Sean Fahie's in the middle of a serious decision that will impact our forthcoming tour of Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown.
"Should I bring the bottle, too, or just the flask?" he asks.
The visual artist, designer, writer, and Cabbagetown resident doesn't like to trek the terrain of his neighborhood without infusing his bloodstream with good spirits. Today's drink of choice is the Kraken rum. It's a gorgeous day and we're heading out of Fahie's crib near the intersection of Boulevard and Reinhardt Street. On foot, we have two specific missions: walk to Speakerfoxxx's house in Reynoldstown and find the area's unofficial mayor, Mr. Grumpy.
While the journey starts on narrow Carroll Street, home to the popular cafe of the same name, Village Pizza, a recently Kickstarted Little's Food Store, Milltown Arms Tavern, and more, Sean is quick to point out that it's the people who make this 'hood.
"I love Cabbagetown because of its community," says Fahie, a resident going back four years to his days of living around the corner from the late Ria Pell's digs on Tye Street. "The people make the neighborhood."
And it seems as though those people are always out in droves, beautiful weather permitting. We run into photographer Vek Neal, who lives above Graveside Tattoo and is readying for a bike ride that will include other local artists such as Ruby Velle (sans her band the Soulphonics) and muralist Brandon Sadler.
The cast of Cabbagetown characters isn't complete without a mention of Mr. Grumpy, a resident for more than 25 years. To the Cabbagetown outsider, little is known about the man who drives around in a golf cart. His backyard parties in the spring and summer are the stuff of legend, Fahie says.
A few Kraken swigs, and a mile or so later, we're in front of Mr. Grumpy's house (pictured bottom left) on Powell Street when we hear the voice. "Free books!" In a white pickup truck near his driveway littered with folk art and guarded by two giant Great Danes, Mr. Grumpy motions to the cardboard boxes full of paperbacks.
"Do you mind if we get a photo of you?" Fahie asks.
"No nudes," Mr. Grumpy tells us. "Maybe this will help me find a new boyfriend."
Mr. Grumpy mentions that members of Black Lips live nearby, and that Bertha, the lady with the "Coca-Cola house" (she's become famous for her extensive memorabilia collection), lives around the corner on Berean Avenue.
"Cabbagetown is the best neighborhood — hands down. There isn't an artist here I don't know," he says.
A few blocks away in Reynoldstown, we find Speakerfoxxx (pictured bottom right) at home. In one of the rare moments of her week when she's not spinning records or doing hair, the Dope Girl is in her yard, patching up her old Toyota. She tells us to hop in her car, where Shawty Lo's "Atlanta, GA" is the background music for a quick ride before we stop for hot toddies at ParkGrounds coffee shop.
Speakerfoxxx remembers first discovering Reynoldstown at 17 when she came to see Pell. Now she calls the area home and is still in love with the early 20th-century shotgun houses interspersed with newly built, more modern homes.
"Reynoldstown doesn't fit in with the rest of the surrounding neighborhoods, it's a little broken down, a little forgotten," she says. "That's why I like it."
Speakerfoxxx and Fahie talk future collaborations, and how they're both excited by the influx of ambitious, young artistic types making their way into the area for more than just Chomp and Stomp, Cabbagetown's annual chili cook-off and festival.
"You get an interesting mix of people willing to share ideas and co-mingle in the same neighborhoods," Fahie says.
Sounds like a place worth visiting. Next time, we'll bring the Kraken.
Pups are welcome at this coffee shop that also sells adult beverages. "I hit up the coffee shop/dog park with Daniel from Heroes and Villains. We read on the patio," Speakerfoxxx says. 142 Flat Shoals Ave. 678-528-9901. www.parkgrounds.com.
The hipster haunt has decent bar food (tots) that includes plenty of vegetarian options. "I get drunk at Estoria and they have some good eats," Fahie says. 727 Wylie St. 404-522-0966. www.facebook.com/97Estoria.
Little's Food Store
Beer, wine, produce, and, fingers crossed, the return of some of best (and cheapest) burgers around. "Support Little's and those bomb-ass burgers. This place is a hangover requirement," Fahie says. 198 Carroll St. 404-963-7012. www.littlesfoodstore.com.
Carroll Street Cafe
On Carroll Street, Cabbagetown's main drag, is the quaint Carroll Street Cafe. "Take a lady friend or just a friend to have brunch at Carroll Street Cafe. Trust me," Fahie says. 208 Carroll St. 404-577-2700. www.carrollstreetcabbagetown.com.
Cheap and delicious eggs, biscuits, bacon, grits, and more for breakfast and lunch in Reynoldstown. It's become so popular, you may need to camp out if you want to score a table for brunch. 968 Memorial Drive. 404-222-0455. www.homegrownga.com.