which fit two people each, and don VR headsets to participate in the race. “Virtual

reality experiences are all the rage right now,” says Meftah, “and The Great Lego Race VR Experience offers a kid-friendly version of the trend. It immerses parents and children inside the action-packed, brick-filled world of Lego.” Designed for ages 6 and up, The Great Lego Race VR Experience costs $5 per person in addition to regular admission, which starts at $17.95 online and $27.95 at the door. n

LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER ATLANTA 3500 Peachtree Rd. N.E. Atlanta 30326 404.848.9252

NEWS CLIPS PLAYGROUND RENOVATION AT CHASTAIN COMPLETE Following an extensive redevelopment of the original Chastain Park playground, Phase II of the capital campaign Play Chastain was unveiled by the Chastain Park Conservancy during a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The rehabilitation and expansion from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet was necessary because the playground equipment was 14 years old, and the number

of children it served significantly increased,” says Randee Kelly, communications director for the Chastain Park Conservancy. New features include a climbing structure, a sensory tunnel, additional musical equipment, toddler playhouses and shade structures. Phase II was funded through a $100,000 Legacy Grant from Park Pride. Chastain Park 135 W. Wieuca Rd. N.W. Atlanta 30342

LUXURY WATCH RETAILER OPENS AT LENOX Joining boutiques in New York, Las Vegas, Beverly Hills and other notable locales, Audemars Piguet recently opened its first Atlanta storefront at Lenox Square. The 530-square-foot space incorporates design details representative of the luxury watch company’s Swiss roots, including Vals stone flooring from the Swiss mountains. Shoppers will find a full range of ladies’

and men’s timepieces featuring the brand’s expert craftsmanship. Audemars Piguet 3393 Peachtree Rd. N.E. Atlanta 30326 404.233.8202

TOM FORD RELOCATES TO PHIPPS PLAZA Opening this month, Tom Ford unveils its new 4,500-square-foot boutique at Phipps Plaza after a previous stint at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta.

The upscale retailer features both women’s and men’s ready-to-wear fashion collections, including shoes, bags and accessories. The store’s reincarnation at Phipps is part of a transformation at the Buckhead shopper’s paradise and joins more than 100 Tom Ford boutiques around the globe. Tom Ford 3500 Peachtree Rd. N.E. Atlanta 30326

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 


Bring our delicious French crepes to your holiday party!

Request our Catering Platers, Food Truck, or Crepe Bar today. For more details email

Creperie in downtown Senoia!

Now Open!

Handcrafted sweet and savory crepes served daily– perfect for any meal or dessert.

Free Nutella or Caprese Crepe 48 Main St. #1B, Senoia

Expires 12/31/2019. Redeemable in store only.



Make Your Business Grow We deliver creative public relations & marketing solutions to meet the unique needs of your business so it can thrive.

Public Relations • Marketing • Business Coaching • Brand Launches • Event Planning (678) 492-8826 • • Peach Roots Simply Buckhead Half Page Ad V2.indd 1


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

10/29/19 10:10 AM



Mickey Goodman

Jennie Helderman

Mari Doyal (second from right) and friends peruse the brochure for the annual golf tournament that raises funds for "Just" People.

Under the leadership of Lydia Mays, teens at the Covenant House center for homeless youth paint a mural to beautify their residence.

A Home of Their Own

For the Love of Art

Giving disabled persons the gift of independence

Helping unleash creativity in kids

As parents of a child with developmental disabilities, Buckhead residents Mari and Larry Doyal worried what would happen to their daughter, Julie, as they aged. Although Julie and others with issues such as Down syndrome, autism and Asperger’s can be high functioning, they often lack the skills to live independently without help with transportation, finances, socialization and job training. Becky Dowling, who worked with Julie and other disabled adults, had a goal: to create a village called “Just” People, Inc. that would be staffed 24/7 and offer programs for both residents and non-residents. She selected the name because the people she serves are “just like everyone else.” The Doyals immediately became involved. “Without their faith in me, ‘Just’ People wouldn’t be here,” says Dowling. “Mari helped put the

program together, and Larry, who was a real estate developer, became my mentor. He opened doors to large foundations and corporations that made significant contributions. He also organized an annual golf tournament to raise funds. After his death in 2009, Mari ramped up her involvement with the tournament named in his honor." The first “Just” People village opened in Roswell in 2004 and was instantly filled. Among the first residents was Julie Doyal. “We were thrilled to open up the second ‘Just’ People village in Flowery Branch in December 2018,” says Mari. “The two facilities offer hundreds of social and instructional programming for the 275 residents and day participants.” l For more information, visit

Military Mentors

Former Air Force captain Jason Smith helps lead Bunker Labs' efforts to assist returning veterans in starting their own businesses.

Encouraging entrepreneurship among veterans “Twenty-five percent of veterans and spouses transitioning from the military want to start their own businesses but don’t know how to begin,” says Jason Smith, a former Air Force captain and one of three Atlanta leaders of Bunker Labs, a national veteran-led nonprofit funded primarily by corporate sponsors such as Google’s VetNet

Children’s book author and illustrator Lydia Mays of Buckhead has been volunteering with Paint Love for the last five years. The local 501(c)(3) partners with Title I schools and youth-oriented nonprofits to bring opportunities for selfexpression to kids who have experienced trauma, loss or extreme poverty. “Because their schools lack funding, the kids we work with need creative outlets the most but have the least access,” says Paint Love’s executive director Laura Shaw. “We want to empower them to imagine a future that’s not limited by these experiences.” Recently, Mays helped residents at the Covenant House Georgia for homeless youth create a mural at the facility. “[Artists]

community. “During our sixmonth intensive programs, we provide shared workspace and subject matter experts, teach business and communication skills, and help our aspiring military entrepreneurs make connections in the business community,” says Smith. “The idea

is to offer resources that motivate them to move forward.” Vets and spouses begin by attending Bunker Brews, open happy hours held primarily in donated spaces in Buckhead. Those who want to participate in the intensive program complete applications, and 10 are selected for each session. The programs are led by Smith; Megan Rohe, a Sandy Springs resident and military spouse; and Scott Tekesky, who served in the infantry. Success stories abound. One participant who specialized in

Casey O’Connell and Lindsay Ryden outlined the mural, and the teens applied the paint,” she says. “When I asked them how it made them feel, one said, ‘I feel like I contributed to something beautiful that will always have a place at Covenant House and makes it seem like home.’” The projects are planned and executed by volunteer artists. Each is designed with a specific group of kids in mind so the students can leave with some sense of healing. “The conversations kids have with one another while they’re working on art projects is also part of the process,” says Mays. “They lift one another up.” l For more information, visit

complex installations for electrical and computer systems arrived unfocused. “He now earns a six-figure income,” says Smith. A pair of Army Rangers who got degrees in nuclear physics from Georgia Tech now own a company that helps spread the value of nuclear energy. l For more information, visit

Want to nominate a volunteer, company or nonprofit that makes Buckhead, Sandy Springs or Brookhaven a better place to live? Please contact:

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 


Photos: Courtesy The Biltmore Company


Left: The Biltmore's roofline mimics the ridges of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. Below: Fans of the hit PBS series can visit Mrs. Patmore's kitchen at Downton Abbey: The Exhibition.

THE ABBEY IN ASHEVILLE The world of Downton Abbey arrives at the city’s historic Biltmore estate museum STORY:


Amanda Morris

or fans of the hit PBS show Downton Abbey, the Biltmore estate in Asheville, North Carolina, is an ideal U.S. destination to view an authentic example of the upstairs/downstairs life portrayed in the series. A three-and-a-half-hour drive from Atlanta, this National Historic Landmark reveals the decadence of the Gilded Age elite along with a glimpse into the life of the hard-working staff who served them. The Biltmore is now even more enticing as it hosts Downton Abbey: The Exhibition, premiering Nov. 8. The grand estate is the perfect setting for

the interactive exhibition given the many parallels between the real-life Biltmore and fictional Downton Abbey. The exhibit features neverbefore-seen multimedia presentations, costumes, artifacts and sets from the show. Just as the on-screen Crawleys placed great importance on maintaining and preserving their estate for future generations, so did the real-life Vanderbilts. Today, the Biltmore is owned by the fourth and fifth generations of the Vanderbilt family. It was the vision of George Vanderbilt, grandson to the shipping and railroad tycoon, Cornelius Vanderbilt. Through his extensive European travels, George gained not only a cache of art treasures, but also the concept for his 8,000-acre estate, modeling it after centuries-old English estates much like the one used as the Crawleys’ home in the show. More than 40 costumes from Downton Abbey are on display at the Biltmore through next April.


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

To fully immerse yourself into the world of Downton Abbey, stay at the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate. Here, you’ll experience a level of service comparable to that of being a guest of the Vanderbilts—or the Crawleys. From the Inn, stroll to Antler Hill Village for dinner and to check out the part of the exhibit featuring more than 40 of the show’s costumes, including those worn by Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and Hugh Bonneville. After breakfast at the Inn the next day, take the shuttle to the Biltmore house. When the French châteauinspired mansion comes into view, notice how the roofline mimics the surrounding mountain ridges. As you tour the house, examine the decorative ceilings in many of the rooms. In the salon, for example, the ceiling is draped with wool brocade tenting inspired by the Asian and Moorish decorating styles. While there, also keep an eye out for the ivory chess set originally owned by Napoleon Bonaparte. Next, head downstairs to the service areas. Downton fans will enjoy seeing the servant’s dining room, where, unlike in the show, you would never see the house-

keeper (like Mrs. Hughes) eating with a kitchen maid (like Daisy). There was a strict hierarchy, and the upper and lower servants rarely socialized with each other. Upon leaving the house, take the shuttle to Amherst at Deerpark, where the majority of the exhibit is held. Here, you’ll have a chance to interact with your favorites from the show in the Great Hall of Characters. Holograms, life-size imagery and video add to the multimedia exhibit. Artifacts and multiple sets from the series, including Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen, Mary’s bedroom, Mr. Carson’s pantry and the Crawleys’ dining room, bring the show to life. Finish your day back at the Inn with a drink at the lobby bar. Take your beverage onto the terrace and enjoy the view of the site that inspired George Vanderbilt to buy this land and build America’s largest home. The Crawleys would approve. n

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition runs Nov. 8, 2019, through Apr. 7, 2020, and is included in the purchase of a daytime admission or Christmas Evenings ticket. For more information, visit

JOSEPH RIBKOFF Trunk Show November 12th & 13th

City Springs Theatre Company for Strictly Buckhead (Nov/Dec 2019) 1/4 H ad

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



Named for an Olympic skiing legend, Stein Eriksen Lodge is nestled against some of Deer Valley's finest runs.

From its scenic patios (above) to the luxurious spa (right), Stein Eriksen Lodge makes it hard to go home.


Skiing STORY:


Giannina S. Bedford

sat on the bench of the equipment locker room and readied myself for the battle that is shoving my foot, encased in a thick wool sock, into my ski boot. Just as I was about to give it the big heave, I heard a ski valet ask, “Can I help you with that?” In less than 30 seconds, and without any pushing or tugging, both my feet were securely strapped into my boots and I was walking towards the mountain, the valet carrying my equipment right behind me. This was just an introduction to the exemplary service I received during a recent visit to Deer Valley’s Stein Eriksen Lodge. A similar level of intuitive attendance was given at the lodge’s Glitretind Restaurant, the Forbes FiveStar spa and during après-ski at the property’s inviting fireside spaces. Nestled in Park City, Utah, and overlooking the famous Deer Valley Resort, Stein Eriksen channels the experience of a luxury European ski lodge. I began each day by fueling up


A vacation on the slopes at Park City’s Stein Eriksen Lodge offers the ultimate spoiling

with Glitretind’s signature skier’s breakfast buffet offering Stein’s Wild Game Chili, local meats and cheeses, and all the breakfast accoutrements one could imagine. Day one, I traversed the ski runs of Deer Valley Resort (right outside the doors of Stein Eriksen) with a private instructor who assessed my skills and offered tips for improvement without slowing the pace of the day. Day two, I tackled the slopes of Park City Mountain, launching from the Canyons Village base area. Unlike Deer Valley, Park City Mountain allows snowboarders, giving it a more laid-back ambiance. Park City Mountain can also be a bit more crowded than Deer Valley, but I appreciated its festive air as much as the seemingly more exclusive vibe of Deer Valley. For lunch, and to wait out an incoming snowfall, The Farm at Canyons Village hit the spot with its Farm Burger, served with a Vidalia onion ring, smoked duck confit, local cheddar, peach salsa and habanero aioli. Post-lunch, I tended to my sore

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

muscles at Stein Eriksen’s spa. Along with signature massages, facials and body treatments geared toward avid skiers (and on-and-off skiers like myself), the facility offers steam rooms and hot and cold plunge baths that are the perfect balance to a morning spent on the slopes. For après-ski that evening, I checked out the Champions Club, part of Stein Eriksen’s $14 million expansion completed in 2018, which features arcade games and casual food options fit for a family-friendly dinner. Outdoors, the Champions Plaza has two fire pits and heated walkways where guests often gather for nighttime s’mores. For a more adult-centric, see-andbe-seen après-ski, head upstairs to Troll Hallen Lounge. Grab a fireside seat and take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains as you sample cocktails and menu items such as garlic Asiago cheese fries and cheese fondue. After a few days at Stein Eriksen

AT YOUR SKI SERVICE In addition to helping strap on ski boots, Stein Eriksen’s ski valets welcome guests with hot drinks, prepped gear and information about trail conditions. When you’re done skiing for the day, they collect your equipment, clean it and store it overnight so it’s ready to go early the next morning.

Lodge, I was starting to feel guilty about the luxurious level of care I was becoming accustomed to. So the next morning, I vowed to carry my own skis. But as I struggled to tote my gear wearing the clunky ski boots while trying to avoid dropping a glove or my goggles, I heard the ski valet say, “Please, let me get that for you.” OK, fine with me! n



Above: The compact kitchen lets you cook your own meals and start your morning with fresh brewed coffee.

John Dickens

Right: The welcome packet includes a s'mores kit and activities guide. Below: The fire pit keeps you warm on those cold North Georgia mountain evenings.

The author and her kids play around in the cabin's top bunk.

Big Fun in a Tiny Cabin Getaway’s compact lodgings offer a unique North Georgia escape STORY:


Sherri Dickens

few months ago, I had the chance to visit Getaway, a recently opened tiny cabin retreat in the North Georgia mountains designed to encourage disconnection from the stressors of busy life through time spent in nature with your people. And ideally, without your phones. The tiny house living trend fascinates and terrifies me in equal parts. So the thought of spending a few days in a 200-square-foot cabin with my husband, kids and our extremely large black lab was a little daunting. In the weeks prior to our visit, the Getaway team eased my fears, ensuring I had answers to all of my questions. They even sent us a “Road Trip” playlist for the one-and-a-halfhour trip. (The playlist was so good, it’s still currently in rotation on my Spotify favorites.) Upon arrival, we found a lovely welcome packet that included an activity guide, a book titled How to Get Away (authored by Getaway’s co-founders)


and a lockbox for any phones or devices we wanted to stash away. Going gadget-free is highly encouraged at Getaway, and personally, I can’t recommend it enough. Provisions for simple meals and snacks are available for purchase, although I’d let your kids know they aren’t free before they mow through two bags of Swedish Fish. Additionally, Getaway gifted our dog with a BarkBox full of treats and toys. We stayed in The Stanley, a larger, four-person cabin. There are smaller options for those traveling alone or with one other person. Our sleeping accommodations consisted of comfy queen-sized bunk beds nestled up against a window that consumed almost the entire wall. My daughter wasn’t too thrilled to be sharing the top bunk with her brother, but they managed not to kill each other. The cabin’s kitchen is tiny but functional, with a stylish mini-fridge, a two-burner electric stove and a sink with drinkable water. The cabins are equipped with heat and air-con-

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

ditioning, working toilets (hallelujah!) and bath towels. In a nutshell, the cabins feel very hipster-meets-glamping, wrapped up in a trendy tiny cabin package. Outside, you can spend time in the Adirondack chairs surrounding the cozy fire pit. There’s also a picnic table and even a dog tie-out with food and water bowls so your pup can safely be outdoors with you. The view of the meadow below is serene and calming—at least until your kids start playing the everpopular hit-each-other-with-sticksfor-no-reason-at-all game. On our second night at the cabin, we made hot dogs and hamburgers over the fire, after which we enjoyed a lively game of Monopoly. Unfortunately, our closest neighbors happened to be enjoying Getaway’s suggested meditation exercise, so we quickly took the noise level down about 87%. We ended the night with s’mores around the fire pit, and it was perfection. Getaway provides information on

nearby attractions for guests as well. The Woody Gap Recreation Area is just minutes away, so we opted to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail. If hiking isn’t your thing, you can go fishing at the Dockery Lake or Deep Hole recreation areas, or enjoy a picnic lunch near the waterfall at Sea Creek Falls. A swinging bridge in the area stretches over the Toccoa River. All in all, we had a blast. Our getaway with Getaway was proof that putting down devices and getting into nature makes for some really fun memories. And all for much less than the costs of a typical family vacation. As a parting gift, we received some tips on how to incorporate “mini getaways” into our everyday lives, which I fully plan to do. Or maybe I’ll just go ahead and schedule another weekend at Getaway. n

Getaway is located in Suches, Georgia. Rates start at $89 a night for a two-person cabin. For reservations and information, visit

Simply Outstanding


227 Sandy Springs Place NE, Suite 502 Sandy Springs, GA 30328

833FOODART (833 366 3278)


3535 Northside Parkway NW/Paces Ferry Plaza (678) 909-0960 @eleanors_place

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



GEORGIA 128 E. ANDREWS DR ATL 30305 404 848 9100 26 

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead




Jill Becker




ublic speaking comes naturally to Sandy Springs resident Nadia Bilchik. Born in South Africa, she was a well-known prime-time TV host in her native country. After moving to Atlanta in 1997, she worked for a couple of CNN networks, reporting on everything from tsunamis and mass shootings to celebrities and politicians. These days, she’s added author, keynote speaker, moderator and communications expert to her résumé. As president of Greater Impact Communication, she presents talks and training sessions on topics such as branding, personal development and networking to clients including Porsche, Starbucks, Accenture and Coca-Cola. “I’ve just always been comfortable on stage,” says Bilchik.

