Delicious evolutions of people and what they build, eat and dream
WRITTEN BY SHELLEY SKILES SAWYER
PHOTOGRAPHY BY KYLE RIPLEY, HAIGWOOD STUDIOS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY KYLE RIPLEY, HAIGWOOD STUDIOS
Revival of the Fittest: If Walls Could Talk … We Might Not Want to Listen!
While few buildings attain the status of landmark, given enough time the rest slowly slip into something much less than originally intended. But thanks to those hardy sorts with vision willing to brave lead paint, crumbling structures, ancient wiring and miles of red tape, Atlanta suffers no shortage of spaces fully loaded with an equal measure of patina and soul. Turn-of-the-century plow factories (King Plow Arts Center); warrens of cotton warehouse space (Ormsby’s); long-quieted slaughter houses (Marcel); even yawning department stores (Ponce City Market) are once again welcoming the masses. We’ve come such a long way from repurposing that quaint corner gas station (insert dime-a-dozen taco joint here). Below, a couple second-act standouts get the attention they deserve.
No matter what opinion you hold about the infamous multi-story blonde-brick structure in Poncey-Highland — if you have one at all — what’s happening there now should be applauded. Built in 1924 as the Bonaventure Arms Apartments to house Ford Motor Co. employees, it reopened in 1939 as The Clermont Hotel and things got “interesting” over the years. With its colorful clientele, including lots of musicians and roadies; a scandalous Clermont Lounge around back with stiff drinks and “clothing optional” policies for some of the workers; a reputation as a hotbed for progressive thought; and progressively crumbling digs which eventually led to the hotel’s shuttering in 2009, it’s a miracle someone saw something worth saving.
Fast-forward to spring of 2018, after a switch up in the name (“Hotel” comes first now), a major facelift inside and out, an infusion of seasoned industry talent and the addition of destination-worthy food and drink, the 94-room Hotel Clermont rises like a phoenix from the ashes.
When Southbound opened in the spring of 2014, history was made — again — in the two-story structure situated in downtown Chamblee just a biscuit’s throw from the train tracks. Renovations and restaurants are both notoriously challenging endeavors, but owner Mike Plumber was willing to take a chance on both, repurposing a building that would eventually house the restaurant of his dreams, serving what he calls “creative Southern comfort cuisine.”
The free-standing structure was built in the 1880s in an area then known as Roswell Junction, at the junction of the Norfolk Southern Railroad and Roswell Railroad lines. “It was a feed, seed and general store,” explains Plumber. Eventually a post office was added to the mix. “It’s all kind of tricky since there aren’t any records. I’m just going off what the old timers who come in here have told me. A lot of what you see on the internet is wrong,” he says. Beginning in the early 1900s, the Masons held their meetings upstairs, and over the years five other buildings sprang up around the original, including, supposedly, a brothel next door.
Excerpt is from an article featured in the SPRING issue of Flavors Magazine, subscribe today and don't miss a single issue!
Woodfire-Grilled Salmon with Swiss Chard and Tahini Salad, Tomato and Cucumber
Recipe by Bethany Colvin, Executive Chef, Southbound
Yield: 2 servings
2 7–8 ounce salmon fillets
salt and pepper to taste
Tahini Dressing (recipe included)
Swiss Chard Salad (recipe included)
Tomato Cucumber Salad (recipe included)
Heat grill to high. Season fish with salt and pepper to taste and grill according to desired doneness. Meanwhile, prepare Tahini Dressing and both salads. To serve, toss Swiss Chard Salad with 2 tablespoons Tahini Dressing. Divide onto 2 plates, top each with grilled fillet and top that with Tomato Cucumber Salad.
1/2 cup well-stirred tahini
6 ounces fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon agave
For the Tahini Dressing
In a blender, combine all ingredients and 1/2 cup water and puree until smooth. Tahini may thicken in the blender; stir and add additional water if needed. Refrigerate remaining dressing 5 to 7 days.
Swiss Chard Salad
1 pound Swiss chard with stems, rinsed
1 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 shallot, sliced thin
3 tablespoons toasted pepitas
For the Swiss Chard Salad
Strip leaves from stems of Swiss chard and separate. Cut and discard bottom inch of stems. Dice remaining stems and place into a bowl. Heat vinegar, 1/2 cup water, sugar, and salt until they are well incorporated and dissolved. Pour liquid over stems and let it sit about 20 minutes, or until liquid has cooled and stems have a pickled flavor. Stack chard leaves on top of one another, roll tightly lengthwise, and cut across into 1/2- inch strips. Strain off pickling liquid from stems. Combine chard leaves and stems with remaining ingredients and set aside until ready to serve.
Tomato Cucumber Salad
1/2 shallot, sliced thin
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 bunch basil, chiffonade
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chiffonade
1 English cucumber, sliced into half moons
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
For the Tomato/Cucumber Salad
In a bowl, mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined. Set aside until ready to serve.
5394 Peachtree Road, Chamblee