ATL, Baby!

More Charms Of ATL

atlantasrestaurantsThe pulse of Atlanta is hard to put your finger on. In many ways, this Southern metropolis feels much like any other big, sprawling urban region crisscrossed with superhighways and shiny skyscrapers. It’s home to Coca-Cola, Turner Field (the 50,091-seat ballpark where fans root for the Braves), the massive CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, and 3.5 million residents spread across the metropolitan area. Exit the freeway, though, and the city’s historic character and easy charm unfold. Just past the off-ramps, gracious houses stand on streets shaded by 100-year-old live oaks and magnolias, and reenergized urban neighborhoods, such as Little Five Points, Virginia-Highland, and Buckhead, support thriving commercial districts. Satisfyingly lush and green, Atlanta has more than 310 tranquil parks, ranging in size from postage-stamp neighborhood greenways to expansive public commons.

On a comfortable day (fall and spring are the best times to visit), it can seem like half the population of Atlanta is walking, cycl ing, or running in either …

Yesterday at 10:01 am Comments (0)

Keep Your Shopping Red Hot!

shoppingredhotWith more than 2,500 indoor booths occupying two buildings, the Scott Antique Market goes on, rain or shine, on the second weekend of each month. Exhibitor Marun Mualem, of Love Train Antiques (an importer of European furnishings), extols Atlanta’s reputation as a hot spot for the interlor-design market. “There’s always something intriguing here,” Marun says. Passing over massive French armoires, gilded mirrors, leather and mohair club chairs, and a cozy chaise, Jane–whose New York City apartment is “shoe-box size”–opted for totable buys, like wooden letters, rhinestone appliques, and enamelware vessels. Margo (below, left, carrying basket) went home with a vintage card table and a salvaged windowpane.

Sunday at lakewood

Set up like a country fair–spread out in seven exhibit halls and three courtyards on 1.5 acres–the Historic Lakewood Antiques Market is a place where kids can trail their parents in red wagons, contentedly eating corn dogs and sipping lemonade. The offerings include a mix of colorful housewares, vintage clothing, kitschy …

September 29, 2015 at 10:10 am Comments (0)

Getting Out On The Town

blue-ribbonAqua Blue hit the ground running at its launch party last August with a larger-than-expected crowd of young, trendy guests who came to check out the new digs.

The restaurant’s specials, which change daily, have a selection of familiar favorites, including comfort-food staple roast turkey with stuffing. Oversized sandwiches are also a house specialty. Veggie lovers will find comfort in the portobello, roasted pepper and zucchini sandwich. For those in the mood for a steak or chop, the T-bone lamb chop is delicious.

At the other end of the culinary spectrum is the raw bar and blue-ribbon sushi. The `aqua’ part of Aqua Blue is six seafood choices. The wine list features 50 selections of red and white wine. Entrees range from $18 to $35, appetizers and salads range from $5 to $13 and desserts are $6. Note to the calorie conscious: The butter lettuce cup salad stuffed with caramelized pears and pecans, served with a gorgonzola dressing, is …

September 26, 2015 at 9:36 am Comments (0)

Betsey Johnson Made Success From Nothing

betsey-hohnsonBetsy Johnson wants you to know who she is. She wants retailers, designers and manufacturers to think of unique, unusual, exclusive accessories when they mention her name. She wants this so much, that she’s changed the name of her business, which she launched a year ago.

“I got calls for Betsey Johnson, the ubiquitous New York clothing designer, all the time,” she said. “People saw the name on my showroom and thought it was her apparel showroom. I realized to gain a name for myself, I had to change my name to French Cicada.”

So after about four months in business, Johnson moved from a 400-square-foot space in the Atlanta Apparel Mart to a 900-square-foot space, and French Cicada was born. The showroom is filled with unknown and up-and-coming accessories designers that create everything from cute little ballet slipper shoes by Amy Jo Gladstone to chunky stone necklaces by Destination Bliss to mini handbags topped with feathers by Cara Couture. …

September 23, 2015 at 9:25 am Comments (0)

The Eyes Have It In Atlanta

eyes-atlantaNew York and Los Angeles are no longer the only cities for some of the coolest, most exclusive eyewear. Just ask the full-time security guard at Davante, a new, ultra-upscale eyewear boutique that opened last February in Atlanta’s Lenox Square mall in Buckhead, the city’s upscale shopping area.

Sandwiched between St. John and Godiva Chocolatier and near Neiman Marcus, the new store is part of a retail expansion for the Davante Group. The Las Vegas-based retailer currently boasts 10 units, of which seven are in Las Vegas, one in Mission Viejo, Calif., and another in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Davante is also opening stores in San Jose and Palm Springs, Calif., later this year. Also in the works: another Atlanta store in the nearby upscale Phipps Plaza mall and two more Las Vegas locations next year.

The extensive selection features 30 eyewear lines with a total of some 2,500 pairs of glasses. “If you can’t find the glasses you’re looking …

September 20, 2015 at 6:46 pm Comments (0)

HotLanta Too Hot? Nope

bankingindAccording to a recent report from the FDIC, the Atlanta area is facing “the most challenging environment in nearly a decade as key economic sectors weaken while competition in the banking industry remains strong,” the report said.

However, Atlanta-area bankers said the FDIC is overreacting. Few seemed worried that developers would stop building houses, regardless of economic conditions.

“It’s not a surprise to anyone that there is some concentration of real estate development and construction,” said Joe Brannen, president and chief executive officer of the Georgia Bankers Association. “The market has added a million people in population, and anyone not in construction lending is missing an opportunity.”

Bank of North Georgia has about 30% of its assets in construction and development lending, but Don Howard, president of the Alpharetta bank, said he does not consider this risky. The $833 million-asset bank’s risk is spread out because it lends to a number of developers who build homes in 16 counties, he …

September 17, 2015 at 6:09 pm Comments (0)