How did you first become interested in reporting? I was acting in a movie with Gary Busey called Act of Piracy. I was getting interviewed for the movie, and I thought, I want to be the one doing the interviewing. What was one of the most memorable stories you covered? In 2010, I did a series of pieces on Nelson Mandela and South Africa during the World Cup. They were about what the country was experiencing at the time. Who are some of the other big names you’ve interviewed? Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep. George Clooney was so kind and gracious. Jennifer Lopez was lovely. I interviewed Matt Damon before anyone knew him. How did you end up in Atlanta? My husband was offered a job in real estate here. He mentioned CNN was in Atlanta. When we got here, I gave my demo tape to the head of security at CNN, and it got distributed to CNN International and CNN Airport. How would you describe your job these days? I’m a professional speaker. The essence of my work is conveying how to project confidence, competence and charisma to be as influential as possible. I tend not to say I’m a motivational speaker. I’m an application teacher. I help people apply the lessons.

How many speaking engagements do you do a week? On average one or two. It takes a lot of prep and energy. I have to tailor and align it to the client’s goals and values. One of the main things you teach is the art of communication. Why is it such a hot topic? Good communication has always been important, but technology is changing at such a rate that we’re living in an age of electronic alienation, so it’s even more important. We have to do everything at an accelerated speed, and the saboteur of that is miscommunication. The generation coming into the workplace now is technically savvy but lacking in interpersonal skills. What do you get asked about most in your seminars? How to build confidence. Everyone is capable of it. The problem is we tell ourselves stories about ourselves that aren’t true. No one views you with the microscopic lens that you do. Part of it is reframing how you feel about yourself, focusing on the things that make you feel validated and give you a sense of personal accomplishment. You coined the term “ramplify.” What does that mean? Ramping up your presence and amplifying your personal brand. It’s about taking where you’re at to the next level. What do you like to do in your off-time? I’m an avid walker. I love Chastain Park. It’s so

beautiful. In winter, I walk Lenox and Phipps and do some window-shopping. I’m also an avid reader and moviegoer. What are your go-to places around town? I love any place that serves cappuccino. I’m a regular at Cupanion’s in Sandy Springs. I’m a “coffeeonado.” In another life, I’d be a barista.

What’s your guilty pleasure? Binge watching. I speak so much for my work that I need a lot of downtime. That’s where Netflix comes in handy. What’s something on your bucket list? Doing the TEDx Talk at Emory this year was a bucket list item. I’d love to go back to South Africa for a period of

time and fundraise and do some good. The need is so great. In South Africa, you are faced with your privilege. I’d love the luxury of being more philanthropic. Have any daily rituals? I give my daughters a motivational quote every day. It drives them crazy, but I think they’d miss it if I didn’t do it anymore. n

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 


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Jessica Dauler

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November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

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oliday traditions bond families and make the season all the more special, whether it’s baking cookies together using a handeddown recipe, bundling up for a trip to a pop-up stand to pick out the perfect Christmas tree (see related story on page 56) or taking in the numerous events happening around town. You don’t have to go far to get into the festive spirit. Here are five classic area holiday celebrations. t CHRISTMAS WITH THE GEORGIA BOY CHOIR  Dec. 20-21 Christmas with the Georgia Boy Choir is a melodious celebration of the season held at the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Buckhead and performed by all five

Sue Rodman

levels of the choir. To make things extra special, a full orchestra and the church’s Mander pipe organ accompany the boys as they sing classic Christmas carols and other holiday favorites. Be sure to arrive early, as this event always has a packed house. Tickets range from $15 to $40. events/christmas20

MACY'S PINK PIG  Nov. 2-Jan. 5 What started as a children’s ride through the downtown Rich’s department store has turned into an iconic Atlanta tradition. Since 1953, Atlanta families have been riding Priscilla the Pink Pig as part of their annual holiday celebration. But instead of traveling around Rich’s, Priscilla now meanders through a tented storybook outside the Macy's department store at Lenox Square. Proceeds from rides and merchandise go toward Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Go early in the season to beat long lines. Tickets are $3 per ride, with discounts available for multi-ride tickets (two rides for $5.50, three for $7.50). macys-pink-pig



November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead


Sandy Springs kicks off its third annual Sparkle Sandy Springs event at City Green Dec. 8. Opening night includes a Christmas tree and menorah lighting, a holiday light and art display, music performances, food trucks, hot chocolate and more. Throughout the rest of the month, the City Green remains adorned with 6-foot-tall wooden houses painted in festive themes, and the houses and surrounding area are decorated with lights to create a magical display visitors can stroll through. Best of all, admission is free. sparklesandysprings


The Atlanta History Center welcomes guests for two very special evenings. Shop the lively Holiday Market filled with local crafts and artisan creations, or have the kids make their own crafts to take home. Then visit the three historic houses on-site, each handsomely dressed in period holiday finery, to experience how Southerners celebrated Christmas during the Civil War era (Smith Family Farm), the 1930s (Swan House) and the pioneer days (Wood Family Cabin). Timeless holiday music fills the air, and costumed interpreters bring characters from the pages of history to life. Tickets are $20 for non-members, $15 for members and $10 for children. programs/candlelight-nights-9 

HOLIDAY TEA AT THE WHITLEY Dec. 7, 14, 21 and 22

On the weekends leading up to Christmas, bring the kids to The Whitley hotel in Buckhead for Holiday Tea with Santa. In addition to pots of tea, enjoy specialty finger sandwiches and pastries. Youngsters can decorate cookies and gingerbread houses, while the adults enjoy the Champagne Sparkle Bar. Tickets are $55 for adults, $40 for children.



Jason and LIndsey Palangio’s formal living room is a perfect blend of old and new.


Domestic Dwelling P32

Photo: Sara Hanna

“My mom was a designer, so I know what I want, but it’s in the execution and overall implementation of those ideas that I need help.” — Lindsey Palangio November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 




The family room features custom window treatments, chairs recovered in a peacock patterned fabric and sofas upholstered in outdoor textiles to ensure maximum durability.

With help from a designer friend, a couple updates a 1940s home to meet family needs STORY:

Jason, Cecilia and Lindsey Palangio love to host friends and family at their revamped home.


indsey and Jason Palangio loved their Buckhead neighborhood, but their home needed tweaking. Lindsey bought the brick residence in 2009 when she was single. But after she and Jason got married in 2014 and started talking family, they began noticing the floor plan’s shortcomings. “The house had revolving owners and I couldn’t figure out why until after I was planning to have a child. It just wasn’t family-friendly,” says Lindsey. The front door entry was cramped, the


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

Giannina S. Bedford   PHOTOS: Sara Hanna

upstairs guestroom was overly large and the third bedroom was technically a “tiny office” rather than a comfortable guest suite. So in 2015, when the Palangios were almost five months pregnant with daughter Cecilia, they undertook “an extreme nesting project.” They added at least 1,000 square feet to the front of the house, creating a grand foyer and expanded guestroom with a bath. They split the large upstairs guest bedroom into two rooms, taking the house from three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms to four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms and almost 4,000 square feet. Jigsaw Renovations completed the project in four-and-a-half months, just two weeks before baby Cecilia arrived. In 2016, the Palangios launched another renovation in the backyard. They ripped up the hardscape and tackled retaining walls, drainage and Georgia red clay to create a

two-tiered lawn for Cecilia to play in and a putting green for Jason. “The backyard renovation was actually a bigger deal than we thought,” says Jason, an enterprise software sales executive. Through all the demolition and decoration, interior designer Lauren Davenport Imber of Davenport Designs—Lindsey’s best friend for more than 25 years and Cecilia’s godmother— was a trusted advisor. “My mom was a designer, so I know what I want, but it’s in the execution and overall implementation of those ideas that I need help,” says Lindsey. “Lauren has been by my side through all of it, helping with resources, being a springboard for ideas and offering guidance in her very diplomatic way.” While the home needed a revamp to fit family needs, it had always been a great place to entertain, something the homeowners do often. The favorite gathering spot is the

Right and above: The dining room features several eye-catching pieces, but the most talked about is the stuffed peacock. Below: With a high ceiling leading to a skylight, the kitchen offers an abundance of natural light.

“I have a lot of different kinds of art. My parents are big collectors, so through the years I’ve collected some of their stuff.” –Lindsey Palangio

it’s become one of the most popular pieces in the home. “At parties, you often find people taking selfies with the peacock,” says Lauren. When it’s just the Palangios at home, the center of daily activity is the open kitchen, with its butcher-block-topped island, granite countertops and travertine backsplash. Lindsey cooks gourmet meals while watching Cecilia do arts and crafts on the round dining table. Many of Cecilia’s creations are displayed in the adjoining living room, a kid-friendly space with furnishings covered in Crypton and Sunbrella fabrics for easy cleaning. The room also features family photographs strewn across an antique table Lindsey purchased


spacious porch done in furnishings from Winston, Frontgate and Dash & Albert. “The porch is where we spend all our time. We think of it as more of an outdoor living room. We’ll have dinner out there; we’ll have friends over,” says Jason. “When we have parties, it’s where everyone goes.” This new porch feeds into the original, now an enclosed sunroom-meets-bar. The cozy hangout links the outdoors to the formal living room, which is home to a Darrell Nettles artwork purchased in the 1970s by Lindsey’s parents. “I have a lot of different kinds of art. My parents are big collectors, so through the years I’ve collected some of their stuff, and through trips and visits to Scott [Antique Markets] I’ve picked up some good pieces,” says Lindsey. The dining room showcases another piece from Lindsey’s parents’ collection: a close-up of a honeycomb. It hung in her father’s office for more than 30 years and is particularly sentimental since he passed away several years ago. The dining room’s head-turner, however, is the stuffed peacock overlooking the wood table from Englishman’s Fine Furnishings. Lindsey purchased the bird at an estate sale, and

at an auction in Nantucket, where she has spent every summer since she was 3. More of Cecilia’s masterpieces are in the upstairs hallway leading into her bedroom, which features a pink cowhide rug from Pieces, window treatments in pink and green Manuel Canovas fabric and a custom L-shaped headboard that cushions the wall and prevents toys from falling behind the bed. “That headboard was all Lauren’s creation,” says Lindsey. Down the hall, the master bedroom has a muted palette of white, beige and gray with a quaint window-side reading nook and a sitting area anchored by a coffee table

A major part of the renovation included expanding the foyer to create a more grand entryway.

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



Above: The family uses the porch as an outdoor living space and hub for entertaining.

Right: The sunroom provides a cozy sitting area next to the bar.

Left: A focal point in the master bedroom is the coffee table made from a vintage Louis Vuitton trunk. Below: The headboard in Cecilia’s room was custommade to cushion the wall and prevent toys from falling behind the bed.

created from a vintage Louis Vuitton trunk that belonged to Lindsey’s parents. “It’s a statement piece that a few friends covet, and if it ever goes missing, I know exactly where to look,” jokes Lindsey. The Palangios would eventually like to overhaul their master bathroom, among other possible future projects, but they’re taking a break from the heavy lifting of another renovation and relishing the latest iteration of their ’40s-era home. It took some rearranging, but the Palangio residence is now an ideal fit for their family. n


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

DESIGNER LAUREN DAVENPORT IMBER’S 3 TIPS FOR CREATING A STYLISH YET KID-FRIENDLY FAMILY ROOM 1. Performance fabrics. I have so many clients with small children and pets, and I always recommend these fabric options for the upholstery. They make cleanup after accidental spills or muddy paws a breeze. There are so many wonderful options for performance fabrics that feel like a traditional linen, velvet or chenille, but most people don’t realize they’re performance fabrics. 2. Custom window treatments. When clients ask me what pieces you can place in a room that instantly transform the space, I always mention custom window treatments. So often ready-made window treatments are a standard width that’s too small for most windows. Having custom treatments allows for a finished look. 3. Lighting. Most family rooms are used throughout the day, and your lighting needs will differ from day to night. Use a combination of table lamps and overhead lighting. I make sure all lamps are three-way switched, and all overhead lighting is on a dimmer so you can adjust the light level for your needs.

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November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 




Giannina S. Bedford Wendy Shannon puts together customized bars and bar carts for her drink-happy clients.

Add Old-School Bravado to Your Bar E

ntertain much? Then you need to know about HipStir Vintage Barware & Glassware, a newly formed company that sells refurbished antique barware and curates vintage-style bar carts and bars for clients. Here, company founder and former Southern Living magazine staffer Wendy Shannon, who lives in Buckhead, tells us more about her new endeavor.

2017. His business entertains a lot, and my goal was to have all of the essentials for his staff or a skilled bartender to serve drinks. When I found a cool midcentury bar cart, I went with a style that required authentic midcentury pieces. I loved the whole aspect of finding and mixing old and new barware for a custom bar. It just made sense as a new business. Where do you find your vintage barware?

How did the idea for HipStir Vintage come about?

My husband, Tim, asked me to pull together a bar cart for his hip, new industrial office space in Nashville in

I hand-select each and every piece from all sorts of sources, including online, estate sales, antiquing and thrift stores. I’ll even buy from friends

who want their grandmother’s or their parents’ vintage barware to have a new home. What do you consider essential elements of a HipStir bar?

They are, of course, all of the basic liquors, mixers and special accoutrements. But what makes it special is talking with the client about how they entertain and if they have special drinks they like to serve. Plus, there are the personal touches that make it a thematic bar, whether it’s modern, traditional, transitional or midcentury. The personal attention to those details and the history of each piece are always shared with my clients. All those vintage pieces have a story and it’s wonderful to pass them along. It makes for great stories when you’re using your HipStir Vintage bar with family and friends. n HipStir Vintage Barware & Glassware


n Baker Interiors Group recently reopened its Atlanta showroom after a massive renovation. The newly unveiled space at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) clocks in


at 10,868 square feet, more than enough real estate to showcase a selection of furniture, textiles and design solutions from legacy brands Baker and McGuire, as well as designers such as Thomas Pheasant, Laura Kirar, Jonathan Browning and many more.

