Welcome to “A Minute In …” — a BGS feature that turns our favorite artists into hometown reporters. In our latest column, Atlanta, Georgia’s Shawn Mullins takes us on a tour of his favorite places for Thai food, street musicians, and bike trails in the city’s Little Five Points neighborhood.
I grew up a few miles east of downtown Atlanta in Decatur, Georgia, but from the time I was about 12, I started going to Little Five Points. It’s the artistic center of the whole city in my opinion. Homeless painters, street musicians, prophets, preachers, and poets all converge here. — Shawn Mullins
Flying Biscuit: Just east of Little Five Points, a few blocks down McLendon Avenue, is the best breakfast joint in the city — the original Flying Biscuit Café. Breakfast all day, all the time! Absolutely the best biscuit ever made. Sorry, grandma! I used to eat breakfast here every single morning, for years actually. It’s a really fun way to gain 30 pounds!
Aurora Coffee: After you eat at “the Biscuit,” you’re going to need some caffeine (or a nap). Up the hill and in the heart of Little Five Points next to Junkman’s Daughter is Aurora Coffee. This is probably my favorite coffee shop in the neighborhood. Lots of tables and a long bar for sitting and reading, or just enjoying a locally roasted, delicious cup of coffee.
L5P: With a to-go cup of Aurora Coffee in hand, you can walk south a block or so into the heart and soul of Little Five Points. Here you’ll find some funky shops, bars, and restaurants.
The Beltline: If you’re on a bicycle (although if you’re just visiting I don’t recommend it — you’re not in Portland, remember) … but if you do like to cycle around, you can take the Freedom Path and the Beltline to check out Little Five Points and other surrounding neighborhoods.
Sevananda: Lunch anyone? Sevananda is an old-school vegetarian grocery store that includes a great hot bar and lots of take-out veggie food. This is my favorite staple lunch spot in Little Five!
Freedom Park: Take your lunch to-go from Sevananda and walk a few blocks north down Moreland Avenue until you see a huge park on your right. This is Freedom Park. It’s a great place to sit under an old oak tree and have a picnic. Lots of kite flying on a nice breezy day. One of many great green spaces in my city.
Criminal Records: If you’re in search of some good music on vinyl or CD, Criminal Records is one of the best record stores still left on this planet. They’ve got new and used CDs, vinyl, and tons of comics. It’s an awesome store!
Wax N Facts: Another great record store is Wax N Facts. This is an old-school vinyl record store. If you like records, old ones especially, you’ve got to go to Wax N Facts, it even smells like old records, as it should.
Thai 5: After a nap in the park you might get hungry. Thai 5 restaurant a couple doors down from Criminal Records is my favorite Thai restaurant in Atlanta. Although it is not the quickest, the food is always worth the wait!
Variety Playhouse: If you need some great live music, cross Euclid Avenue, walk down about a block or so, and check out the Variety Playhouse. This newly renovated theater is my favorite music venue in Atlanta, and my parents used to go see movies there back in the ’40s and ’50s when it was the old Euclid Theater.
Back home: When I’m not hanging out in Little Five Points, I love to write music. My little home studio is where it happens. It’s just a small, quiet room with lots of light and lots of instruments — a perfect space for a creative spirit.
All photos by Shawn Mullins, except lede photo by David McClister.