West Midtown wasn’t actually “born” yesterday. The area’s former days as a steel and rail hub are evident in century-old train tracks, repurposed storage warehouses, and narrow streets that once reverberated with the sounds of horse-drawn carriages. But ask anyone who’s visited West Midtown recently, and they’ll tell you that its heyday is now.
Also known as the Westside or West Midtown Design District, the area northwest of downtown is experiencing a renewal and resurgence that rivals great Atlanta neighborhoods such as Inman Park, East Atlanta and Castleberry Hill. An influx of trend-setting young professionals and creative entrepreneurs has brought new businesses and residential development, pushing West Midtown to the forefront of the culinary, design and urban living scene.
An area known for its creative slant, West Midtown has become home to some of the most innovative and talented chef-restaurateurs in the region. Richard Blais of Top Chef fame opened the first Flip Burger Boutique on Howell Mill Road to joyous praise from critics and diners alike. After two years the crowd still overflows in anticipation of Kobe beef burgers with vodka battered onion rings and Blais’ signature liquid-nitrogen milkshakes. Steven Satterfield, former sous chef of landmark Decatur restaurant Watershed, opened Miller Union in 2009 where he partners with local farmers to serve Southern-inspired, rustic fare prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Other dining delights include 5 Seasons Brewery, Bacchanalia, Figo Pasta, Bocado, West Egg Cafe, Yeah!Burger, Urban PL8, Antico Pizza and new-to-the-neighborhood Yoforia.
Perhaps West Midtown’s most established reputation is as Atlanta’s design and furnishings mecca. Interior designers, decorators and homemakers flock here to purchase swaths of fabric, unique décor and home accessories of all kinds. The iconic Lewis & Sheron Textile Co. was established in 1944 and boasts an astonishing array of gorgeous fabrics and an incredibly knowledgeable staff. For those in the market for furniture, options range from local manufacturers to national brands. Maison Atlanta, Manorism and Room & Board offer pieces to satisfy any design preference. The area is sprinkled with interior and graphic design shops, art studios, galleries, import companies and restoration workshops. Even national retailers are getting in on the action – trendy clothing and home design store Anthropologie recently opened a storefront on Howell Mill Road.
With all the exciting and fashionable places to browse, eat and hang out, it’s only natural that people would want to live here. Young homeowners are renovating early-century cottages and bungalows, while newly built and restored town home and loft communities create a compelling juxtaposition of the old and new. One community that lives up to the Westside design standard is Huff Heights. This boutique community of new three-level town homes features all-brick exteriors, modern interior finishes, full rooftop terraces with outdoor kitchens, and unobstructed views of the Buckhead, Downtown and Galleria skylines.
Perhaps West Midtown is experiencing more of a rebirth, a confirmation of sorts. It has become the next frontier for Atlantans who choose to honor the past but live in the present and embrace the future. It celebrates success through hard work and humble beginnings, and it embraces all who cherish the tasteful, innovative, delicious side of life.
For a complete listing of West Midtown shopping, dining, and living choices visit www.westmidtowndesigndistrict.com.