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

n Engel & Völkers Buckhead Atlanta owner and CEO Shirley Gary has been named to the 14th annual The Thousand List of America’s top 1,000 real estate sales professionals and teams. Gary was honored in the “Individual Agent-Sales

Volume” and “Individual Agent-Transaction Sides” categories. Gary is no stranger to accolades—last year she was honored internationally by Engel & Völkers as the highest-ranked real estate advisor for selling the greatest number of homes annually worldwide. Gary, who is also the owner and CEO of Engel & Völkers Atlanta North Fulton, has worked in real estate and new construction sales management through-



Lamps infuse an understated design statement that cannot be overlooked. As the weather cools, a lamp refresh for those evenings spent indoors might be just what you need. This antique brass arched lamp with a white marble foundation features a rectangular shade in ivory linen, making it a simple yet elegant choice. Available for $870 at Pieces in Buckhead.

out metro Atlanta for more than 30 years.

n It’s wreath season, and Pike Nurseries is offering to teach you how to make your own through its “Make & Take: Williamsburg Wreath” workshop on Nov. 30. The event takes place at all of its Atlanta stores, including the two locations in Buckhead. Inspired by Colonial Williamsburg, the DIY wreath you’ll

construct is a holiday classic adorned with real fruit and nuts. The event begins at 9 a.m. and is $35 per person, which includes all supplies. Attendees must pre-register at

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



Talk about your process. If the house is occupied, I go room by room [with the owner] and talk about everything that needs to be done to get the most money for the property—whether that’s packing up things, clearing surfaces, moving artwork around, storing things in pods or a storage unit, repainting walls or removing taste-specific items. If the house is vacant, I’ll bring in furniture to really create that emotional connection with the homebuyer.

When staging a home, Stephanie Jacobs fills its spaces with tastefully appointed furniture in a way that allows the architectural details to shine.

What are the most common mistakes people make when staging a home on their own? Not de-personalizing it. If your toiletries are out, there are tons of family photos around and you’re not de-personalizing it, then how is the prospective homeowner supposed to make a personal connection with the home? Why is staging a vacant home so vital? I’m a big believer in having furniture in your home because it helps lay out the floor plan. And it helps potential homebuyers actually envision themselves in the home. If you see a vacant home, you can’t figure out what the floor plan is supposed to be, what the flow is. It doesn’t show off the architectural details. A vacant home is really hard to imagine yourself in, and when you stage a home, you have a 73% chance of getting more foot traffic, getting your home sold quicker and for more money.



andy Springs resident Stephanie Jacobs always had an eye for design but hit a couple of detours before launching her home staging company, Staged by Stephanie. She started at the University of Georgia as an interior design major but didn’t love the nitty-gritty (read: graph paper) of interior design and instead became an art educator. “I taught for seven years in Cobb County schools,


and after my first child, I quit teaching because I had like 800 students and a $100 budget,” she quips. Jacobs still carried a torch for design, though, and after listing her own home, she realized she had a knack for home staging. Here, Jacobs shares the scoop on the process, along with a few tips. Why should owners stage their home when it’s on the market?

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

We’re living in a social media world, and one of the largest markets right now is millennials, who are looking at pictures first before ever stepping foot in a home. So you really want to have a house picture-perfect before placing it on the market. I compare it to online dating. You want people to look at the photos. You want them to love it, heart it and like it. You don’t want them to swipe to the next photo.

Besides the furniture itself, what other details are important in staging a home? It’s really kind of a science. Home stagers are using colors that have great connotations, such as blue and green. Oftentimes people see red and they have a negative reaction, because to most people, red means anger or fire, whereas with greens and blues, you’re thinking open spaces. So home stagers aren’t just putting furniture in a home to fill it up; they’re actually using science and psychological responses to create that emotional connection by placing furniture in the right spot so the home feels open and shows off [features such as high] ceilings and picture windows. n



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SKIN OF CULTURE AND HAIR (SOCAH) CENTER Today’s advanced hair transplantation methods provide results that are natural. Dr. Nikki Hill offers several hair transplant surgeries such as FUE, FUT, facial hair transplant, and transgender hair transformation services. Dr. Hill also focuses on creating medical treatments for those early in the hair loss process for prevention. 2296 Henderson Mill Rd Suite 300 Atlanta, Ga 30345 404.474.2301  l

TAVERNA PLAKA Taverna Plaka , Neighborhood of the Gods, is a restaurant and bar with Entertainment, dancing and music! It’s a place to gather with friends and family to eat, drink, converse, laugh, dance and party. Our Taverna accommodates larger parties and private dining events in our front and back rooms, as well as our covered patio.


Open Sunday – Thursday 5-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 5-2:30 am

Yeargan & Kent LLC is a high profile Georgia criminal defense firm consisting exclusively of former state prosecutors and military veterans. If you are facing DUI, drug, traffic tickets, or other criminal charges, you definitely want to call them to ensure the best outcome for your case. They’re the best!

2196 Cheshire Bridge Rd., Atlanta, GA 30324 404.636.2284  l

1170 Peachtree Street, Ste. 1200, Atlanta, GA 30309 404.467.1747  l

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 


Nyssa’s Nods



ARTISAN BEAUTE The Biologique Recherche “Champagne” Facial

Cynthia Porche knows design! With knowledge of market trends in design and construction, and vast resources at her fingertips, Cynthia will create a custom design for your space, transforming it into a casually elegant, graciously comfortable retreat. Cynthia is sought-after for her discerning eye for each client’s individual taste, vision and lifestyle.

This cult-favorite treatment is the perfect transition to Fall and Winter. Using no alcohol, the cold, bubbling, oxygenating, and revitalizing VIPO2 booster preps the skin with manual and manipulative massage movements as the BR Oxygenating Complex, Algae and Dandelion extracts penetrate to detoxify the skin. With brightening, anti-pollution, and antioxidant properties, it fights the pigmentation and free radical damage from all the fun in the summer sun.

Design consultations by appointment. 770.837.0185  l

3150 Roswell Road, Ste. B-1, Atlanta, GA 30305 770.637.2919  l


MASSAGE INFINITY – BUCKHEAD ATLANTA l  2-Person Foot Reflexology – 1 Hour for $60 l  2-Person Full Body Swedish Massage – 1 Hour session $100 l  Room available for Parties or Birthdays l  Colon Hydrotherapy: We use medical grade Colonic Holistic tables approved by the FDA, and used in hospitals across the USA and in 35 countries around the world l  2 Sessions special on Colonics is $100 3242 Peachtree Road NE, Suite B, Atlanta, GA 30305 470.989.5375 / 470.989.5373  l


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

GEORGIA PEACH MOVERS We are “GEORGIA” Peach Movers, a 5-star moving company on a mission to exceed every client’s expectations by providing the best moving experience. We also give back by donating a meal to a food insecure family after every move. l  Mention this ad for $50 off your next move. 404.304.4182  l Connect with us on IG @georgiapeachmovers

FA S H ION | B E AU T Y | W E L L N E S S | TA S T E M A K E R



Fall’s Funky Fashions P46

There’s nothing like a little Dolce & Gabbana to make you stand out from the crowd.

From belted leather jumpsuits to bejeweled cotton cargo jackets, it’s clear that boring and predictable aren’t going to cut it this season.

Photo: Sara Hanna

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 




Sara Hanna



WARDROBE: Courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue MODELS: Simone Aptekman, Sarah Woods MAKEUP: Michaela David  |  HAIR: Olivia Haynie PHOTO ASSISTANT: Kelly Lane

Shot on location at the No18 co-working space in Buckhead


ith its curated gallery walls, vintage furnishings and overall eclectic vibe, the new No18 members-only co-working space at The Shops Buckhead proved the perfect backdrop for us to show off some of fall’s most fun and avant-garde fashions. From belted leather jumpsuits to bejeweled cotton cargo jackets, it’s clear that boring and predictable aren’t going to cut it this season. So long tired turtlenecks!

Left: Alice + Olivia Velvet Jacket ($485), Alice + Olivia Velvet Pant ($285), Commando Faux Leather Sleeveless Bodysuit ($98) and Christian Louboutin So Kate Camo Ankle Boots ($1,095), available at Saks Fifth Avenue; earrings, stylist’s own. Right: Parker Billy Metallic Floral Draped Top ($188), Alice + Olivia Dylan High-Waist Wide-Leg Pants ($330) and Paris France Croc-Embossed Leather Ankle Boots ($585), available at Saks Fifth Avenue; earrings, stylist’s own.


Left: Proenza Schouler Ribbed Harness Midi Dress ($1,990), available at Saks Fifth Avenue; earrings and boots, stylist’s own. Right: Celine Leather Jumpsuit ($5,500) and Celine Paris Edwige Metalized Lambskin Pumps ($990), available at Saks Fifth Avenue; earrings and ring, stylist’s own.

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 




November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

Left: Dolce & Gabbana Cotton Embroidered Logo Patch Jacket ($2,895), Dolce & Gabbana Leopard-Print Pleated Maxi Skirt ($1,995) and Fendi Patent Neoprene Ankle Boots ($1,150), available at Saks Fifth Avenue; bracelets and earrings, stylist’s own. Right: Stella McCartney Bird & Bug Wool Blazer ($2,460), Stella McCartney Pinstripe Pull-On Trousers ($750), Commando Faux Leather Sleeveless Bodysuit ($98) and 3.1 Phillip Lim Hayett Faux Pearl Leather Lug Sole Boots ($750), available at Saks Fifth Avenue; earrings, stylist’s own.

B E AU TY Philips Norelco Multigroom 7000 ($59.99) Who says you can’t have it all? This efficient, all-in-one trimmer for face, head and body comes in a 23-piece set that includes six hair-trimming guards, two stubbletrimming guards, three beard guards, an eyebrow guard and more. With the company’s new DualCut technology, there are twice as many steel blades, and as you use it, the blades self-sharpen as they brush against each other, for longevity. We also love that it stands up on its own, economizing on valuable counter space.

The Brush Crush Heated Straightening Brush ($145) In the spirit of simplifying, this handy two-in-one tool combines the heat of a flat iron with the shape and structure of a paddle brush for fast and easy styling. Simply detangle dry hair, spritz on some heat protectant spray (The Brush Crush heats up to 450°F, though you can dial it down) and brush your hair with the heated tool. One pass per strand will usually get you a sleek look without losing your hair’s natural body. The brand also offers a mini version ($59) that’s perfect for travel and shorter styles.

Bed Bath & Beyond 1 Buckhead Loop N.E. Atlanta 30326 404.869.0457


Drybar 102 West Paces Ferry Rd. N.W. Atlanta 30305 404.382.5310


EVENT Rahua Defining Hair Spray ($37) If you love the hold of hairspray but hate all the chemical-laden formulations out there, this could be your perfect fix. This 98% natural version uses mostly plant-based ingredients (think organic sugarcane, green tea and lavender essential oil) and offers a firm yet flexible hold that’s designed to last all day.



Jennifer Bradley Franklin

air comes in all sorts of shapes, styles, colors and textures, but we all want to keep it looking its best. Here are some of our favorite products for helping make sure your tresses look top-notch this season. n

Aillea 3796 Roswell Rd. Atlanta 30342 470.427.3992

BioSilk Silk Therapy Thermal Shield ($16.50) If you’re using heated styling tools such as flat irons and curling irons, consider also using this protectant spray to mitigate the inevitable damage. This made-in-the-U.S. formula is infused with hydrolyzed silk that both protects and adds shine to your hair. Ulta Beauty 3495 Buckhead Loop N.E. Atlanta 30326 404.266.3559

Virtue Create 6-in-1 Styler ($32) An ultra-specialized product for every beauty goal can leave our bathroom drawers overflowing. That’s why we love this universal styling cream that does just about everything. It primes, hydrates, adds shine, texturizes and protects with ingredients including antioxidant-rich cypress, strengthening keratin and vitamin B for softness. Plus, everything from this Bluemercury feel-good brand is void of 37 West Paces parabens, phthalates, colors, Ferry Rd. N.W. dyes and sulfates.

Atlanta 30305 404.467.9100


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

NatureLab Tokyo Perfect Smooth Shampoo + Conditioner ($14 each) As Asian beauty trends are taking the American market by storm, we couldn’t help but take notice of this cruelty-free shampoo and conditioner set. Infused with yuzu ceramide (to detangle frizz), argan stem cells (to stimulate follicles for optimal Urban Outfitters growth) and protein-rich 3393 Peachtree Rd. N.E. quinoa (for hair strength), Atlanta 30326 the pair gave us softer 404.264.8849 texture after just one use.

A new way of life is emerging in the North Carolina Mountains. It’s a lifestyle that is changing the way people live and play around the world. And Old Edwards is bringing it to the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau in North Carolina. Amid pristine national forestland and fertile valleys, a generational wellness community is coming to life with experiences as rich and storied as the land itself. A private community with abundant recreation amenities and organic community gardens.

Call 833.904.0433 for a Site Tour Today | |

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 






few years ago, several members of the Simply Buckhead team visited area spas to try out some of the latest services being offered. We recently sent two regular contributors, plus our publisher, back out there to test three unusual treatments you may not have heard much about and report back on their experiences. Here are their findings.

Joanne Hayes

Mashing ($125) WHERE: Body Awareness Studio

Sara Hanna

Sara Hanna



Jennifer Bradley Franklin


hydration therapy (starts at $69) WHERE: Vida-Flo Brookhaven THE EXPERIENCE: I’m usually a needle-phobe, but

in this season of travel, events and all manner of sickness-inducing bugs seemingly lurking on every surface, I decided to give IV therapy a try. I shouldn’t have worried about the needle stick, since the staff at Vida-Flo goes out of its way to make the experience comfortable. I settled into a private room with a cozy leather recliner, and a nurse took a brief health history (you don’t need a doctor’s referral to use their services). Since I’d been on multiple flights in the last month, we settled on 1000ml of fluids and the Vida-Glow, which includes the youthboosting antioxidant glutathione, vitamin C for skin health and immunity, and zinc, known for fighting colds. I also added a B-complex for a healthy energy boost and system-calming magnesium. The minor discomfort of the needle prick only lasted a moment, and I reclined for about half an hour to let the intense hydration work its magic. This treatment would be a great pick-me-up before or after intense physical Vida-Flo activity (think a long run), Town Brookhaven when you’re feeling under 205 Town Blvd. the weather or before a Atlanta 30319 special event to boost 404.500.1831 your skin’s radiance.


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

THE EXPERIENCE: Mashing, also known as Thai MASHiatsu or Ki-Hara, is a form of body work that treats muscles by compressing them using mostly the practitioner’s feet. The blend of Thai massage and foot shiatsu, along with breathing techniques, warms the body and flushes it, encouraging blood flow and allowing muscles to stretch more effectively. It’s similar to what’s been practiced in the East for generations. The deep, intense work creates changes in the body during the session and has lasting

effects, while saving the practitioner’s arms and hands from the rigors of traditional massage work. I arrived with neck pain and my usual stress points, but the next morning, the knots were gone. The combination of mashing and stretching that Body Awareness owner Leslie Clayton Body Awareness Studio recommended for 5549 Roswell Rd. our session was Atlanta 30342 definitely healing 678.647.9366 for me.

THE EXPERIENCE: Through a series of TESTER: Nicole Letts 15-minute sessions, Prism Light Pod TRIED: Prism Light Pod Therapy ($45) Therapy is known to accelerate athWHERE: Southern Stem Cell Institute letic recovery, manage chronic pain, alleviate joint pressure, tone the body and improve skin conditions. Participants select their primary need and set the pod accordingly. Since I had worked out the night before my session, I decided on the sports recovery setting. After undressing (barring undergarments), I put on the protective goggles, scooted into the pod and pulled the lid down towards my face. (If you don’t like enclosed spaces, this isn’t the treatment for you.) Once the process begins, the cocoon illuminates with more 14,000 red LED lights. It’s warm in the pod, but a fan runs throughout the treatment to help circulate air and keep participants comfortable. Two to three sessions per week are recommended, which explains Southern Stem Cell Institute why I didn’t notice any major immediate results, but I nonetheless 240 Pharr Rd. N.E. enjoyed being enveloped in a warm, light-filled hug and being alone Atlanta 30305 with my thoughts for 15 minutes—a rare luxury these days!—and 678.568.2309 would love to try more sessions to get the full effect. ssci.6

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



BIG JOHN’S TREE-BUYING TIPS Buy fresh. The tree should look healthy and smell fresh. Make sure that an abundance of green needles don’t fall from the tree when shaken. Break a needle to test for freshness; it should snap like a fresh carrot. Hydrate. Never let your tree go thirsty. Most people have small water reservoirs for their trees, and a tree will drink 65% of its water in the first week. For every inch of diameter, a tree will use a quart of water per day. Chill out. A tree from the mountains is not going to thrive in a heated room or with direct sunlight or a vent blasting it. It’s better to keep the room cooler if you want your tree to last. Think of it like a hardier version of fresh-cut flowers.

