Chamblee is once again up and coming, and resident Bejay Osby couldn't be prouder. Osby moved in five years ago, when the current uptick was taking root with the development of new apartments, condos, and shops. But Chamblee is a place where mom-and-pop stores are still the rule, where you can while away a day browsing the antiques in a chockablock collection of shops. The stretch of Peachtree Road that makes up the heart of Chamblee has long been known for its antiques row, a relative oasis of charm nestled between the chaotic commerciality that is Peachtree Boulevard and the cacophonous diversity of Buford Highway. But it's the relative newcomers such as Le Caveau Fine Wines or the soon-to-open Southbound restaurant that Osby hopes will help make Chamblee a recognized destination for far more than antiques.
"Chamblee's foundation of wide-ranging diversity, cultural richness, and interesting infrastructure make it ideal for growth and development, but we've also been able to maintain the town's historic character and charm," Osby says.
Osby, a fourth grade teacher at Sarah Smith Elementary in nearby Buckhead, likes to show off Chamblee's charms by taking visiting friends for a walk through town. Osby can walk right out of his loft, a stone's throw from the Chamblee MARTA stop, and soon hit Le Caveau Fine Wines and neighboring Maison Robert. That dynamic duo of wine and chocolate works well as the linchpin of any visit to Chamblee, but a walk down Peachtree offers many other temptations as well. As you head up the road, you'll soon hit Vintage Pizzeria, which does a great job balancing a family-friendly environment on one side and a sometimes-raucous bar on the other. Directly across the street is the Frosty Caboose, an ice cream shop housed inside an old train car. It's a worthy stop to fortify oneself for a few hours of antique browsing, or maybe as a reward after securing a great deal on something old and rare.
Osby likes to kick the antiquing off with a shop that puts Restoration Hardware to shame: Eugenia's Antique Hardware, a treasure trove of knobs and knockers, not a reproduction in sight. Then it's on to the Ice House, the Antique Factory (pictured right), and more. It's a mere half-mile from Maison Robert on one end of the Chamblee stretch to the Antique Factory at the heart of it, and less than a mile in all to Dryads Dancing, a too cute boutique full of crafty décor made from salvaged wood.
After the antiques, Osby suggests a pit stop at Union Hill Kitchen for a pre-dinner cocktail, then on back home carrying an interesting Cru Beaujolais from Le Caveau and some desserts from Maison Robert. For entertaining, Osby is partial to the rotisserie duck or pork belly he picks up from Hoa Binh Supermarket nearby (a short drive down to Buford Highway), but neighborhood mom-and-pop restaurants like the relocated Au Rendez-Vous Bistro or Himalayas Indian Restaurant also show off Chamblee's diversity. The choices are many and, as Osby notes, getting better and better as Chamblee continues to add layers of new shine to its antique-lined roads.
Le Caveau Fine Wines
One of Atlanta's best little wine shops, with an eclectic range of choices to make any wine fan happy - unless, that is, you're a fan of generic-tasting corporate wine. Le Caveau stands out when it comes to organic, biodynamic, and natural wines, with a heavy tilt to the Old World. Let owner Eric Brown be your guide. A small but well-chosen beer fridge also stands at the ready. 5256 Peachtree Road, Suite 102. 770−837−0710. www.lecaveauwine.com.
Since 1977, Maison Robert has been a destination for pastry and chocolate. This family-run shop excels in sweets such as chocolate-dipped almond or coconut macaroons, but also offers a few delightfully simple sandwiches, including ham and Swiss on house-baked croissant, and stellar quiche by the slice or whole to go. 5256 Peachtree Road, Suite 110. 770-454-6442. www.maisonrobertchocolates.com.
A bright-red caboose in spitting distance from the train tracks serves as Chamblee's ongoing ice cream social, with families hanging out on warm nights and weekends. The ice cream comes in mostly traditional flavors like butter pecan and coffee almond fudge, and is made just down the road at the Greenwood Ice Cream factory. 5435 Peachtree Road. 770-451-4556. www.frostycaboose.com.
The Antique Factory is a lot like Chamblee's version of Paris on Ponce - a vast expanse of the unusual and curious and decidedly not traditional. The ever-rotating collection features mostly 20th-century collectibles, furnishings, and oddities, with plenty of Art Deco and Art Nouveau style. 5505 Peachtree Road. 770-455-7570. www.antiquefactory.net.
This boutique at the northern end of the Chamblee antiques district features fanciful furniture and décor made by the owners from reclaimed and salvaged wood. They've also done custom work for a few restaurants and bars around town, including the lovely table that graces the interior of Le Caveau down the road. 5655 Peachtree Road. 770-234-0096. www.dryadsdancing.com.
The Ice House
Plenty of mid-century furnishings and accessories give the Ice House a decidedly 1950s feel. If you want to replicate the rainbow-hued splendor of a '50s kitchen, the Ice House also carries the retro-style appliances made by Big Chill that can help liberate your inner June Cleaver. 5441 Peachtree Road. 770-451-8779. www.icehousechamblee.com.
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