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Best Of Atlanta Main Photo (large)


2012 Index of Winners

Best doggie day care BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best Tumblr BOA Award Winner

Atlanta History Center
Corporate and nonprofit forays into social media are often awkward and clumsy - really, why does a fertilizer need a Twitter account? But the Atlanta History Center has figured it out. There's the world's busiest airport when it was basically just a tower and strip of asphalt. And there's Peachtreemore...
Corporate and nonprofit forays into social media are often awkward and clumsy - really, why does a fertilizer need a Twitter account? But the Atlanta History Center has figured it out. There's the world's busiest airport when it was basically just a tower and strip of asphalt. And there's Peachtree Street packed with men in fedoras and celebrating Japan's surrender in World War II. Oh, and here's an as-it-happened, liveblog reenacting the 1917 fire that consumed nearly 300 acres between the Old Fourth Ward and Midtown. By digging into its vaults and sharing historic photographs, audio files, relics, and other do-dads on Tumblr (and often with humor), the Buckhead-based center deftly manages to do what so many museums can't - become more than a building filled with exhibits. Not to mention tempting a younger generation to make the trek north on Peachtree and pay a visit. less...

Best TV anchor send-off BOA Award Winner

Monica Pearson
For nearly 40 years, Monica Pearson (formerly Kaufman) of WSB-TV has been considered the evening news anchor in Atlanta. There were others, yes, but none matched the Kentucky native's celebrity. After decades of reporting on such stories as the Atlanta child murders and the 1996 Olympics, the winnermore...
For nearly 40 years, Monica Pearson (formerly Kaufman) of WSB-TV has been considered the evening news anchor in Atlanta. There were others, yes, but none matched the Kentucky native's celebrity. After decades of reporting on such stories as the Atlanta child murders and the 1996 Olympics, the winner of multiple Emmy Awards and wearer of 1 million hairstyles called it a career. And Jesus, did WSB-TV celebrate. An in-studio meet-and-greet! A congressional commendation and City Hall reception and proclamation! A farewell ball! Radio interviews! And then ... tours of Monica's closets! Clips of Monica trying on boots! Shots of Monica hanging out by a lake at the home she shares with her husband. The heady hero worship was, for some reason, oddly mesmerizing once you got sucked in. less...

Best walkable neighborhood BOA Award Winner

Virginia-Highland

Best way to pimp out your nonprofit's office BOA Award Winner

Lifecycle Building Center
Days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention swung a wrecking ball into old buildings that were probably health hazards themselves, volunteers visited the decommissioned labs and offices and started unscrewing furniture. Instead of a landfill, the desks, filing cabinets, and shelves, allmore...
Days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention swung a wrecking ball into old buildings that were probably health hazards themselves, volunteers visited the decommissioned labs and offices and started unscrewing furniture. Instead of a landfill, the desks, filing cabinets, and shelves, all in usable condition, traveled to southwest Atlanta to the Lifecycle Building Center. The all-volunteer nonprofit is housed in a nearly 100-year-old mammoth warehouse where the salvaged items are resold at low cost to homeowners, artists, and businesses, or sometimes given free to qualified charities and churches. The project, a partnership with several intown design firms, building companies, and greenies, aims to tap a potential gold mine and source of unnecessary waste. According to the center's figures, Georgians tossed out an estimated 2.9 million tons of wood, gypsum wallboard, metal, and other building materials. By interrupting the process before demolition, they're able to reuse the items, thereby reducing the amount of waste that goes into dumps. Their efforts also offset the need to cut down more trees to build another bookshelf. less...