Big John’s Christmas Trees, now lead by Jimbo Livaditis (above), has been a family-run local business for 70 years.

A Yuletide


Jimbo Livaditis leads Big John’s Christmas Trees into its 70th year STORY:


Ginger Strejcek

ack in 1949, a decade before Lenox Square dazzled shoppers and the Perimeter encircled the city, an enterprising gentleman named John Livaditis turned a winter slump into a holiday boon by selling Christmas trees in the parking lot of his new Zesto ice cream franchise on Peachtree Road. This year, Big John’s Christmas Trees rings in its 70th anniversary as a family-owned and oper-


ated business, with John’s son, Jimbo, at the helm. He’s joined by his wife, Leigh Ann, their three children and others, as Big John’s has branched out to nine Atlanta locations, from Buckhead and Brookhaven to the suburban outskirts beyond. “People love the nostalgia that surrounds the trip to choose the Christmas tree. Coming back with kids and grandkids creates fond memories of simpler times,” says Livaditis, who started working for his father in eighth grade and took on a full-time

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

role after college graduation in 1980. “We love our lifelong customers and are always thrilled when we meet a first-timer. Our goal is to be their go-to holiday tradition.” When it’s time to deck the halls, the faithful flock to Big John’s to find the perfect tree, handpicked from topnotch growers around the U.S. and Canada. Along with the firs, spruces and pines, the ornamental offerings include custom wreaths, swags and mailbox huggies. Tree lighting services and delivery are also available. “We’ve done some spectacular trees in homes and businesses,” says Jimbo. “Installing Elton John’s tree myself was definitely a memorable one!” Sir Elton hasn’t been their only celebrity client. “Steve Martin rode up on a bicycle years ago,” says Jimbo, who has also provided evergreens for Catherine O’Hara, Steve Harvey and stars from The Walking Dead. What has made Big John’s relevant for so long? We still have the best trees. We visit

our growers, some of whom we’ve bought from for close to 50 years, to ensure the best selection. We also pride ourselves on our customer service, and our returning employees help make everything special. How have things changed over the years? We’ve gone from using Zesto parking lots to regular locations that span metro Atlanta from as far as Cumming and Johns Creek, west to Roswell and Marietta, down to Dunwoody, Vinings, Buckhead, Brookhaven and Ansley Mall. Has anything stayed the same? My family works the business, just as I did with my dad and brother. Our oldest son, John, has traveled with me to pick out trees since he was 6. We’ve been concierge-level personal shoppers for Christmas trees for three generations. n


We invite you to see the difference

Roswell 955 Canton Street Roswell, GA 30075 770.998.0440

Buckhead 3500 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326 404.254.1899

10 VALLEY ROAD NW | $4,495,000 | TRAVIS REED | 404-617-1770

3221 W ANDREWS DRIVE NW | $2,275,000 | TRAVIS REED | 404-617-1770

483 E WESLEY ROAD NE | $1,395,000 | TRAVIS REED | 404-617-1770

find out more at

don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook at: @HNREALTORS


532 East Paces Ferry Road | Suite 300 | Atlanta, GA 30305 | 404-504-7300 The above information is believed to be accurate but is not warranted. Offer subject to errors, changes, omissions, prior sales and withdrawals without notice.

1890 WEST PACES FERRY ROAD NW | $2,695,000 | TRAVIS REED | 404-617-1770

2627 HOWELL MILL ROAD NW | $1,799,000 | HASAN PASHA | 240-217-0098

721 LONGLEAF DRIVE NE #1 | $1,225,000 | FARLEY SIROCKMAN | 404-723-1172 | TRAVIS REED | 404-617-1770

don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook at: @HNREALTORS


The above information is believed to be accurate but is not warranted. Offer subject to errors, changes, omissions, prior sales and withdrawals without notice.


An Exclusive New Collection from UNOde50 Available at Lenox Square






Carrying a Tune P62

Jonathan Pilkington has had professional choral gigs with major groups like the New York Philharmonic and American Symphony Orchestra.

“A lot of people think either you’re born being able to sing or you’re not. I fully believe that anyone can sing.” —Jonathan Pilkington

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 





onathan Pilkington was born in Georgia on a Wednesday night during church choir rehearsal. While that may seem like a random fact, it marked the beginning of Pilkington’s career in music. “Apparently the church choir was waiting for me,” he laughs. His father’s singing was the soundtrack of his childhood. But it wasn’t until high school that he overcame his shyness and joined the school chorus. Following voice lessons and a bachelor’s degree in music education, Pilkington became interested in vocal pedagogy—the study of voice instruction—despite not connecting to teaching at the time. He moved to New Jersey to study voice instruction at Westminster Choir College. Shortly after completing his degree, he saw an opportunity to move to New York City.


“It was the right thing to do and figure out what to do next,” says Pilkington. “With my choral singing background, I jumped into professional choral gigs, including several with the New York Philharmonic and other major orchestras.” Pilkington performed as a recitalist, an opera singer and an oratorio soloist. One of his most significant accomplishments was performing a solo with the American Symphony Orchestra at Lincoln Center. “I had a lot of great opportunities to work with some of the best conductors in the world,” says Pilkington. “I learned from a lot of singers who were having great careers at the time and about how the classical music business really worked.” After six years in New York, Pilkington came home to Georgia when he

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead


received news of his father’s cancer diagnosis. That’s when he fell back in love with teaching. “A lot of people think either you’re born being able to sing or you’re not. I fully believe that anyone can sing or at least get better at it,” he says. “Through my education, I’ve learned that vocal exercises can help people sing better by strengthening the parts of their voice that are weak.” In 2009, he began teaching in Athens at Piedmont College, where he earned his doctorate in voice performance. Earlier this year, he moved to Atlanta to ramp up his performances and has started giving private voice lessons at The Lovett School and United Music Studios. “I’m trained on mostly classical, but I enjoy teaching people how to sing regardless of the style they like,”

Muriel Vega says the Buckhead resident. As a choir veteran, Pilkington has a few favorites when it comes to the holiday season around Atlanta. He recommends stopping by hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton downtown and The Whitley in Buckhead where he’s often part of a caroling quartet starting at Thanksgiving. He’s also a big fan of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s programming during Christmastime. “I may be biased as I am a staff singer there, but I think the First Presbyterian Church has one of the most beautiful Christmas Eve services in the city,” says Pilkington. n

To learn more about Jonathan Pilkington’s voice lessons and upcoming performance dates, visit





12/7 & 12/21 Music, Giveaways and Treats!





3400 Around Lenox Drive | Atlanta, GA 30326

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



Clay Fisher

Buckhead artist Schuyler Rideout blends an eye for fashion with florals in much of her work. She also specializes in house portraits.

Life-Changing Art


H.M. Cauley

Schuyler Rideout goes back to her roots for her canvas creations


chuyler Rideout grew up in Savannah surrounded by fashion. “My mom and grandmother were both incredibly stylish,” she recalls. “They got [publications] like Women’s Wear Daily with gorgeous spreads of fashion illustration. I fell in love with them.” For years, Rideout, whose actual first name makes her a sixth-generation Martha, believed she’d spend her life creating similarly stunning layouts. She earned an art degree from Washington and Lee University in Virginia only to learn jobs in that field were more than difficult to find. In 1994, she arrived in Atlanta and began planning special events for Turner Broadcasting. Then she turned 40. “I had a midlife crisis and realized it was time to finally follow my heart,” she says. “If I didn’t do art then, I wouldn’t have the chance.” In 2009, Rideout quit her job at


Turner and headed to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York where she “lived and breathed” fashion. But she knew she’d get back to Atlanta. “I had a network here, and I knew there were lots of opportunities for emerging artists,” says Rideout. The Buckhead resident has been noticed on the local art scene for combining flowers and clothes. “When I look at a tulip display, I can see how the petals will fall into a couture gown,” she says. “Or I’ll look at succulents and see the texture and shape of an Alexander McQueen collection. I see an organic connection between fashion and flowers. It’s a little bit fantasy but also resonates with people who love both.” About four years ago, Rideout branched beyond fashion into a new niche: doing portraits of houses. It began when a real estate agent asked

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

her to produce a painting of a home to give as a client gift. “What’s really fun is that I can personalize each piece,” she says. “I’ll have a photograph of the owners’ dogs and put them in the yard. I’ll put the family’s name in the bushes or add a flowering dogwood tree if they’re into plants.” The specialized portraits have also found a following among buyers looking for unusual gifts–even if the homeowners are leaving the property. “I’ve done many for parents who are downsizing but want a portrait of their home to pass down to their kids,” she says. But fashion remains her first love. “I have clients who have a wedding gown, a pair of shoes they adore or a purse they want to have one day, and I’ll paint it and incorporate their favorite flowers,” says Rideout. “A lot of women put the art in their closets, so I’m able

to say I really am a closet artist.” Rideout is about to start licensing her work to make it available to a larger audience. “I want to see it on dorm walls as well as in fashionistas’ closets,” she says. “I’m working now with a wholesaler to make some images that have the broadest appeal available to big-box retailers that can make it affordable to any demographic.” When not building an art empire, Rideout can be found fostering kittens, expanding her bourbon collection and being grateful she left the corporate world behind. “I hope I’m an inspiration to others that you can change your trajectory,” she says. “I wanted to be happy, and now I’m happy and creative every day.” n

To see a sample of Schuyler Rideout’s creations, visit

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



The Adventures of PhilAnThropy is available in bookstores and on Amazon.

Veteran fundraiser Del Martin and two co-authors created a kids’ guide to raising and giving money.

STARTING CHARITY EARLY Local authors introduce youngsters to the basics of raising money for a cause


ick just about any social issue and there’s probably a kids’ book about it. From bullying and body image to how not to be wimpy, a selection abounds to give young readers insight on complicated concerns. Yet in that expanse, Del Martin and two of her colleagues found something was missing. The Buckhead resident and professional fundraiser couldn’t find anything that taught kids the importance and value of philanthropy. “I’ve been thinking for years that there were tons of books about volunteerism, but nothing that teaches kids about giving and raising money,” says Martin. “So mostly from frustra-



H.M. Cauley

A KIDS’ GUIDE TO GIVING Here are some tips on starting a philanthropy club from The Adventures of PhilAnThrophy, by Del Martin, Linda Wise McNay and Ailena Parramore. n Think about what you want

to accomplish and why. Is there a neighbor or family friend who has a need? Is there a nonprofit organization that could use volunteers or funds? n Ask a parent or adult to help

you get started. Discuss your goals and what steps you’ll take to accomplish them. n Decide which friends will

be part of the club. Who will lead the meetings? n Decide when and where

you’ll meet. n Once you’ve met your goals,

tion, we wrote this book.” The Adventures of PhilAnThropy fills the niche. Martin tapped into her extensive expertise as director for local fundraising firms and as a consultant, then joined forces with Linda Wise McNay and Ailena Parramore, whose backgrounds include educational and arts fundraising. “We got together on a monthly basis to hammer out a list of ideas, and it took about a year to finish,” says Martin. The 31-page work recounts the story of three kids who hope to raise enough money by selling lemonade to buy things for themselves. But they soon realize the money might be better spent on a lift for the local pool so their wheelchair-bound

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

friend can enjoy the water as well. “They pool their allowances, do extra chores for neighbors, babysit, make cookies and host a bike race,” says Martin. “Then one of the fathers gives them a challenge gift, so they learn about that. At the end, they’ve raised enough money for the lift and to take care of future expenses.” While the story is aimed at kids from second to fourth grades, Martin has found it draws in a range of ages. “I’ve read it to kindergartners and fifth graders, and they all get something out of it.” The authors also added specific suggestions in the back of the book on how youngsters can start a philanthropy club and raise money for

don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments as a team.

a cause. “I don’t think kids are looking for these kinds of ideas; kids are basically born selfish and have to be taught to think about others,” says Martin. “But parents who want to teach their children about philanthropy can use them as a starting point to talk about things they can do for others.” A portion of the book’s proceeds is being donated to children’s charities selected by the authors. So far, both Kids Boost and the Midtown International School have been beneficiaries. n

Simply Buckhead_HALF_HighMuseum_Abloh_November_December2019.indd 1

10/10/19 6:32 PM

Accepting New Patients! Primary Care of Brookhaven is a full-service primary care practice providing the highest quality care possible to families of the Brookhaven and the Atlanta Metro Area. Our board-certified physicians, Dr. Jennifer Burkmar and Dr. Jeffrey Reznik provide care for the whole patient, and offer a full range of family medicine services, including: • Primary Care for Patients of All Ages Including Newborns • Immunizations for Children and Adults • Acute Illness Care & Chronic Disease Management • School & Sport Physicals • Women’s Health Services • Preventative Health Consultations We take pride in serving each patient with personalized attention and care, accept most insurance plans, and offer same day appointments for sick visits.

Jennifer Burkmar, MD, MBA, FAAFP

Jeffrey Reznik, MD, FAAFP

Call 404-365-6500 for an appointment • 4062 Peachtree Road, Suite C Brookhaven, GA 30319 PrimaryC

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



Please contact Michelle Johnson at 404.822.8247 or to book your spot. Space is limited!


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

JULIAN REYNOLDS Renowned makeup artist with over 20 years experience VOTED BEST MAKEUP ARTIST IN ATLANTA.

Come in for a free makeup or skincare consultation. We have the largest selection of medical grade skincare combined with the finest cosmetic brands and a full Spa. REVISION + SKINCEUTICALS + IMAGE SKINCARE + NEOCUTIS + SKINMEDICA ISDIN SKINCARE + KEVYN AUCOIN + MAKE UP FOR EVER + BECCA

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JULIAN’S COSMETICS + SKINCARE 705 Town Blvd Ste. R440 Atlanta, GA 30319




SALADS, SANDWICHES, PIZZA & MORE Take a picture of this ad to receive

DINE IN OR CARRY OUT ORDERS at our Town Brookhaven and Perimeter locations only. OFFER EXPIRES



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Please take a picture of this ad to receive these special offers and discounts at 18/8. These offers may not be combined with any other sales, coupons and/or offers.

BEST HOLIDAY GIF T FOR YOUR MAN 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon - Town Brookhaven 404-481-5368

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 


There are many, but only one is truly Authentic‌


22 Locations in Atlanta



Film and TV production keeps projecting success in Georgia. Preliminary figures released by the Georgia Department of Economic Development in mid-September indicate that 399 filmed productions—from feature films and TV series to commercials and music videos—brought a record $2.9 billion in direct investment to Georgia in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019. Estimates of the total economic impact of movies and TV shows shot in the state approach $10 billion annually. But the industry is more than just numbers and goes far beyond Hollywood celebrities flying in for a few months of filming movies such as Black Panther, The Hunger Games or Baby Driver. It involves both longtime area residents and more recent arrivals who are pursuing all aspects of their film and TV dreams in the Hollywood of the South—some as individuals, others employing dozens in their businesses. Here are eight of them working both in front of and behind the cameras. STORY:

Michael Jacobs   PHOTOS: Sara Hanna

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



Wardrobe: Courtesy of Tootsies (Rag & Bone hat, $275; Theory mock-neck sweater, $255; Smythe jacket, $695; LeSuperbe pants, $425)

WHAT MAKES ATLANTA A GOOD FIT FOR FILM? I think because it’s more affordable. That was a big thing for me. I didn’t want to be living with five roommates for $3,000 a month somewhere [in Los Angeles]. I’m not saying I couldn’t have had a great experience in L.A. and found a great community; I just know that I did find it here.


ebecca Adams is part of the new wave of Atlanta actors— a 25-year-old Florida native who moved north three years ago after graduating from the University of Florida because, if you want to be onscreen, this is the place to be. She had studied acting since she was 12 or 13, spent two summers at the Deborah Lemen Acting Studio in Los Angeles and had experience with some student films and TV commercials for the likes of Dairy Queen and Credit Karma. And she had family in Brookhaven and an agent. “I wanted to try Atlanta because it was gaining momentum. It’s closer to home. It’s more affordable to live here, and my instinct was telling me to do Atlanta first” says the Buckhead resident. While building an on-camera career through auditions and weekly acting classes, she does marketing from home for a dance fashion-


wear company and a legal outsourcing firm. She recently finished shooting a film titled Inheritance, starring Lily Collins and Simon Pegg, that’s currently in post-production. How did you get started in acting?

It was my mom and I Googling and searching. We found some classes and started there. But I was so painfully shy. It was something I wanted to do, but it took a long time for me to gain confidence and really go for it. What’s your career dream?

