Ria was a town character as much as a chef. She was kind, funny, and had a powerful sense of the campy and the kitschy. There were flashes of it all over Sauced, from the paneling to 50s-style lamps and taxidermy. As I recollect, years earlier she operated a restaurant in Little Five Points whose decor duplicated that of a mobile home.
Ria was into the punk scene and was a co-founder of MondoHomo, a queer arts and music festival (that was discontinued after its sixth year in 2012). Ria and I agreed in several conversations that queer culture needs to be nurtured and developed despite the increasing assimilation of the LGBQT population. MondoHomo also explored ways that art can facilitate political change - something you rarely see in Atlanta.
As it happens Donnie Reider, another organizer of MondoHomo, died in November too. Ria cooked for his memorial gathering.
I live very near Ria's Bluebird and recall its opening 14 years ago. It launched the revitalization of commercial buildings at the corner of Memorial Drive at Cherokee Ave. Over the years, the diner's lunch and breakfast dishes have grown more inventive, but Ria remained famous for her pancakes - something she complained about on "Chopped." She wanted to demonstrate her broader skills.
Ria was one of those people who proved that eccentricity is not a liability. It is an asset and should be cultivated. I'm sure Charles Bukowski would have approved of her when he wrote, "Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead."
(A celebration is planned Friday, Dec 13, at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points. The AJC has plenty of pictures from last Saturday's graveside services at Westview Cemetery. More than 1,000 people attended.)
One doughnut from each shop is definitely a weird way to do this Smackdown. It…
"vegan goodness" -- oxymoron of the day.
Doughnuts are the new cupcakes are the new popcorn are the new popsicles.
I agree with both posters - they're frickin donuts! And as far as the low…
Great post, but you forgot Dutch Monkey!
I give you an Incomplete on this assignment. Where is Dutch Monkey donuts?