Best bookstore for browsing BOA Award Winner

Book Nook
There are places you go to find exactly what you're looking for. Then there are places you go to find what you didn't know you were looking for until you actually find it. Does that make sense? Anyway, it will when you carve out a couple of hours from your busy schedule and visit one of Book Nook's threemore...
There are places you go to find exactly what you're looking for. Then there are places you go to find what you didn't know you were looking for until you actually find it. Does that make sense? Anyway, it will when you carve out a couple of hours from your busy schedule and visit one of Book Nook's three area locations. Before you even walk in the door, it's obvious this place is great, thanks in no small part to the logo on its sign, which features an anthropomorphized book and CD, jauntily walking atop some musical notes, the latter of the two wearing a bow tie and a fedora. What the books and CDs inside lack in human-like qualities and fancy dress, they make up for in sheer quantity. The Decatur store - the closest to intown Atlanta - is a biblio- and discophile's treasure trove spilling over with gently used DVDs, comics, records, and, of course, books. (More than 150,000 of them, the Nook says.) And from the 45 rpm records - some of which are still in their original sleeves - to a stack of vintage Rolling Stone and Premiere magazines, you could spend all day flipping through everything in the store. Book Nook also offers money and store credit for your used media. So it's also a place to get rid of the things you didn't know you didn't want anymore. Does that make sense? less...

Best brand-name shoe bargains BOA Award Winner

Marshalls
Like any of the other brand-name-discount-stores - T.J. Maxx, Ross, and their ilk - Marshalls tends to be hit or miss. It depends on how nice a neighborhood it's in, what time of the year it is, and how much or little the employees care about things being in order. The Marshalls tucked away at themore...
Like any of the other brand-name-discount-stores - T.J. Maxx, Ross, and their ilk - Marshalls tends to be hit or miss. It depends on how nice a neighborhood it's in, what time of the year it is, and how much or little the employees care about things being in order. The Marshalls tucked away at the back of a shopping center on Peachtree Road in Buckhead is either staffed by people who care or overseen by a manager who makes sure they care, because this place (at least the shoes) are in order and the selection is fantastic. By which we mean, "on-trend." By which we mean, "not last year's or last season's crappy stock." (Although there's some of that on the clearance rack - minus the crappy part.) Believe it or not, there is a difference between Marshalls stores, even in the same city. Your feet will thank you for believing us. Multiple metro Atlanta locations. less...

Best car wash BOA Award Winner

Cactus Car Wash (Permanently Closed)
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best CDs BOA Award Winner

Criminal Records

Best fancy pants for men BOA Award Winner

Billy Reid
You ever wonder where that well-dressed mixologist at the trendy bar - the guy with his sleeves rolled up to reveal forearms covered in tattoos, maybe a circa-1870 mustache perched upon his liquor-drenched lip - got his Southern-gentleman-with-an-edge outfit? No? Well, should it ever occur to youmore...

You ever wonder where that well-dressed mixologist at the trendy bar - the guy with his sleeves rolled up to reveal forearms covered in tattoos, maybe a circa-1870 mustache perched upon his liquor-drenched lip - got his Southern-gentleman-with-an-edge outfit? No? Well, should it ever occur to you to wonder, and he happens to work at a bar where the tips are good, there's a decent chance some of his look was picked up at Billy Reid's new Westside store. Open as of May, Reid's Atlanta store is a homey, masculine affair that a local fashion site described as a "retired Army colonel's antique-outfitted study" (we were thinking 19th-century farmhouse with a pop of color for a modern twist). As for the clothes, Louisiana-born-and-bred Reid's designs for men and women are tailored and refined, but in a distinctly Southern way - crisp and rugged. His sense of style has gone over well in the fashion world well beyond our muggy, swampy slice of the U.S.A. (Reid was named GQ's Best New Designer in America and won the Vogue Fashion Fund Award.) Located a stone's throw from fellow high-end and eponymously named men's boutique Sid Mashburn, Billy Reid is helping Atlanta's Southern gentleman (and hot bartenders) look their best.