Everyone has those dreams of being a movie star and winning awards. I honestly think, though, my dream would just be to consistently work and make a living, to be one of those people you look at and you’re like, “I know them from something” because they’re that person who’s in everything.

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

How is the career going?

It has its ups and downs. I went through a patch in 2018 where I was not feeling very good about it. But 2019 has been way better. I’ve been auditioning a lot. I’ve booked a few things, gotten a lot of callbacks, had a lot of getting really close. You have to celebrate the tiny wins. What do you get out of those near misses?

It’s a sense of accomplishment. It’s also bittersweet. But it does help, because this is an industry where you really get no feedback. You could have been the second choice and you would never have known it. What have been the highlights?

I was on an episode of Star on Fox and an episode of Living the Dream on the British network Sky One. Booked a few commercials. Recent-

ly I finished shooting Inheritance, which was a really cool experience. How have you found the film community here?

I think it’s great. Everyone’s very welcoming, open and supportive. Do you see Atlanta as a career destination or a steppingstone?

It can go both ways. More and more, Atlanta actors are getting more seriesregular roles and those recurring guest-star roles. I definitely see myself going to L.A. one day, but right now, I’m very happy where I am. What will define success for you?

I don’t know. I have an acting teacher who talks about this a lot: Every time you reach a level on the rung, you have to work even harder to get to the next one. It’s a constant thing. n




etroit native Matt Philliben, 34, moved to Atlanta almost five years ago when Michigan ended its tax incentives and thus most film production. “This is the hub of all filmmaking,” says the Buckhead resident. “I wanted to be where the action was.” Emphasis on action. You’re as likely to see Philliben using his training in 10 types of martial arts as his degree in film and theater from Western Michigan University in movies such as John Wick: Chapter 3 and TV series such as Chicago P.D.

Did you always want to be an actor and stuntman?

I was always fascinated with films. When I was little, I would watch movies like Point Break and Hooper, movies that had a lot of action, so that enticed me into that realm. Then when I was older, I saw movies like The Godfather, and I wanted to be an actor. It’s just always been my obsession. You have to be really passionate about it to be good at it, especially with how competitive this industry is.

on underneath your wardrobe and you have a line attached to it. The operator of the ratchet presses a button, and the line sucks the performer back to simulate getting hit by something massive. You watch it in the movie, and the robot hits me, and I get flung through fire and into the air. How long can you do stunt work?

There’s a guy named Gene LeBell

who’s in his 80s who’s still doing stunts. I guess it’s how you take care of yourself and your desire to keep doing it. I’m going to be doing this until I’m in a nursing home. What’s your goal?

It’d be nice to be at the top of my game in terms of being a stunt coordinator or being an actor, have bigger roles and just kind of ascend

that totem pole. But ultimately, I just want to keep working and be happy. In this industry, you’re never promised that next role or that next stunt job. You just have to keep working hard and hustling, and hopefully things work out in your favor. n

WHAT MAKES ATLANTA A GOOD FIT FOR FILM? The thing about Atlanta is you’ve got so many different elements and filming locations. You’ve got the country. You’ve got the woods. You’ve got three downtowns essentially. You’ve got the suburbs south and north of the city. You go farther north, and you’ve got the mountains. You’ve got the lakes. So there’s just such a broad spectrum in terms of filming locations. And the people out here really seem to be genuinely excited about all the filming.

Have you ever been close to giving it up?

I can’t say I’d ever quit because I’ve wanted to do it since I was 4 years old. It’s definitely been stressful at times, especially in the beginning. The schedule is pretty hectic. You work 12-, sometimes 20-hour days when you’re on film sets. What’s your edge?

I think it’s the duality of having professional training in acting and also the fact that I’m not afraid to jump off a building and hit the ground hard. It’s kind of that daredevil attitude I have. Do you take different paths to acting and stunt jobs?

You’ll get auditions through a talent agent or something like that for a theatrical role. With stunts, it’s more about submitting your stunt reel or sending in your headshot and résumé. But they do sometimes intersect. I had a role on Chicago P.D. at the beginning of this year, and they brought me back to double one of the actors. What’s a stunt you’re proud of?

In Transformers: The Last Knight, I got swatted by Optimus Prime. I was on a big stage and did a ratchet, which is where you have a harness

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 


COV E R S TO RY WHAT MAKES ATLANTA A GOOD FIT FOR FILM? The different locations around the state and even in Atlanta are pretty extraordinary. There’s such a diverse base of talent. I think that makes it a great option for people who are looking to be here. Of course, the variety of organizations and their skill sets and abilities to provide some of the services that are really an important part of the film and television industry are pretty amazing. Sort of the fluidity and ease at which one can work and navigate not only the city, but just have access to these different kinds of resources.

focused on film and television. Just through osmosis. Because Atlanta is still growing, and there are so many other different types of industries, those kind of nuanced conversations don’t happen as organically. So we do things that focus on that nuance. For example, we host fireside chats where we bring in producers or directors or owners of production studios to talk to women about the work they’re doing. Why is an organization needed that focuses on women in film and TV?

We are able to be specific to issues that are related to women in the industry—not only being attuned to but being able to advocate for that. The beautiful thing about Atlanta is that this space continues to grow, and so we want to make sure we’re cultivating an environment and culture in which women and the work they do is valued and is also relevant, and that their stories are heard.


What are women looking for at WIFTA?



andy Springs resident Jennifer Long has taken a roundabout route to becoming the executive director of the nonprofit Women in Film and Television Atlanta. A native of Albuquerque, she studied broadcast journalism at Hampton University in Virginia, then got her start in television in Atlanta by doing affiliate sales and marketing with Starz Entertainment and The Weather Channel. She went to Los Angeles, where she worked for MTV Net-


works and NuvoTV, and earned an MBA at Pepperdine before returning to Atlanta 13 years ago. As a young mother, she started working in education, getting nonprofit experience at The Galloway School and the Center for the Advancement and Study of International Education. After taking up voiceover work as a hobby and doing radio, she gravitated to WIFTA. When the position of executive director opened last year, Long says, “It just seemed like a natural fit.”

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

What is WIFTA’s purpose?

Advocating for gender parity is number one. The other thing we focus on is education and professional development, ensuring [women] have lots of opportunities to flourish and grow in the industry. How does it do that?

I like to talk a lot about nuance. One of the things I noticed in Los Angeles was oftentimes you’d get information and content and context just by being in a space that’s

They’re either trying to build their careers or they have established careers and want to get connected in a way that’s more meaningful or that can help take them to the next level. They’re also looking for support. What are your goals for the organization?

I want to ensure we have meaningful programming that’s relevant to what’s happening in the industry here in Atlanta and also relevant to our members. Things that are meaningful to the work they’re doing and will help them expand the work they’re doing. Another obvious goal is we’re always trying to grow our membership and expand the network for women so that there’s a great space for them to be able to engage. And then developing strategic partnerships. n

WHAT MAKES ATLANTA A GOOD FIT FOR FILM? In L.A., film’s been there for so long that it’s taken for granted. There’s a real hunger here. People are excited about film and television. There’s a real entrepreneurial spirit, which I appreciate.


hris LeDoux and Crafty Apes, his visual effects house near Interstate 75 and Northside Drive, are altering what audiences see on TV and movie screens, from creating spaceships for Star Trek: Discovery and filling out crowds in The Hate U Give to moving John Glenn from a warehouse catwalk to a towering platform with an ocean view in Hidden Figures. It’s all a long way from Kodiak, Alaska, the 6,000-resident town where LeDoux was born, and not much closer to his original career plan in industrial psychology or the master’s degree he was three credits from earning in indigenous anthropology. But a knack with computers and photography, combined with a doctored résumé, got him a job making local TV commercials with an agency in Fairbanks. That led to an opportunity doing visual effects (VFX) on the movie Sin City in San Francisco. He took his trade to Los Angeles in 2005, opened Crafty Apes with his brother Tim in 2011, then expanded in 2014


to Atlanta, where his 60-person staff includes two more brothers, David and Mark. Now LeDoux is taking on producing and directing, including the CW series Pandora. How was your start in VFX?

My first job in San Francisco definitely was the most humbling experience in my life. I never felt so dumb or slow. I just stayed at work for months on end and opened up other people’s work and reverse-engineered everything and taught myself. It took me a month to finish my first shot on Sin City. I’m kind of surprised they didn’t fire me because now I could do that shot in three hours. How are visual effects used now?

They’re everywhere. We had one movie where they needed this actress to say a line, and they didn’t get it in shooting. I realized my producer had the same lip shape as the actress, so we filmed her saying the line and composited that part of her face onto the actress and grafted it, and it looks seamless.

Why did you start your own VFX business?

Why did Crafty Apes come to Atlanta?

I was burned out. The last job I did for another company, I was a supervisor in charge of this big train crash sequence on Super 8. It was one of the coolest things I ever worked on, but I didn’t go home for three months. If I’m going to stay away from my wife and not see my kids, there’d better be a pot of gold at the end. And all the companies except for the one I was at before this went out of business. Why is the business so hard?

If you’re building a house, for example, it’s pretty obvious when it’s done. In visual effects, it’s only complete when the director or the studio says “final.” So if you’re going round and round trying to hit a vision in someone’s head they can’t exactly describe to you, you can go on forever. It happens to a lot of companies where you’re working on these big, expensive movies, and you could be on version 700 of something, but it wasn’t necessarily bid for that.

We had one client for a long time, and it was Lionsgate, specifically with Tyler Perry. So I came out here a few times, and I could see the place was blowing up for film and television, but there weren’t any bona fide visual effects companies. Is it a natural progression from visual effects to directing?

In a lot of ways, yeah. If you’re doing visual effects, you have to understand a lot of other departments on set. We’re not re-creating reality; we’re re-creating what a camera sees in reality. You worked with Industrial Light & Magic’s Dennis Muren on Super 8. How did that affect how you run Crafty Apes?

No matter how much success we encounter, I still remind myself to look at it with this sense of magic and wonder, the same way he did. I remind myself this is a childhood dream come true whenever I get frustrated. n

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 




uckhead resident Ryan Millsap has more on his mind than the operations of the nine movie soundstages at his Blackhall Studios in southeast Atlanta, where films like Venom and Godzilla have been shot, and a $150 million expansion plan. Five years after moving from L.A. to Atlanta to oversee a local real estate portfolio, Millsap is planning ways to demonstrate the value of the film and TV industry to Georgia officials. One idea is to supply every legislator with a package of biographies of Georgians who work in the industry. “I can help

people understand this isn’t an industry of Californians parachuting in with yellow signs, putting them on street corners, filming and then flying back to L.A.,” says Millsap. Blackhall, named for a road bordering Keble College in Oxford, England, where Millsap rowed and studied philosophy, is growing from 210,000 to 600,000 square feet of soundstages, and from a total of 850,000 square feet under-roof space to more than 1.5 million. “We’ve got a lot of room to expand, which is exciting,” says Millsap. “That’s one of the big

advantages we have over London, Toronto and Vancouver.” His goal is not just to maintain Georgia’s dominant position in production, but to expand into financing, writing and distribution to make the state a complete filmmaking center second in the world to California. His own Blackhall Entertainment is part of that vision. How did you decide to build Blackhall?

A movie studio is really a specialty real estate play. The year I moved here was 2014, the same year

that Pinewood opened, and I was watching what Pinewood was doing, saying, “Why would you build a movie studio in Fayetteville? Is there a reason it needs to be so far outside of town?” I later learned that Dan Cathy was from Fayetteville, and Dan’s the one who put up all the money to build Pinewood. In a really wonderful, beautiful way, he built Pinewood as a gift to his community. So then I started thinking, “What if you built Pinewood in the city?” I started talking to people in L.A., and they’d say, “If you build Pinewood in the city, you’re going to [do great], because the only thing that we hate about Pinewood is driving there.” How’s business?

We’ve only been open two and a half years, but we’ve already done multiple deals with Disney, Sony, Warner Bros. and Lionsgate, and big leases with HBO, Paramount, Legendary and Universal. What do you like about the film industry?



It’s a very fun and sexy industry. There’s no doubt about that. One of the really fun things about these types of jobs, up and down the entire line of production, is that there’s an incredibly high happiness factor. How much joy do you get from seeing finished products shot at Blackhall?

It’s so much fun to see scenes that you watched get filmed. They obviously look different, but it’s still so delightful. I was in those woods; I saw that scene. n

WHAT MAKES ATLANTA A GOOD FIT FOR FILM? While Los Angeles is an amazing, wonderful place to visit, Georgia is for sure a better place to live. It’s a more human-scale life, a more human-speed life. Everything is less expensive. There’s a lot of open space. It’s so hard to find open space in California, other than the ocean. I also think it’s just geographically poised and has all the right infrastructure assets to be a dominant force in the entertainment industry. You can fly everywhere in the world from Atlanta. We have wonderfully moderate weather. We have incredibly diverse landscapes to film on. We have a very accommodating culture that is accepting of outsiders and of the new and innovative.


eborah Riley Draper is a storyteller. The 49-year-old’s skills long benefited consumer brands at advertising agencies, but in early 2010 she vowed beside her mother’s grave to fulfill her filmmaking dreams. Her first feature as a writer-director, the documentary Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution, was “the story of 12 beautiful black [fashion models] who conquered Paris and the Chateau de Versailles” and premiered at the Cannes movie market in 2012. Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, a documentary about the 18 African American athletes who overcame prejudice at home to compete in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, followed four years later. The 16-year Buckhead resident, who has her own production company titled Coffee Bluff Pictures, released her first fictional short, Illegal Rose starring Atlantan Jasmine Guy, this past summer. Her first narrative feature, an adaptation of the novel Coffee Will Make You Black, involving Octavia Spencer and Gabrielle Union, is scheduled to begin preproduction next year. Draper is also one of a group of insiders who recently launched a group called Reel Divas that highlights women of color in the local film and TV industry.

Did you train to be a filmmaker?

I took a class at NYU and a couple of seminars and workshops. But [I dove] feet first. I thought, rightly or wrongly, the commercial production I’d done and my ability to work with brands to tell stories and connect with consumers were a strong foundation. And I was a good storyteller.



How did you approach Versailles ’73?

I literally jumped in. I didn’t have a camera. I didn’t have a clue. Versailles ’73 is about five American designers who take on five French designers [at a historic fashion show outside Paris]. One of the designers was Stephen Burrows. I called Stephen and said, “I’m a filmmaker.” Olympic Pride came next. Do you try to focus on African American stories?

Well, African American stories that have an impact on America, American history and the globe. It’s the universality of it and the impact that are often overlooked. These are stories that seem small but are huge in impact, and the characters are often dismissed. Was that the case with the Berlin Olympics?

I didn’t even know that story. Historically, if you look at most textbooks, you see Jesse Owens. You don’t see the other 17. You certainly don’t know that Tidye Pickett and Louise Stokes were two African American women on the 1932 and 1936 Olympic teams. That was little known in African American history, sports history, global history.

can’t say, but certainly different. Will your company ever produce the work of other filmmakers?

Right now we’re working on just getting my productions out of the way. But I hope to one day. To be able to not just continue to hire more women and people of color but also to enable the dreams of other filmmakers would be great.

How important is it for an African American filmmaker to tell these stories?

Why have you moved from documentaries to narratives?

First, it’s important that these stories are told, period. Second, I think it’s critically important to have the opportunity and the privilege to tell these stories, and I think there is a specific lens I bring to it as an African American woman that’s different from someone else. Better or not, I

I’ve not moved. I’m a filmmaker, and I want to tell stories. Those stories may be features, they may be shorts, they may be documentaries, they may be podcasts. There are so many different formats to explore, so I don’t want to put lines around the types of stories. n

WHAT MAKES ATLANTA A GOOD FIT FOR FILM? I can’t think of any better place in the world to live and work as a filmmaker. Maybe that’s because my support system is so good. Maybe it’s because I can have the beach, the mountains, everything in Georgia within a short driving distance of Atlanta. We have great universities where you can get primary research material. The level of talent that lives in Atlanta is incredible, but also the level of willingness to collaborate and be a community. I’m grateful for the tax incentive, for sure, but I’m grateful for the people. It has to be the friendliest film community in the world.

