Ten miles south of Atlanta lie the Tri-Cities: College Park, East Point, and Hapeville. Nestled beside the world’s busiest airport and linked by a shared high school where Big Boi and Andre 3000 met back in the early ’90s, the cities run deep with history, small-town vibes, and storied architecture.
The recession hit the Tri-Cities area especially hard, but residents attest that they’re now in the midst of a renaissance. “I’ve seen a lot of the transformation,” says Kathleen ‘Wineaux Kat’ McQueen, who moved to College Park in 2008 “just before the bubble burst and everything came to a dead halt.” McQueen says that over the past few years, the cities have come back to life.
Indeed, those who have only passed blindly through on a MARTA trip to Hartsfield-Jackson might be surprised by the Tri-Cities’ walkability and charm. New restaurants, boutiques, and urban gardens with a focus on community-driven development have replaced vacant storefronts along the time-honored tree-lined Main Street connecting College Park and East Point.
One of these restaurants is Urban Foodie Feed Store (3841 Main St., College Park, 404-209-7979, www.urbanfoodie-eats.com), which McQueen and her business partner, executive chef Michele Tompkins, took over, revamped, and renamed just last year. Housed in a century-old brick building, Tompkins serves up re-imagined farm-to-table Southern classics while McQueen crafts cocktails.
Here, Tompkins and McQueen share their favorite culinary destinations in the community they call home. Read it and eat, y’all.
Garage turned gastropub with an outdoor patio and trivia nights.
M&K say: “Double whammy! Best spot for bar food and where everyone knows your name.”
3403 Main St., College Park. 404-766-1515. www.brakepadatlanta.com.
Teeny taco stand with picnic tables, serving up fresh-to-order Mexican favorites, burgers, and dogs.
M&K say: “A real-deal taco fix. It closes early. Wish it didn’t.”
2957 Main St., East Point. 404-968-4790. www.tacopete.com.
Metro Atlanta Urban Farm
Historic five-acre farm and community garden for affordable, fresh produce
M&K say: “The best place to pick up farm-to-table goodies.”
3271 Main St., College Park. 404-788-2432. www.themetroatlantaurbanfarm.com.
Longtime Hapeville staple serving up Southern pit-style barbecue with low-cost daily lunch specials.
M&K say: “No question. Best turkey ribs.”
856 Virginia Ave., Hapeville. 404-768-0036. www.pitboss-bbq.com.
Modern take on the classic Mediterranean café from the owner of Reynoldstown’s Park Grounds.
M&K say: “Great coffee, gyros, and pastries.”
3387 Main St., College Park. 470-823-4929. www.kafenio3387.com.
Ikhlas Superb Seafood
No-frills Halal joint frying up heaping seafood platters since the ’90s.
M&K say: “Best spot for seafood yummies. And cheap!”
2724 Sylvan Road, East Point. 404-766-2808.
Lov’n It Live
Little vegan bistro with on-site art gallery serving locally grown organic dishes.
M&K say: “Slow food. Abnormally big collards.”
2796 East Point St., East Point. 404-765-9220. www.lovingitlive.com.
Brand-new shop packed with craft beer, wine, mead, and sodas by the glass or growler.
M&K say: “In a nutshell? Beer nirvana.”
587 N. Central Ave., Hapeville. 404-425-9657. www.beergirlatl.com.
Friendly Cajun-inspired restaurant with hearty brunches on weekends.
M&K say: “Best spot for some N’awlins eats. Must have: fresh beignets.”
3823 Main St., College Park. 404-767-1135. www.thecornergrillecollegepark.com.
Hole-in-the-wall fast-food joint serving up a blend of Korean and American classics.
M&K say: “Bite into a Korean taco ... life-changing!”
897 Virginia Ave., Hapeville. 404-767-2757. www.facebook.com/SkinnysWings.
Funky coffee shop featuring house-roasted beans and a secret speakeasy in the back.
M&K say: “A two-in-one deal! And a great place for a first date.”
3719 Main St., College Park. 404-565-2365. www.revcoffee.com.
Homey standby for authentic island fare and fresh juices.
M&K say: “A Caribbean festival in your mouth.”
2879 East Point St., East Point. 404-567-6700. silversdelight.letseat.at.
The Manchester Arms Public House
Historic residence turned British-style pub with house-smoked meats.
M&K say: “Best off-menu entrée: the freakin’ smoked double cut pork chop. It’s huge.”
1705 Virginia Ave., College Park. 404-763-9980. www.themanchesterarms.com.