1170 Howell Mill Road. 404-994-3144. www.billyreid.com.

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Best fashion on the fly (literally) BOA Award Winner

Bijoux Terner
When you're at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, whether you have an hour to kill before a flight or a several-hour layover, it's like they have you right where they want you. You want a burger and a beer? That'll be 20 bucks, thanks s'much. Gonna buy a book to read? Be prepared to pay full pricemore...
When you're at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, whether you have an hour to kill before a flight or a several-hour layover, it's like they have you right where they want you. You want a burger and a beer? That'll be 20 bucks, thanks s'much. Gonna buy a book to read? Be prepared to pay full price for that paperback. Perhaps a less likely way to waste some time: Do some shopping. Better known as the "everything is $10 store," Bijoux Terner in the T and C terminals is a great place to lose track of time and come perilously close to missing your flight. A wonderful mix of ghetto-gold costume earrings, cute sunglasses, watches, floppy straw hats, and every color pashmina you could ever imagine, Bijoux Terner is so fun to browse and even to buy a last-minute gift for the friend you'll be crashing with during your time out of town. Now if only it sold burgers and beer. less...

Best fitness-related peer pressure BOA Award Winner

The Body Firm Atlanta
If your friend jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump, too? What a dumb question our parents used to ask us. Of course we wouldn't. We don't live in New York. BUT, if your friend (or, say, 20 of them - and a big, strong trainer dude) did a gazillion lunges in a public park on a hot afternoon,more...
If your friend jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump, too? What a dumb question our parents used to ask us. Of course we wouldn't. We don't live in New York. BUT, if your friend (or, say, 20 of them - and a big, strong trainer dude) did a gazillion lunges in a public park on a hot afternoon, would you lunge, too? The answer is yes, at least if you invested in a four-week boot camp in Piedmont Park led by the Body Firm Atlanta. Lead trainer Dez White, a former wide receiver for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the Chicago Bears, and our own Atlanta Falcons, says his plan is to push people to reach their personal fitness goals by figuring out where they're starting - whether they're fitness beginners or advanced exercisers. His rates are reasonable, too: $75 for four weeks of training. (There are other locations, mostly OTP, and programs that vary in price.) "Peer pressure" has a negative connotation, but when you feel like giving up, it sure is helpful to have people beside you urging you on. Not as painful as jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, but you'll feel the burn. www.thebodyfirmatl.com. less...

Best haircut with history BOA Award Winner

Silver Moon Barber Shop
Opened in 1904, Silver Moon Barber Shop has laid claim to being the "Oldest Black Shop in Atlanta." While the once-bustling street has seen hard times, with most of the historic buildings losing their luster, the inside of the barbershop has held up over the years. The ambiance radiates the past, frommore...
Opened in 1904, Silver Moon Barber Shop has laid claim to being the "Oldest Black Shop in Atlanta." While the once-bustling street has seen hard times, with most of the historic buildings losing their luster, the inside of the barbershop has held up over the years. The ambiance radiates the past, from the old-school barber chairs to the mirrors that line the walls. Silver Moon is noisy at the moment due to streetcar construction right outside its door - but it's noise that's accompanied by the promise of good things (hopeful) to come for embattled Sweet Auburn. The past heroes of the avenue might not recognize anything were they to walk along the corridor, but they would remember Silver Moon. During the 107 years that a barber's pole has hung outside Silver Moon Barber Shop many things have changed, but inside Sweet Auburn still thrives. less...

Best local boutique BOA Award Winner

free fab'rik Boutique (Permanently Closed)
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best pet pampering BOA Award Winner

Glamour Paws Pet Boutique (Permanently Closed)
There are several good things about dog clothes. For one thing, they're impossibly small and often feature pet-related puns written in rhinestones. For another thing, they go on dogs. Adorable, fur-covered, small dogs that smell like perfumes instead of dog stink! Glamour Paws was already a great placemore...
There are several good things about dog clothes. For one thing, they're impossibly small and often feature pet-related puns written in rhinestones. For another thing, they go on dogs. Adorable, fur-covered, small dogs that smell like perfumes instead of dog stink! Glamour Paws was already a great place to get dogs clean and then get them dressed, then this year it moved to an even larger location just a few doors down from its old space on North Highland Avenue in Virginia-Highland. Besides full-service fancy dog grooming, dog attire, treats, leashes, and collars, it now sells premium pet foods, too, so it really is an upscale one-stop pet shop. And as potentially disastrous as it sounds, it also offers paw primping and prettying for cats. If you're looking to save some money on grooming (so you have more to spend on dog costumes) Glamour Paws offers self-doggy washes for only $10 on Sundays. less...