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 




ason Lockhart tasted success as an actor, from a childhood playing the Tin Man in his Ohio hometown to roles in TV series and films in Los Angeles. He dabbled in writing and directing. And he came to a shocking realization. “I was terrible,” says Lockhart. “So I said, OK, what can I do where I’m not going to suck?” He became an agent. “I’d worn all these other hats,” he says. “I lost my ego, and when I was 28, I just started to help other people.” Now 39, the UNLV graduate moved from L.A. to Buckhead in 2017 to lead the film and television department at the 60-year-old agency Atlanta Models & Talent. Owner Sarah Carpenter

says Lockhart has quadrupled the agency’s film and TV bookings even while paring the acting roster by 40%. What about the film industry has kept you hooked since childhood?

I think everybody has something that they gravitate toward. When I was 4, instead of watching cartoons, I was watching Making Michael Jackson’s Thriller to hear John Landis interviews and see how they put that music video together. I was just really intrigued by cinema, and I always wanted to be on camera. My parents were really supportive of everything my sister and I wanted to do. Now my little nephew, who just

turned 7, he’s got a great role opposite Tom Hanks in the new Mr. Rogers movie because his Uncle Jason got him the audition. How did you become an agent?

There was an agency looking to hire an assistant. I was like, “Look, I’m a straight-A student. I was president of my fraternity in college. I know nothing about this, but I’ll bring a pizza to the job interview.” I show up with a thin-crust veggie from Domino’s. I guess it worked. What do you do as an agent?

I hustle 24/7 for an existing roster of upwards of 500 clients to secure

them opportunities to get paid to act on film and on television. I never just submit the actor; I pitch the actor: “This person is perfect because they’ve worked with this producer, they’ve been on this network, they’ve got three credits playing a similar role.” I’m throwing darts, and I’m aiming for the bull’s-eye every time. What kind of productions are you booking?

My goal is the biggest-paying jobs and the recurring roles that generally have residual income. There are a lot of good agencies in town, a lot of good actors in town that we don’t rep, but it’s not as competitive as it was in L.A. It’s very supportive. Is that because there’s a better balance between opportunities and actors?

That’s part of it. I think there’s also a better quality of life here, so people are genuinely happier. I’m genuinely a happy guy. I think that positivity has an effect on everyone around us, and it’s felt by many, whereas in L.A., there’s kind of a 1% who are successful and a 99% who are struggling. How often do your actors decide they’re ready for Los Angeles?

I’ve seen some actors do that and then come back with their tail between their legs. They were having so much success here, but then they go out there and they’re suddenly faced with 95% more competition. Here, they’re getting 10 auditions a week. There, they get one a month. If you’re chasing fame, go to L.A. If you’re making money here, why leave? n

WHAT MAKES ATLANTA A GOOD FIT FOR FILM? There’s infrastructure here. Now we have studio space. We have rental equipment. We have amazing Southern hospitality when it comes to shooting on location. It’s really easy to get almost anything you need location-wise. And there are a lot of strong actors here now, too. There are acting schools and casting directors. Anything you need is available, and it wasn’t like that 10 years ago. But it is now, so no matter what happens in terms of politics, the infrastructure’s here, money talks, and I think there’s always going to be work.





hay Bentley Griffin could be considered the grandmother of the Georgia film industry. The casting director and CEO of Chez Studios has advocated for production in Atlanta and the rest of the state for more than 30 years. A California native who has lived most of her life in Georgia and has a home and office in Buckhead, she helped persuade Hollywood to shoot TV shows such as In the Heat of the Night and I’ll Fly Away in Georgia with local actors. She nurtured budding talents such as Kyle Chandler, Walton Goggins and Ray McKinnon. She helped launch the Georgia Production Partnership, and with Ric Reitz, Wilbur Fitzgerald and the late Ed Spivia, formed the committee that crafted and won passage of the crucial entertainment tax incentive program while Sonny Perdue was governor. Now, in addition to enjoying her

grandchildren and some farming, Griffin wants to nurture homegrown preproduction and distribution operations while producing an unnamed TV series she’s working on. “How in the world did I end up getting into a business that wasn’t supposed to happen here and have a career that everyone told me I couldn’t have?” says Griffin. “How could one be more blessed than that?” How did you get involved in the film industry?

I opened up a model talent agency. Georgia was sort of in the film industry, so I decided I wanted to learn more about it. I wanted to see if I could help the talent that lived here have a better opportunity at being in those films. I started making trips out to California, always with the attitude that we could save [film and TV production companies] money. When I finally realized that

those were the magical words—“We can save you money”—I moved into being a casting director.

We knew we had something more to offer, what most other states wouldn’t have in the same depth, and that was the fact we had a great crew base here in Georgia. We had an experienced talent pool. We had a community that understood the value of the things we had, and we had the locations and things that would really benefit the filmmakers.

What makes you good at recognizing talent?

I look for things that maybe other people wouldn’t have even thought about. And I not only learned how to identify those people, but how to help them be better. For the series shooting here, if you don’t have the talent, you can’t stay very long. I used to say it’s like a mini movie of the week every week, so they have to keep an ongoing flow of talent.

outside the box.” Well, we realized we weren’t even inside a box to think outside of it. What it ended up being, at the end of the day and after all of our research and efforts, was a tax credit, and we needed it to be substantial enough to compete with every state in the Union.

How did you get the tax credit in Georgia?

I would never be that person who wouldn’t believe it’s possible, but I sure do think it’s improbable. We are way too strong in what we do and what we know and how we function to be easily wiped out, especially if we keep the idea of building the product here ourselves. n

We were starting to see the work leave, and Canada almost took us out. When Governor Perdue went into office, we beat on the door, and he listened to us. He said, “Don’t bring me a tax credit. Think

Has the industry in Georgia grown to where it’s too big to fail?

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



Must-See Georgia Film Festivals A GUIDE FOR MOVIE FANS


or those who have lived in metro Atlanta long enough to witness the Georgia film industry’s rise to international prominence, it has been an astounding evolution to behold. But prior to the friendship forged on the set of the film Deliverance by actor Burt Reynolds and then-public relations director for the Georgia Department of Industry and Trade, Ed Spivia, back in the early ‘70s, the state was perhaps more widely associated with peach picking and the soul-scarring politics of the Civil Rights era than celluloid and celebrity. My, how times have changed. In 2016, some 40 years after Reynolds and Spivia joined forces to place the state on the filmmaking map, Georgia hit a major milestone by eclipsing California in the number of feature films it produced. In 2017, the state proudly touted $9.5 billion in total economic impact thanks to the industry. And in fiscal year 2018, a record 455 film and TV projects were made here. Metaphorically speaking, over the past four decades, the image has transformed from a cockeyed yokel picking the banjo on his front porch to a bellwether for the world’s most profitable and beloved art form. Artistically, however, there’s a ground floor to all this activity that, while far less heralded, is equally critical to the



Neal Howard

industry’s continued success: local film festivals. “We’ve seen incredible growth over the years, especially in the last decade,” says Cal Bowdler, chairman of the board for the Atlanta Film Society, which oversees the annual Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF). “And we have truly become an international film festival, with more than 8,000 submissions from 120 countries, making us one of the most competitive festivals on the planet.” With the 2020 installment marking its 44th year (see official dates at right), the ATLFF has accumulated a respectable résumé. It was the first to play anything shot by thenunknown, now-legendary director Spike Lee. USA Today recently ranked ATLFF on its “10 Best Film Festivals” list, MovieMaker magazine

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

Movie lovers flock to the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival for works that “enrich, provoke, challenge, educate and enlighten.”

dubbed it one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World,” and 30,000 patrons and hundreds of industry professionals now mark it on their calendars as a must-attend event each spring. “The ATLFF is a staple of the Atlanta community, offering a platform for creatives to share their work with the world,” says Bowdler. “And when we say that, we mean it. Atlanta, and our festival, has been inclusive [since] way before it was cool.” Although its name alludes to servicing a slightly more niche appeal, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) is another stellar, highly inclusive affair. “The upcoming 2020 festival marks the 20th anniversary of the AJFF,” notes communications manager Leah Sitkoff, “and we intend to take every occasion to acknowledge and celebrate the milestone.” Sitkoff also notes that one of this year’s featured Stars Shuhzen Zhao and Awkwafina discuss their film The Farewell at the 2019 ATLFF.

venues will be the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs. “Regardless of your faith or background, AJFF offers something for everyone,” she adds, “[including] cinematic treatments of global issues and universal stories that not only entertain but enrich, provoke, challenge, educate and enlighten. It is truly a transformative experience.” These and other film festivals will be hosted throughout Georgia in the months to come, all of which are well worth the ticket price and time. n TOP GEORGIA FILM FESTIVALS Rome International Film Festival Nov. 6-10, 2019 Rome  n Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival (Atlanta Docufest) Nov. 7-10, 2019 Atlanta  n Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) Feb. 10-27, 2020 Atlanta  n SCAD aTVfest Feb. 27-29, 2020 Atlanta  n South Georgia Film Festival March 6-8, 2020 Valdosta  n Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) April 30-May 10, 2020 Atlanta  n

The First Practice in Georgia to perform 10,000 CoolSculpting Treatments

Buckhead (404) 351-7546 | Marietta (770) 971-3376 | Covington (770) 784-0343


Three local residents

Jeremy Gibbs rents skeletons, vintage toys and other unique items to local film shoots.

working behind the scenes to make movies happen

The People Behind the Props STORY:


Ann Hardie

ay that movie scene just screams out for a two-headed cow. Or a supersized piece of abstract art. Or a Gatsby-like mansion. Done, done and done. Atlanta’s reputation as the Hollywood of the South wouldn’t be possible without the behind-thescenes collectors, artists, realtors, people of all stripes, really, who make the magic on the screen happen. When that magic calls for freaky taxidermy, porcelain dolls or religious icons, Jeremy Gibbs is the go-to guy. “I’ve been collecting since I was a kid. Some people might call me a hoarder,” the 40-year-old says with a laugh. A year ago, the plumber/artist opened Rainy Day Revival prop house in Chamblee to share his treasures with the outside world, including an extensive wet specimen collection (animals preserved in fluid). The AMC series Lodge 49 pounced on those right away, as well as a stuffed six-legged dog and eight-legged cat. Gibbs finds the film industry’s interest in his oddities reaffirming. “To see them on TV or in a movie is more to me than the monetary value,” he says. “It’s the emotional value.” Abstract artist Lynne McDonald gets tingles when she sees her name in a film’s credits. “I feel very proud,” she says. McDonald is self-


taught and uses a pouring technique that gives fluidity to her pieces that can appear in scenes hanging over a couch, in a conference room or along a hallway. Her mantra is, “Say yes when opportunity comes along,” and opportunity knocked for her when she donated one of her paintings to a charity fundraiser at the Havana Club in Buckhead. The people from the film industry who attended liked what they saw. When they asked to license her work, McDonald stuck to her mantra and since has done paintings for eight productions soon to be released. (You can see her paintings in real life at Ligne Roset furniture and Sugarcoat nail salon in Buckhead.)

Film companies use Lynne McDonald’s artwork as colorful backdrops in their scenes.

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

A house used as a set for a production shot in Atlanta could have likely come from Hasan Pasha’s inventory.

Like McDonald, Hasan Pasha didn’t hesitate to carve a niche for himself in the film industry when opportunity presented itself. Through his company, Pasha Luxury Properties, brokered by Harry Norman Realtors, the 30-year-old real estate agent connects actors and crews with homesaway-from-home while filming in Atlanta. “They don’t really want to stay in a hotel for three months,” says Pasha. “Through my connections, I’m able to cater to their exact need, whether that’s a penthouse, a 4-acre estate or just a regular apartment.” Pasha also connects film productions with the locations that appear in TV shows and movies. He and his inves-

tors own some 75 properties available for rent. He also arranges deals with homeowners and businesses whose properties appear in films. The list of films Pasha has been involved with in one way or another includes The Mule, First Man and the Marvel movies. The city’s real estate is what makes it such a hot filming town, says Pasha. “Atlanta has three different skylines to choose from: downtown, Midtown and Buckhead.” The housing stock ranges from mansions to bungalows. Says Pasha: “You can film on Peachtree and make it look like Berlin. Or Lake Lanier and make it look like Wyoming. Atlanta’s versatility gives it a lot to offer.” n

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November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead



Kids and adults alike clamor for R. Thomas’ French toast platter, piled with thick, sugardusted slices of eggsoaked sourdough.


From KFC to Quinoa  P86

Photo: Sara Hanna

The food-happy clientele, along with a touch of hippie nostalgia, has cemented R. Thomas in the pantheon of beloved Atlanta spots for more than 30 years. November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



Above: Marinated, grilled and tossed with tangy sauce, the hot wings practically fly off the menu. Left: You can’t talk to an R. Thomas fan without hearing gustatory praise for their fish tacos.

Right: A salad for dessert? If it’s Dr. Joe’s Mango Salad, the answer is yes.


R. Thomas: a health food phoenix rises from the fryer STORY:

Rebecca Cha   PHOTOS: Sara Hanna

I The Thai Express bowl, with its nutty tempeh and colorful sautéed veggies, is reason enough to turn vegetarian.


t’s hard to believe that R. Thomas Deluxe Grill was the brainchild of the same man who was the first president of operations at Kentucky Fried Chicken and followed that up by creating what became the Bojangles’ franchise. Twenty years later, after an existential epiphany and an auspicious meeting with nutritionist Donna Gates, Richard Thomas decided to pivot—and how—by opening a funky, natural-food eatery in Atlanta and never looking back.

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

Located in Buckhead’s Ardmore district, R. Thomas reminds me of the L.A. cafe featured in Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning film Annie Hall. The Sunset Strip is replaced here with Peachtree Road, and Alvy’s “alfalfa sprouts and mashed yeast” are swapped out for a panoply of, well, similar-sounding grub. For foodies who don’t get the Woody Allen reference, let me put it another way: R. Thomas is the original True Food Kitchen. Even better, it’s open 24 hours, 7 days a week, so you can get a goji berry maca shake, walnut sunflower pâté or a hamburger whether it’s 4 p.m. or 4 a.m. R. Thomas’ eccentric dining room is essentially an indoor/outdoor space. The concrete floor is the former parking lot, and there’s an industrial tent “ceiling” sporting ’70s-style disco lighting, beaded curtains and “walls” of heavy transparent plastic. And did I mention Mr. Thomas’ birds? Parrots, toucans and more are perched in cages along the north exterior of the building, and a few will provide a delightful pre- or postprandial chat if they’re in the mood. Though Richard Thomas passed away in 2017, the birds are well cared for and are so popular,

they have their own Facebook page. But on to the food. Testing out the eatery’s promise to “treat carnivores and vegetarians with equal respect,” we began our first visit with a pound of hot wings. Marinated then grilled and tossed with just enough hot sauce to tingle your tongue, it’s no wonder they’re so popular on social media. Continuing our meaty mission, we couldn’t pass up the grass-fed Thomas Burger. Served on a choice of toasted sourdough or marble rye, the grilled-to-order patty comes stacked with fresh romaine, garden tomatoes and R. Thomas’ “special sauce” (homemade Thousand Island dressing). It passed muster, but connoisseurs will likely choose other burger havens to scratch this particular itch. When it comes to vegetarian and vegan food, however, R. Thomas is where you want to be. The widely praised Thai Express bowl was a masterpiece of multicolored veggies sautéed with chunks of nutty tempeh, tossed in delicate peanut sauce and served on hearty quinoa. The dish is reason enough to go vegetarian. From the limited but enticing dessert menu, we ordered the peanut butter pie made by local bakery Kenny’s Great Pies. It was as delectable as a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup but better at triple the size. My next visit was a quick dinner before an evening at the Alliance Theatre. (R. Thomas is, incidentally, a great place for pre-theater meals—with light traffic, it’s less than five minutes to the Woodruff Arts Center.) Our veteran waiter regaled us with stories of yore, chatting us up about the fare and the fowl. He recommended a round of mimosas, but we went with fresh-pressed juices. The

Left: R.’s Quesadilla boasts bacon, white cheddar and white-meat chicken chunks all rolled up in a chile tortilla. Below: The eccentric dining room features concrete floors, ‘70s-style disco lighting and beaded curtains.

R. Thomas reminds me of the L.A. cafe featured in Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning film Annie Hall.

Above: Adding to the funky vibe, several tropical birds perch in roomy cages along the exterior of the restaurant.

Left: The juicy Thomas Burger comes grilled-toorder with a side of housemade “special sauce.”

