This east DeKalb enclave has become something of a post-hipster nesting place — or, as one resident described it, “a punk rock retirement village.” Due to the proximity of the International Rescue Committee, which helps refugees establish stable homes, Clarkston’s also a melting pot of eastern European, African and Middle Eastern communities.
Thumbs Up is a breakfast joint whose weekend waits are worth braving. Nutty whole wheat biscuits and nicely composed egg scrambles are served to one of the town's most wonderfully integrated dining crowds. Prepare to wait on the weekends, as the whole neighborhood seems to descend here to recover from their sins at Sister Louisa's Church.
Jeff Varasano, software engineer, Rubik’s cube champion, and self-made pizza guru, has a lot to live up to when his restaurant opened. Previously, Varasano had been holding pizza parties in his Buckhead home that attracted hoards of foodies, as well as the New York Times. His pizza is, for the most part, blatantly delicious. The crust is thin — crispy but not cracker-like. The bottom is kissed by a mottled black patina, which makes the chewy-to-crispy ratio just right.
Authentically Japanese, from the pristine fish to the clean, spare light wood decor to the bottles of sake and sochu lined up behind the chef. Some of the best dishes are only found through word of mouth, such as the fabulous monkfish liver in ponzu sauce, or the salmon roe marinated in rice wine. The owner, Atsushi "Art" Hayakawa, is meticulous with his knife skills, slicing and dicing fish flown in daily from Japan. The restaurant only serves dinner, but stays open late — until midnight on Friday for those craving sashimi well into the night.
It's rare for a place to be so hip and so comfortable. This one has an industrial vibe, a cool-but-not-too-cool staff, locally produced art on the walls, pastries and cookies from Alon's and, of course, well-crafted coffee drinks and high-quality teas. Of particular note: Octane's French press coffees and award-winning baristas.
This 26-acre urban nature preserve includes about 2 miles of trails, as well as a team-building ropes course, and a children’s nature-themed playground. Among the learning facilities are a tree house classroom, a 650-gallon freshwater aquarium, and a multipurpose building. Adjacent to the facility is a community-run vegetable garden.
Eclectic venue for hip-hop, spoken-word poetry, and up-and-coming soul artists. Home to Wednesday night jam sessions featuring a live band and open mic for vocalists to join in. Street parking available.
A local blues, jazz, and roots institution that's been around for more than 25 years. The North Highland Avenue storefront, with its signature guitar-wielding neon alligator, has persevered through an unpredictable economy on the strength of the roots-based music that regularly fills the dimly lit room.
Established in 1979 with city, state and federal funds, the 120-acre woodland and former Creek Indian settlement features steep inclines, a babbling creek, a waterfall, and is home to deer and more than 150 native plant species. It includes an old spring house where tourists once bathed and the remains of a quarry that produced materials to build nearby homes.