Best thrift store BOA Award Winner

Goodwill on Northside Drive
The opening of a new thrift store is cause for celebration. If you're a weekly or even every-other-weekly thrifter, your old tried-and-true spots tend to get to a point where you can flip through the racks and recognize the very same clothes you saw last time. It's a bummer. The Goodwill on Northsidemore...
The opening of a new thrift store is cause for celebration. If you're a weekly or even every-other-weekly thrifter, your old tried-and-true spots tend to get to a point where you can flip through the racks and recognize the very same clothes you saw last time. It's a bummer. The Goodwill on Northside Drive (just west of Atlantic Station) has been a welcome - and spankin' new - addition to our thrift rotation. Opened in March, the familiar chain of charity shops' new location is huge and has Goodwill's standard flat pricing. (Men's shirts are a flat price, dresses are a flat price, etc.) So, you can occasionally find high-end, designer pieces hidden on a rack next to a bunch of Fruit of the Loom "Spring Break '98" T-shirts - and for the same exact price. Shoes are the exception to the rule, so designer pairs in good condition will likely end up on the fancy rack with individual prices based on their fanciness. Also cause for celebration: By simply spending money, you're helping people with employment issues get their lives back on track. Used clothes. New store. New lives. less...

Best vet BOA Award Winner

East Atlanta Animal Clinic
If you're in a veterinarian's office, there are a couple things that are pretty much guaranteed. One, you have a pet who you care about at least a little bit. Two, said pet is upset, either because he's got the runs or some skin thing, or because going to the vet is a thing dogs and cats aren't generallymore...
If you're in a veterinarian's office, there are a couple things that are pretty much guaranteed. One, you have a pet who you care about at least a little bit. Two, said pet is upset, either because he's got the runs or some skin thing, or because going to the vet is a thing dogs and cats aren't generally huge fans of. There's only so much you can do to ease your pet's mind - reasoning with them works for shit - but the doctors and nurses at East Atlanta Animal Clinic are awfully good at easing an owner's mind. You know when you can just tell people love their job? Besides being friendly, knowledgeable, and reasonably priced, it's obvious that all who work there love their job. If they don't, they're great actors and it has the same palliative effect, so oh well. Besides the usual check-ups, shots, and lab work (which is nice and quick because they have their own in-house lab), East Atlanta's vets offer preventative care, behavioral help, and alternative therapies like acupuncture and Tui Na massage. less...

Best culinary time machine BOA Award Winner

La Grotta Ristorante
In 1982, one food critic described La Grotta as "simply the finest Italian restaurant in Atlanta and one of the city's best restaurants of any kind." The beef carpaccio and any dish made with veal were the restaurants specialties. For dessert, fresh berries and cream. Thirty years later, the veal, themore...
In 1982, one food critic described La Grotta as "simply the finest Italian restaurant in Atlanta and one of the city's best restaurants of any kind." The beef carpaccio and any dish made with veal were the restaurants specialties. For dessert, fresh berries and cream. Thirty years later, the veal, the carpaccio, and even the berries - although now they're served with vanilla gelato - are still the restaurant's mainstays. Sergio Favalli, along with chef Antonio Abizanda, opened La Grotta in 1978, and to this day, La Grotta is where they both remain. Longevity and consistency over the years set this time capsule of a restaurant apart from every other restaurant in the city. Where else can you find a chef on a 34-year run at the same restaurant? less...