Champ, containing carrot, apple and ginger, was pungent, spicy and incredibly fresh. Likewise my companion’s Dancing Queen, an elixir of fennel, apples and pears. Either of these refreshing mocktails will make you feel a paragon of wellness and healthy restraint. The evening’s meal commenced with French toast. (You gotta do breakfast for dinner from time to time, right?) The thick, sugar-dusted slices of egg-soaked sourdough drizzled with real maple syrup make this one of the most kid-friendly dishes on the menu. The accompanying housemade vegetarian sausage was savory and tender, but calling the soy-based patty “sausage” was a stretch. We followed that with the scrumptious R.’s Quesadilla—crisp bacon, gooey white cheddar and white-meat chicken, all tucked into an organic chile tortilla—and it was the table favorite. In keeping with the crunchy spirit of the place,

we chose a salad for dessert, specifically Dr. Joe’s Mango Salad. (Dr. Joe, a Marietta chiropractor and nutritionist, was a good friend of Richard Thomas’.) With its baby Boston leaves, sunflower sprouts, avocado and mango chunks tossed in a light tamariagave dressing, it was the perfect antidote to our heavier first courses. R. Thomas is not completely free of disappointments. One particular seared tuna salad, for example, arrived from the kitchen looking like yesterday’s news and was promptly sent back. But there are far too many upsides to keep us from R. Thomas, not the least of which is the fact that it’s just a really happy place. The healthy, foodhappy clientele, along with a touch of charming hippie nostalgia, has cemented R. Thomas in the pantheon of beloved Atlanta spots for more than 30 years. n

Above: The organic fruit and veggie smoothies and fresh-pressed juices make colorful, cleansing mocktails.

R. THOMAS DELUXE GRILL 1812 Peachtree Rd. N.W., Atlanta 30309 404.881.0246 Prices: Breakfast: $9.75-$14.75. Appetizers: $4.50-$17.50. Salads, sandwiches and entrées: $5.99-$20.75. Desserts: $6.50-$8.75. Recommended: Free-range chicken wings; Thai Express bowl; curry coconut seafood linguine; French toast; R.’s Quesadilla; Dr. Joe’s Mango Salad; Kenny’s Peanut Butter Pie; fresh-pressed juices, smoothies and yerba maté drinks. Bottom line: Whether you’re gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, carnivore or undecided, there’s plenty to love at this funky Buckhead institution.

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 






almonds and pink peppercorns. A single jalapeño slice floats in the boozy mix of slight earthy smoke and baking spices that still satisfies whiskey purists with its strong character. “I always try to make sure none of our cocktails are two-dimensional,” says Colton Wright, who oversees the beverage program at The Iberian Pig in Buckhead.

To ensure the flavor profile spans several categories while also conjuring the season, he created the vodkabased drink Amigo, the Devil. “Amigo definitely hits the fruit note with passion fruit and lime, vegetal with the incorporation of jalapeño

Angela Hansberger A traditional, complexly flavored Mexican molé is just the bubbling sauce winter calls for. You can get a similarly flavored cocktail called the Cocoa Molé at Southbound. “We chose to focus on a few of the base flavors of chocolate and chiles,” says beverage director Jeff Banks. He chose Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao as a chocolate component and Ancho Reyes chile liqueur for the heat. “We also added subtle smoke with Pelotón de la Muerte mescal,” says Banks. “The last thing we add is lemon juice, which livens up the drink and ties it together.” n

and Peychaud’s (bitters) for baking spice,” he says. “I try to make sure the flavors are there but blended and intertwined enough to make you stop and think about what you’re tasting.” He serves the cocktail in a capped glass bottle for a fun twist.

Above: The Smoke in the Valley is the perfect drink for sipping next to the fire pits on Arnette’s Chop Shop’s second-story terrace. Right: The Iberian Pig’s Amigo, the Devil arrives in a glass bottle. Below: The heat of Southbound’s Cocoa Molé is tempered by fresh lemon juice.

DETAILS Arnette’s Chop Shop 2700 Apple Valley Rd. N.E. Brookhaven 30319 404.969.0701

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

Heidi Harris

The Iberian Pig 3150 Roswell Rd. N.W. Atlanta 30305 404.994.4990

Jeff Banks

s the seasons change, so does our quest for pleasing cocktails. During summer, we gravitate towards bright, refreshing and even frozen libations. But when leaves fall and winnowing winds come, we yearn for drinks that add warmth much like that of a cozy sweater. A hot toddy is a delightful way to ward off the chill, but a cocktail doesn’t need to be heated to have the same effect. Rather, you can introduce the smoky, earthy aromas of a campfire or turn up the heat with spice and other fiery ingredients. This is the time of year bartenders change up ingredients to balance and round out a cocktail for a full-body experience to warm guests up from the inside. At the lavish bar at Arnette’s Chop Shop, for instance, the perfect complement to having drinks next to the fire pits out on the open-air terrace is the Smoke in the Valley, a mezcal and rye concoction tempered with bitters and Lazzaroni Amaretto, an Italian liqueur boasting the zing of brown spices, roasted


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November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



Culinary News & Notes 


Lia Picard

Feeling heavy with all that holiday food around? Turn to local eateries such as, from left, Chopt, Cafe West Express and Clean Juice for lighter fare that won’t weigh you down.



he holidays tend to leave us feeling as stuffed as the turkey on our dinner table. Cooking nutritious meals may be a challenge during this busy time filled with endless parties and celebrations, so it’s good to know where to find some lighter options. Here are three places, all conveniently situated on Roswell Road, to

visit if you need a break from all the cheese plates and fruitcakes. Chopt A build-your-own salad bar, Chopt is a smash hit in its home city, New York, and is now winning over the taste buds of lettuce-seeking Atlantans. You can find one of its area locations in the Tuxedo Festival shop-

ping center. There are six salads that are fewer than 400 calories apiece. The standout is the Mexicali Vegan, but if you want something a little heftier, the Kebab Cobb with pickled red onions, feta and tzatziki is a great way to go. Cafe West Express Situated in north Buckhead, Cafe West Express is the brainchild of fitness guru Tammy Stokes, who also founded West Coast Workout.

Jolly Bar Serves 12 CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BASE: l 8 ounces butter l ¾ cup powdered Swerve

(a sugar alternative)


Clean Juice Found in Sandy Springs, Clean Juice claims to be the only USDA-certified organic juice bar franchise. The drinks are refreshing, but there’s more than just juice. There are also various toasts, açaí bowls and smoothies. The smoothies are especially perfect for a meal on the go. n


A JOLLY TREAT Kathleen McDaniel is the executive pastry chef and a partner of Zambawango, a gluten-free, sugar-free and low-carb bakery in Sandy Springs. McDaniel came up with the recipe for the Jolly Bar after speaking with a diabetic customer who missed the cranberry bar served seasonally at Starbucks. McDaniel made some clever substitutions, and it became one of her best-sellers. Now you can make it at home as well.

Soups are the centerpiece at Cafe West: They’re made from scratch and packed with nutrients and antioxidants that make you feel full and happy. The Magic Mushroom soup is especially warming this time of year.

l ¾ cup brown Swerve

n Fancy some fish and chips, bangers and mash, or a perfectly poured Guinness? Head to The Duke, a new English pub now open in Dunwoody.

l 4 cups almond flour l ¼ teaspoon salt l 1 teaspoon baking soda l 1 teaspoon vanilla l 1/3 cup sugar-free

chocolate chips

n The team behind Sandy Springs’ Il Giallo opened Lagarde American Eatery in Chamblee earlier this fall. It specializes in Creole and New Orleans-style dishes.

l ½ cup dried sugar-free

cranberries l ½ teaspoon

orange extract JOLLY BAR FILLING: l 12 ounces cream cheese

l 8 ounces powdered

Swerve l 1 teaspoon orange extract l 1 cup melted sugar-free chocolate chips l ½ cup sugar-free dried cranberries

Incorporate chocolate chips and cranberries. Press cookie dough into bottom of greased 8-inch round pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°. Cream the butter and both Swerves. Slowly add in almond flour, salt, baking soda and vanilla.

Beat cream cheese and powdered Swerve until smooth, then add orange extract. Spread mixture on

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

cookie base. Top with melted chocolate and cranberries. Let set for 10 minutes. Serve at room temperature. Zambawango 901 Abernathy Rd. Sandy Springs 30328 404.879.9731

n Beloved ice cream chain Jeni’s opened its fifth Atlanta outpost in Buckhead this fall. The scoop shop features all of the unique flavors people have come to love, such as Brambleberry Crisp and Darkest Chocolate, as well as seasonal treats and housemade waffle cones.

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November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 





THE EGG TO HIS ROLL Business partners Joe King and Rick Wahlstedt bring Le Colonial to Buckhead


ive years ago, restaurateur Rick Wahlstedt brought Le Bilboquet bistro and bar to The Shops Buckhead, and it quickly became an area staple. A few months ago, Wahlstedt and business partner, Joe King, opened their French-Vietnamese concept Le Colonial less than 100 feet away. The new Le Colonial Atlanta joins sister spots in Chicago and Houston, and generated a buzz around town before it even opened. Much of the anticipation surrounded noted chef and cookbook author Nicole Routhier’s role as culinary director and executive chef Hassan Obaye’s expertise with items such as the pork and shrimp spring rolls and crispy red snapper fileted tableside. King and Wahlstedt take turns manning the restaurant, as both have other eateries located around the country. We spoke to the duo about how they’ve maintained a productive partnership for more than 20 years.


How did you get into the hospitality business? WAHLSTEDT: It was a fluke. I came here from Sweden, for the U.S. Open [squash] tournament, where I played professionally. I was offered a squash-teaching position in New York. I became friends with one of my clients, Keith McNally [the founder of Pastis]. We had a drink one night and I admitted I didn’t really like teaching because it affected playing in tournaments. He asked me to work for him. I didn’t know anything about restaurants—other than I’m good at eating and drinking. I started bartending, and now I’ve been a waiter, manager and maître d’, and later opened my own restaurants. It kept me in this country. How did the two of you meet? KING: We met almost 30 years ago working at The Supper Club in New York. We turned it from a ballroom dancing facility into a club. It became very popular. We had guests such as Tony Bennett and Bob Dylan.

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead


What spurred your partnership? KING: It happened organically. We got along well and liked each other’s work ethic. He called and asked me if I was interested in [helping with] Le Colonial Chicago. I moved my family there from New York in 1996. I started as general manager, and a couple of years later, we became partners. Why did you choose Buckhead for Le Colonial’s Atlanta outpost? WAHLSTEDT: I like locations that have a mixed bag of clients—places with hotels, businesses, offices, retail and residential. You have all of that in Buckhead. I like places where a 20-year-old sits next to a 70-year-old and they both feel good and chat with one another. How do your working styles complement each other? KING: He loves business and design. He’s brilliant with blueprints, vision and colors. My history is operations, service and interaction with guests and staff. Rick does not compromise anything. He’s Swedish and more

Carly Cooper serious. I’m Irish and a little less serious. The commonality between us is complete and total trust. How do you ensure clear communication since you aren’t usually in the same place at the same time? WAHLSTEDT: We talk daily. It’s easier to speak over the phone, but we text and email, too. We bounce ideas off one another a lot. We have the same vision in what makes a place successful. Do you spend time together outside of work? KING: He’s my business partner, but he’s also a close friend. I watch his squash tournaments. We’ll go out for dinner and drinks. I went to Jamaica for his 40th birthday. His daughters know my daughters. n LE COLONIAL 3035 Peachtree Rd. N.E. Atlanta 30305 404.341.0500

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November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



Made with fresh ground chuck and a branded Holeman and Finch bun, this is no ordinary burger from Big Sky Buckhead.

A sampling of great eats in and around Buckhead BY: Wendell

Brock, Rebecca Cha and Angela Hansberger



ANIS CAFÉ & BISTRO Anis is everything you’d hope to find in a French bistro, without having to buy a plane ticket: traditional Provençal dishes, relaxed patio dining and often a small congregation of Frenchspeaking diners to help set the mood. Grilled North African-style Merguez sausage, coquilles St. Jacques or a bright, crisp salade d’Arnaud (named after the owner) are all winning starters. Entrées of truite meunière, poulet rôti and boeuf au poivre are sure to bring you back to that quaint Provençal village square. Best-in-class items are the croque monsieur, salade Niçoise, moules marinières and not-to-bemissed chocolate mousse. Lunch prices: $8-$19 Dinner prices: $8-$35

BIG SKY BUCKHEAD The laid-back cattle ranch decor in this West Village hotspot is the perfect foil for top-notch Tex-Mex-meets-DeepSouth eats. Specialty cocktails served up by fresh-faced mixologists combined with events such as Wednesday trivia nights, game-day viewing parties and weekend brunches with all-you-candrink mimosas make Big Sky Buckhead a favorite urban escape. Best-in-class dishes such as the Big Sky Nachos,

Goose Island IPA wings, Original Burger and Buffalo Chicken Sandwich are good enough to brand this place in your memory forever. Good to know: Big Sky is a cashless establishment, so don’t forget your alt-currency. Also, free on-site parking spots are limited, so consider carpooling or ridesharing. Starters: $4-$12 Salads, sandwiches and tacos: $11-$13 Entrées: $15-$19 Brunch items: $12-$15

BUCKHEAD DINER This indispensible, neon-splashed diner is a jewel in the crown of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, which includes the Greek temple-like Kyma next door and the Atlanta Fish Market down the street. For 30 years, fans have flocked here for the housemade chips with Maytag blue, the “sweet heat” Thaichile calamari, juicy burgers and the decadent white-chocolate banana cream pie—all classics. Simply by virtue of the way it lights up Piedmont Road, this diner has always been, and will always be, a star. Appetizers: $6-$12 Sandwiches and burgers: $13-$16 Entrées: $17-$30 buckhead-diner

Buckhead Diner’s banana cream pie is buried under an avalanche of whitechocolate shavings and never goes out of style.

CAFÉ AT PHARR New Orleans owns the po’boy. Philadelphia has its cheesesteaks. Maine gave us the lobster roll. So … what about Buckhead? The neighborhood’s defining dish is chicken salad, the classic bird-and-mayo spread that can be crammed in your mouth between slices of bread or eaten daintily with a fork. Thanks to the entrepreneurial zeal of Johnny Liu—whose Taiwanese immigrant parents opened the original Café at Pharr in 1993—this comfort food has become a new fast food. You have to love the story of Café at Pharr. An enterprising family comes up with a formula that charms and beguiles the locals: Fresh food served in an accessible and unfussy environment that never loses its friendly neighborhood feel. Soups, sandwiches and salads: $4-$9.50

CIBO E BEVE An unassuming strip mall cover belies the cozy sophistication awaiting inside this popular Sandy Springs trattoria. Chef Linda Harrell’s menu is punctuated with exquisite, simple fare such as Tuscan kale and bean soup and braised short rib ragu with spinach ravioli, and is anchored by classics such as woodfired pizzas and chicken parmigiana.


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

Don’t bypass the Italian wine list with top-notch selections both familiar (Santa Margherita Vermentino) and obscure (Morgante Nero d’Avola). On Monday evenings, select bottles are half price. Weekends are especially busy, so plan your visit accordingly. Appetizers, soups and salads: $5-$16 Pasta, pizza and sandwiches: $13-$32 Mains: $23-$36 Desserts: $4-$8

FARM BURGER Of the locally pastured gourmet-burger chains, Farm Burger, which has a Buckhead shop on Piedmont Road near Tower Place, has long been a favorite. And it’s hard to imagine a more decadent list of toppings for your grass-fed, dry-aged patty than oxtail marinade, apple slaw, red-bean chili, pork belly, bone marrow, cured lardo, bacon, fried egg or the six kinds of cheese. Keep your eye on the blackboard for seasonal specials, too. In spring, you might get a burger decked out with Vidalias and pesto; in summer, a dollop of peach chutney. While we don’t normally pass on beer-battered onion rings, Farm Burger’s sweet potato fries are irresistible. Snacks: $2-$4 Burgers: $6.75-$8.50

FLYING BISCUIT CAFÉ Flying Biscuit Café is a touchstone of diner life here in Atlanta, and with good reason. “Creamy dreamy” grits and flaky Southern biscuits round out most every meal, and there are loads of tummy-warming substantial dishes to choose from. Turkey hash, the Not Your Mama’s Pimiento Cheese Sandwich and chicken pot pie (made with hot, buttery biscuits, of course) are reminiscent of grandma’s kitchen, and the congenial staff will keep you coming back for more. Gordo Stevens’ artwork across the walls and ceiling adds a funky, kitsch-cool vibe to the Brookhaven outpost of this breakfast and brunch favorite. Breakfast: $3.29-$12.99 Lunch: $4.99-$12.99

The sublime pappardelle con astice, made with hand-cut pasta, succulent lobster, shallots and rosemary, shows off the chef’s talents at La Grotta.

