On a 6-acre farm in rural Georgia, Bella Cucina owner Alisa Barry and her team of chefs cook produce from their organic garden into small batches of artisanal sauces, spreads, and olive oils. Their "unbelievably delicious" artichoke-lemon pesto earned a spot on Oprah’s O List in 2004, and Atlanta: 365 Days, 365 Thing To Do calls the full roster of sauces "mouthwatering."
But the food is only one part of Barry’s mission to empower gourmands. She also stocks shelves with dozens of Italian cookbooks that brim with slow-food recipes and designs a line of ceramic cookware that respond to junk food by defensively sealing their lids.
In 1975, four friends with hearts full of the great outdoors decided they needed a place to get gear indoors. This quest for adventuring equipment lead Bubba Sloan, Gerald Marshall, Denny Mays, and Ned Buxton to found High Country Outfitters as a gear shop for all manner of activities performed under the sun. These days, Bubba runs the retail side of things in Buckhead, while Gerald continues to captain daring cruises down the Ocoee River's relentless rapids. The store kits out customers for safe communing with nature with tools and togs from manufacturers including The North Face, Patagonia, and Big Green Egg, whose verdantly painted smoker grill creates hot meals in the midst of a long trip or particularly boring wait in the airport. Meanwhile, guides lead expeditionary parties along on waterborne trips down the Middle and Upper Ocoee’s burbling banks, recapturing the sun-dappled fun that inspired the store's creation in the first place.
Chef Chris Borden has sliced, diced, and sizzled up countless gourmet dishes for more than 17 years. A master of making fine food on a tight caloric budget, Borden's career spans work at establishments ranging from luxurious country clubs to diet-conscious healthcare facilities. At Fresh 'n Fit Cuisine, he's backed by a highly trained culinary team and a registered dietitian, all of whom work to make the finest meals no matter what the client's nutritional needs. Borden uses fresh ingredients, shying away from the frozen, dehydrated, or astronaut-friendly ones often used in other premade meals.
The menus rotate regularly, and meet the guidelines set by the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the American Cancer Society. After Chef Borden and his team prepare the dishes within a USDA-approved kitchen, they’ll prep them for pickup at one of Fresh ‘n Fit’s 79 area locations.
Celebrated for its meticulous reporting of nearby and national affairs, as well as its lengthy opinion section, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution conveys informational nuggets to curious brains. Sports features refresh loyal SEC football fans’ memories of difficult fight-song choreography, and business and opinion pieces act as a better morning digestive than biscuits and paint chips. Extensive local coverage ranging from city politics to transportation issues keeps Atlantans informed of events in their vicinity. The hefty Sunday edition provides ample entertainment for sleepy weekends, with subscribers also benefiting from exclusive deals from local businesses and advance notice of local arts and lifestyle events.
With locations spread throughout the South, Paper Affair gives patrons easy access to a vast selection of imprintables. A knowledgeable team guides clients through colorful corridors of stationery by brands such as Bella Ink, Inviting Company, and Crane & Co., selecting the best announcements to serve as a tasteful alternative to trumpet fanfare, or baby shower stationary that runs the gamut from silly to sweet. To complement the range of paper goods, staffers also stock shelves with useful gifts such as coasters and guest towels, as well as custom napkins that let guests know exactly whom to thank for stuffing the turkey with fluffernutters.
At Hop City Craft Beer and Wine, staff members weave through a forest of bottle-lined shelves and coolers, seeking out perennial favorites or new, hidden gems for each customer. In addition to more than 1,700 varieties of beer, Hop City features an assortment of specialty grains, yeasts, and hops for home brewing, earning it a World-Class rating from Beer Advocate. As many as 60 functional taps line one of the store's walls, allowing patrons to fill growlers with their choice of macro- or microbrew, such as the Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA or the Avery Czar Imperial Russian stout. Divided by style and California Raisin content, a nearly 800-bottle-strong wine selection fills its own impressive space.