Best dim sum BOA Award Winner

Canton House

Best farm on wheels BOA Award Winner

Farm Mobile
We feel a little nostalgic whenever we see the bright green Farm Mobile truck pull up to our Main Street or local park. It reminds us of a simpler time when neighborhood moms would run out with a handful of change to meet the bread trucks that wandered down our block each week. Just as friendly, themore...
We feel a little nostalgic whenever we see the bright green Farm Mobile truck pull up to our Main Street or local park. It reminds us of a simpler time when neighborhood moms would run out with a handful of change to meet the bread trucks that wandered down our block each week. Just as friendly, the Farm Mobile folks post daily specials on a chalkboard. Skim it before climbing the steps into the back of the truck, making your way past bins stocked with organic and seasonal produce. Other offerings include: H&F breads, free-range eggs, and sustainable meats (grass-fed beef, Berkshire pork, and chicken from White Oak Pastures), which you'll find once you gently squeeze by your neighbor and make your way to the freezer near the front. They also carry their own line of grits, polenta, and cornmeal, plus artisanal cheeses and pesto. Basically, you'll find all the fixings for a great meal in one stop. The mobile grocer, based out of Riverview Farms in Northwest Georgia, is constantly making the rounds in metro Atlanta, keeping customers up-to-date on its whereabouts via Facebook and Twitter. It's a lot easier than chasing after that old bread truck. www.grassfedcow.com/farmmobile. less...

Best frozen yogurt BOA Award Winner

Yoforia (Permanently Closed)
And multiple metro Atlanta locations.

Best patio for hoisting a brew BOA Award Winner

The Midway Pub
It's huge. Like, more than 25 tables and booths of varying sizes huge. So huge, that you'll almost never have to wait for a spot to sit down, though you may end up at opposite ends of a long table with a pair of strangers. But that's also one of the many charms of the Midway Pub patio - lots of smilingmore...
It's huge. Like, more than 25 tables and booths of varying sizes huge. So huge, that you'll almost never have to wait for a spot to sit down, though you may end up at opposite ends of a long table with a pair of strangers. But that's also one of the many charms of the Midway Pub patio - lots of smiling faces there to enjoy a beer (or three), just like you. More than just dog-friendly, Midway's staff and patio are downright dog-enthusiastic, all warm smiles, water bowls, and welcoming words of admiration. A wooden overhang protects from sun and precipitation, and it's adorned with assorted greenery. In fact, Midway boasts some of the finest bar plants around: succulents, evergreens, herbs (that are used in Midway's food), and various viney, flowering specimens that are going to be a joy to watch develop in the years to come. With 32 rotating drafts, more than 100 bottles, and a food selection that goes beyond standard pub grub, you might want to bring a sleeping bag - it's a little too easy to make yourself at home on this concrete slab. less...

Best chapter in Atlanta's LGBTQ story BOA Award Winner

Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse
The final chapter closed on Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse on January 28, 2012, ending the bookstore's 18-year reign as a crucial focal point and gathering spot for Atlanta's LGBTQ communities and their supporters. Phillip Rafshoon opened Outwrite in 1993 in the Midtown Promenade shopping centermore...
The final chapter closed on Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse on January 28, 2012, ending the bookstore's 18-year reign as a crucial focal point and gathering spot for Atlanta's LGBTQ communities and their supporters. Phillip Rafshoon opened Outwrite in 1993 in the Midtown Promenade shopping center before moving it to its larger and final location at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in 1996, helping transform that corner from dreary intersection to bustling destination. The shop, its porch, and even the sidewalk outside became memorable gathering spots for readings, meetings, vigils, celebrations, and protests. Outwrite drew a steady stream of visitors, neighborhood regulars, and gay youth looking for a safe place to meet, have coffee, and chat. There were book-signings by celebrities including RuPaul, Star Jones, Greg Louganis, Chelsea Handler, Roseanne Barr, and Chastity Bono. Outwrite also hosted a steady stream of literary giants such as Armistead Maupin, David Sedaris, Edmund White, and Alan Hollinghurst. Despite its popularity, Outwrite faced the challenges shared by many independent bookstores in recent years. Rising rents, the economic downturn, and changes in the way people buy and read books eventually forced the shop to close for good. Outwrite acted as a crucial hub for the LGBQT community and helped the city earn its title as the Gay Capital of the South. less...


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