HAVEN RESTAURANT AND BAR Haven is exactly that—a safe, inclusive place where your every gastronomic need is met. If weather permits, enjoy the serenity of patio dining while indulging your taste buds with crisp Gulf oysters, the Southern cheese board or Timmy’s Wild Georgia shrimp. Or go inside and soak up the classy atmosphere while digging into seared Georges Bank scallops or spice-roasted Green Circle Farms chicken, and wrap things up with a warm chocolate brownie with artisan espresso sauce. On Tuesdays, many four-star bottles of wine are half price. Sunday is burger night, available from 5 p.m. until they run out. Small plates and salads: $6-$15 Entrées: $18-$38 Steaks: starting at $51 Sides and desserts: $7

LA GROTTA This four-decades-old institution is as popular today as it ever was. And that has as much to do with the generations of devotees—many of them old school Atlanta royalty—as it does with its reliable, often superlative food. Whether you begin with earthy bresaola Valtellinese, milky burrata di mozzarella fresca or verdant insalata di carciofi freschi, it’s imperative you save room for the mains, for this is where the kitchen truly shines. Silky creamsauced pastas such as penne con verdure and pappardelle con astice will become your new gastro obsession, and delectable meat dishes such as scaloppine di vitello Antonio and filetto di manzo al Barolo are best enjoyed with a bottle of fine Italian red. Appetizers and salads: $9.95-$15.95

KALEIDOSCOPE BISTRO & PUB Kaleidoscope is one of Brookhaven’s most popular watering holes. Fabulous small plates include pimento mac and cheese, roasted cauliflower seasoned with garlic and a touch of lime, and the smoked pork and pimento spring rolls. The steak frites with garlic-heavy chimichurri is exceptional, as is the poutine, a Canadian treat consisting of crisp, hand-cut fries smothered in gravy and mozzarella. Looking for somewhat lighter fare? Go for the fried chicken club salad tossed with sundried tomatoes, fresh avocado and golden chunks of bird. A table on the pet-friendly patio guarantees topnotch people-watching. Appetizers: $5-$12 Salads, pizzas and burgers: $7-$14 Mains: $13-$19

Pastas and risottos: $10.95-$35.95 Mains: $21.95-$39.95 Desserts: $7.95-$9.95


delights of the Bengali table, including many here with beef. Appetizers: $4-$6 Mains: $11-$15


Anyone who has a passing familiarity with Indian food will feel right at home at this exotic-yet-homespun Buford Highway hole-in-the-wall. The $9.99 lunch buffet is a delicious way to sample the flavorful, aromatic cuisine of Bangladesh, which often uses less spice and more coconut milk than its sister region in Northern India. At dinner, you may take advantage of the BYOB policy, bringing wine or beer to wash down the highly appealing biryanis, kormas, tandooris and other

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 buzz-inducing 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 Entrées: $14-$26 Note: Prices and menu items may have changed since original publication.

Hungry for more?

At Panahar, tandoori lovers can indulge in platters of chicken, lamb, kebabs, shrimp and chicken tikka.

Visit the Simply Buckhead website to read all of our Restaurant Reviews!

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

E V E N T S | C H A RI TA B L E | S C E N E


Karon Warren

[ F E AT U R E D E V E N T ]



Photos: Emily Butler Photography


or the second straight year, Santa’s Fantastical returns to Sandy Springs to commemorate the holiday season. Taking place at Perimeter Pointe, this pop-up indoor dreamworld brings together timeless traditions with high-tech, immersive visuals that create a unique experience. “Guests will get to know our characters through projected animation as they send you on a journey to the North Pole through our Fantastical Forest,” says event co-founder Sarah Blackman. “We’ve added an interactive snowball fight game called SnowPalooza, a rocket sleigh and a speakeasy called Santa’s Secret ’Stache. Some of our guest favorites such as the Candy Cane Vortex, Unicorn Dreams and the snow globe illusion are coming back, but

with a new twist.” Although this is a kid-friendly event, Blackman states it’s not geared exclusively to families. “With our unique mix of art, technology and nostalgia, we are the perfect whimsical wonderland experience for date nights and a girls’ night out as well,” she says. “We welcome all ages and provide something special for everyone to take joy in.”

SANTA’S FANTASTICAL Nov. 15-Jan. 5; days and times vary Tickets start at $19.95 and must be purchased online 1155 Mount Vernon Highway N.E. Sandy Springs 30338 470.514.5446

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



Photos: Tali Song Roth

In “Come Here,” autistic artist Nicholas Kontaxis shares his emotions through paint using a variety of palette knives, texture and color.

[ C U LT U RE ]

An Abstract Display


INSPIRING AUTISTIC ARTIST COMES TO BUCKHEAD Through Nov. 14 at Anne O Art in The Shops Buckhead, step into the world of noted California-based abstract artist Nicholas Kontaxis as he brings his solo exhibit “Come Here” to Atlanta. Diagnosed with autism and suffering from seizures on a daily basis, the 23-year-old artist utilizes a variety of palette knives to bring together texture and color into emotional expressions that belie his difficulties

speaking. “Whenever we meet someone whose journey is unique and uplifting and challenges us to see life through a new lens, it is important,” says gallery owner Anne Ostholthoff. “I wish for everyone in Atlanta to take advantage of this opportunity to see up close the work of Nicholas’ hands and then reflect on the work of our own. Are we living out the joy we are all intended to live in our own lives?”

Nov. 9-10 the-elegant-elf Get all your holiday shopping done at Sandy Springs’ annual marketplace featuring handcrafted goods from more than 90 different vendors.

“COME HERE” BY NICHOLAS KONTAXIS Through Nov. 14; times vary Free Anne O Art 264 Buckhead Ave. N.E. Atlanta 30305 678.883.2611

MACY’S GREAT TREE LIGHTING Nov. 24 -mall-in-atlanta-ga Head to Lenox Square for this Atlanta holiday tradition, where you’ll enjoy the tree lighting, live music and a mix of other family-friendly activities to celebrate the season.


Adela Sznajder

[ N E A RBY ]

Play Time INDULGE YOUR LOVE OF GAMING AT THIS NONSTOP FESTIVAL Fans of gaming, professional esports teams and cosplayers better get plenty of sleep before they head out for DreamHack and the Hi-Rez Expo. During this 24-hour-a-day, three-day festival, attendees can indulge their passion for cosplay, meet developers and pro gamers, and enjoy a full schedule of live music. “DreamHack is an experience like no other, showing how far gaming has come and how it reaches into our daily lifestyle,” says Justin Burnham, DreamHack’s


global creative director. “The traditional elements of an esports/gaming event are in full effect, and will include the Hi-Rez Expo.” The expo features big development updates from all Hi-Rez Studios games, playable stations, in-game swag and more. But it’s just a fraction of all there is to see and do at DreamHack. “We want attendees to leave the event with something memorable so they crave more and never want to miss a show,” says Burnham.

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

DREAMHACK/ HI-REZ EXPO Nov. 15-17; 24 hours a day Tickets start at $35 Georgia World Congress Center 285 Andrew Young International Blvd. N.W. Atlanta 30313

Nov. 29-Jan. 1 atlxr-the-st-regis-atlanta At the St. Regis Atlanta in Buckhead, turn your holiday fantasies into reality by exploring a life-sized gingerbread house. Inside, you’ll find your favorite sweet treats at the pop-up candy shop. This free event is also an ideal spot to take the photo for next year’s holiday card.

CHILDREN’S HOLIDAY PARTY Dec. 8 Southern Art and Bourbon Bar isn’t typically a hangout for kids, but on Dec. 8 the restaurant/bar will be transformed into a family-friendly winter wonderland. Enjoy photos with Santa, decorate festive cookies, sample the hot chocolate bar, make some seasonal crafts and more.

For reservations please call 404.844.4810


Distinctive Residential Settings | Chef-Prepared Dining and Bistro Premier Health and Wellness Programs | Award-Winning Memory Care Professionally Supervised Therapy and Rehabilitation Services

The Community Built for Life.® 404-252-6271 PCH 008036 © 2019 Belmont Village, L.P.


At Woodward, we provide the compass.

770-551-9533 Nurse On Call: 404-408-5020

Main Campus

College Park Pre-K to 12

Woodward North

Johns Creek Pre-K to 6



November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

11 Dunwoody Park, Suite 140. Dunwoody, GA. 30338 Licensed - Insured - Bonded All caregivers are checked and fingerprinted using an industry exclusive background screen process

We have been awarded the highest achievement for quality in the country by The Joint Commission.


Sara Mixon

Photos: Kimberly Evans


M E. Vincent Martinez, Sarai Mateo, Doug Weiss

ore than 140,000 meals will be provided to area residents in need thanks to the $35,000 raised at the Fall for Fashion event held recently at the Tootsies women’s boutique in Buckhead. The annual Atlanta Community Food Bank fundraiser is held in honor of Hunger Action Month and was hosted this year by 11Alive entertainment reporter Francesca Amiker. The 100-plus attendees enjoyed a runway show featuring the latest fashions, one of which was modeled by our very own publisher, Joanne Hayes. They also received expert advice from Tootsies’ style consultants and bid on auction items that included a four-course dinner and wine pairing for six with chefs Jonathan Akly and Ian Winslade, wellness and spa packages from Drybar at Avalon and STAT Wellness, and a Tootsies shopping experience for 20 complete with food and drink.

Kyle Waide, Jackie Brackin, Lori Childers, Sonny Hayes, Joanne Hayes

Carla Smith, Jen Alewine, Merideth Manning Francesca Amiker Abbey Flaum, Dolly Kakarala, Joanne Bryant

Heather Moon, Cameron Turner, Tammie McAfee

Joanne Hayes takes her turn on the runway

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



MORE THAN A GYM : A COMMUNITY HAVE YOUR FITNESS GOALS FAILED IN THE PAST? We have the technology to analyze and understand your body. Our InBody Body Composition Scan reveals what your body is made of between muscle, fat, and water, as well as where in your body it resides. We have the team in place to personalize your program. And we have a community to keep you motivated. Come and see what our community is all about. 404.228.3705 3215 CAINS HILL PLACE NW




Erica Austin, Maryline Breneman, Terri Rogers

Chris Glavine, Tom Glavine

Photos: Lynn Crow


F Megan Forester, Jenn Hobby John Yates, Ellen Yates

Elizabeth Henry, Dieula Delissaint Tchonalev, Alethia Joseph, Dena Towells

ifteen years ago, Chris Glavine witnessed two young boys enduring a brave battle against cancer, and it moved her to partner with CURE Childhood Cancer to create an annual event dedicated to honoring and encouraging mothers struggling with their children’s medical journeys. The first Quiet Heroes luncheon in 2005 raised more than $100,000. This year’s event, held recently at Flourish in Buckhead, raised $400,000. The goal of the event is to not only pay tribute to local moms dealing with stricken children, but also raise valuable funds for pediatric cancer research. Part of those funds came from a silent auction that featured tickets to an Elton John concert, a Rosemary Beach vacation package and signed sports memorabilia from current and former Atlanta Braves players (Glavine’s husband is former Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine). Former 11Alive news anchor Jill Becker, whose own son is a pediatric cancer survivor, also moderated a conversation with three special mothers who shared their stories of heartbreak and triumph.

Joanne Hayes, Michelle Johnson, Cass Lewis KellyAnn Madsen, Jessica Karcz, Cristy Pruitt, Dawn Hart

Sandra Cauley, Chris Cauley

Jill Becker, Jenny Wilkins, Elesha Bateman, Beri Irving

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 


Discover carefree and maintenance-free living that’s modern, spacious, and spontaneous.

YOU’RE INVITED TO OUR FALL FEST SATURDAY, NOV 23 • 12PM – 3PM Music, prizes drawings, arts & crafts, games, hot chocolate and apple cider bar, pie/dessert contest, face painting and lots of fun!

658 Lindbergh Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30324 55+ ACTIVE ADULT APARTMENT HOMES

RSVP or schedule a visit to experience Overture today!

588-423-0929 Overture is an equal housing opportunity. Amenities and services vary by location. Pricing & availability subject to change. Photo depicts actual Overture residents. See a Greystar representative for details.

Under the Cork Tree 5600 Roswell Road Atlanta, GA 30342 404-228-7470

-Available for all your occasionsbusiness lunches, cocktail parties, work functions, birthday parties, bachelorette parties and more!


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead


Cynthia Carns, Mary Kathryn Winsett

Photos: Charles Sharper


T Julie Smith, Joanne Hayes, Alex Delotch Davis

Pamela Wells, Emmie Howard, Christin Rutz, Sarah O’Neil

he annual Wine Women & Shoes event entertained a crowd of 400 attendees this year. They headed to the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead to sample wines from Whispering Angel, Sea Sun, Lapis Luna and more; shop designer goods from Tootsies, La Costa Organic Jewelry and Chloé Kristyn, among others; and bid on a bevy of auction items that included a dinner and wine pairing for six at Le Colonial restaurant, a stay at an Italian villa and a trip to L.A. to attend the American Music Awards. They also received hair and makeup touch-ups from Taylor/Brooks Salon pros and oohed and aahed at the flashy footwear entered in the best shoe contest. (The top prize went to a pair of strappy black stilettos with what looked like sequined wings on them!) The fun-filled event is a fundraiser for the Northside Hospital Foundation, which supports the hospital’s women’s cancer and leukemia programs.

Brittany Mirani, Jessica Dominick

Rachel Curran, Jill Goldmann, Chassity Sarvis

November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



HI-YAH! Stuntman Matt Philliben gets a big kick out of being in the movies. PHOTO: Sara


November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead


DURING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, BY GIVING, YOU’RE SAVING SO MUCH MORE. When you give to CURE, you’re not only saving childhood dreams, you are saving lives. What better gift could you give this year?

CU R EC h i l d h o o d Ca n ce r.o rg /g i v i n g November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead 



November/December 2019 | Simply Buckhead

The Spa That Gives You More More Collagen

More Microneedling

More Savings

Call 404-255-7727 or book online using code ‘Simply20’. Valid 11/1/19-12/31/19.

gift cards for the holidays

Perimeter | The Forum | Modera Buckhead

Purchase a $150 gift card and get a $50 bonus card.







631 North Main Street Suite 206 Alpharetta, GA 30009


Whether before or after your flight we have more than 300 locations you can shop, dine and explore.




Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and


everything is softer and more

beautiful. - Norman Vincent Peale

Your real estate experts in Highlands, Cashiers, Sapphire Valley, Glenville, and Lake Toxaway, North Carolina 828.526.1717 488 Main Street, Highlands | 2334 Cashiers Rd, Highlands 132 Hwy 107 S, Cashiers

Š 2019 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 HomeServices of America, Inc. Ž Equal Housing Opportunity.

Nothing says Mercedes-Benz more than

Buckhead. (800) 399-5856


R E S E RVAT I O N S : WA AT L .CO M | 4 0 4 9 9 5 75 0 0 3 376 P E AC H T R E E R D N E , AT L A N TA , G A 3 0 3 2 6 | AT LWA . D I N I N G @ WA L D O R FA S TO R I A .CO M

Your Holiday Gift Destination

Ou r Gift to You ENJOY 10% OFF YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT PURCHASE AT SOLOMON BROTHERS WHEN YOU BRING THIS AD TO OUR BUCKHEAD OR ALPHARETTA SHOWROOM. OFFER DETAILS: One time use coupon. No minimum purchase required. Not valid on previous purchases, gift certificates , loose diamonds or repairs. Cannot be combined with any other promotions or specials. Certain designers excluded. Offer valid now through December 31st, 2019. Buckhead – 17th Floor of Tower Place 3340 Peachtree Road NE Suite 1700 404-266-0266


Alpharetta – Liberty Park Village 2500 Old Milton Pkwy Suite 250 678-381-1478

Profile for Simply Buckhead

Simply Buckhead November/December 2019  

Simply Buckhead is the definitive resource for Atlanta's most dynamic intown neighborhood. With a commitment to journalistic excellence, the...

Simply Buckhead November/December 2019  

Simply Buckhead is the definitive resource for Atlanta's most dynamic intown neighborhood. With a commitment to journalistic excellence, the...