If you venture throughout Atlanta to find ethnic foods that taste great, you'll find two types. The first is the four-star restaraunt with red carpet service, well-articulated waiters, and decor that would make Paris Hilton marvel.
The other type of establishment is a Madras Sarvana Bhavan. With tasty, authentic food, MSB is most always packed for dinner, and with good reason. A purely vegetarian restaraunt located a few miles from downtown Decatur, MSB is one of those spots locals prefer and few outside of Atlanta know of.
The ambience is cafeteria-like, although it is a full sit-down-service venue. The service is what prevents MSB from climbing in stars; the waiters are absent for 90% of the meal, so if you eat a chili pepper, expect to wait 10 to 15 minutes to flag one of your servers while your tongue sizzles and slowly dies.
Other than the lacking service, MSB also has a delectable paan bar (ask about that after-dinner special while you're there). Few of Atlanta's South Asian restaraunts have yet to break the service barrier, and MSB is no exception.
PROS: Pure South-Indian vegetarian cuisine with few rivals in the city
CONS: Service is as non-existent as hamburgers and steak
1. Short on cash?
2. Knowledgeable on your instruments?
3. Unable to go on without starting a garage band?
4. Giving up on your dreams of a rock star and want some money back?
This is the place for you. Dirt Cheep buys your old instruments as well as offers several for sale. There are few places where you can buy a $100 Fender, and even fewer places that will take the beat-up guitar you and your buddies smashed when you got drunk and pretended to be The Who.
PROS: Great prices, buy backs galore!
CONS: Selection limited to the remants of Joe Rockstar's broken dreams
Aamco is a name I'd trust. Our '96 Town & Country had broken down, and we were faced with rebuilding or replacing our transmission altogether.
Something was wrong with our planetary gear, a part I had never heard of before. I spent no more than 10 minutes talking to Aamco on the phone when they told me it would make more sense just to go back to the dealership. They could have told me otherwise and could have also attempted to undercut the dealership, but they were concerned for the mileage I'd get for my money. I estimate that Aamco saved me in the neighborhood of $2,000 by sending me back to the dealership, and I'm still grateful.
PROS: First-class service
CONS: I couldn't return the favor
I baby my car, and I'd do just about anything to keep it running smoothly. However, I'm a bit skeptical when it comes to trusting my SUV to a technician.
I've been to Meineke before, and the technicians were honest and to the point. The work area is clean, the workers never smoke while talking to me, and they show me what they're talking about when prescribing work.
My only gripe and the reason I didn't leave my car with Meineke was that their labor charges were a little more than Midas. The $1200 shock and strut replacement job at Midas would have cost me in the neighborhood of $1500 at Meineke, and Meineke doesn't even offer a lifetime guarantee on the repairs they would've made.
PROS: Honest work, completely unintimidating environment
CONS: Just a little more expensive than its competitors
Whether you're looking for incense, rosewater, or Cadbury chocolates, this is the place to go. With a great paan bar, an up-to-date DVD selection featuring Bollywood's latest and greatest, and elusive British-brand foodstuffs, Super Bombay Bazaar is tops in Decatur.
PROS: Visible location, plenty of Indo-Pak goodies stocked
CONS: You can't leave without smelling like the store for the rest of the day
Looking to become a rock star? Ken Stanton has a decent range of low-priced guitars, amps, pickups, and cases to get you on your way. They have a room dedicated to wailing on 6 strings, and whether you're an aspiring ax-man or ax-woman, or if you're looking to rip on an electric bass, this is your place to hang out.
So if you want to play like Flock of Seagulls but want to pass on the ridiculous hair, give Ken Stanton a closer look!
PROS: Everything from D'Addario to Thomastik
CONS: They stick to the rock set (drums, bass, guitar) and brass only
Like most younger cigar smokers, I pretend to know what I'm talking about. I try to use the cigar terms like "pull," "nose", and "dollop" when people talk to me about a good smoke.
But I really don't know much. I do, however, know that my favorite cigar is a $6 Partagas. And the classy associates at Cigar Emporium know how to show me new cigars without snickering at my naivete.
Their selection is broad, from Macanudos to Dominican Cohiba torpedos. Check them out!
PROS: All the stuff you could want to smoke behind your mother's back
CONS: None--once you grow up, there's more selection to choose from!
Located in Buckhead, Lefont Theatres plays great international and indie films. I had the privilege of seeing City of God, and was more than pleased that Lefont existed. They have programs that tell you the up and coming movies for the week, and feature everything from Bollywood to Brazil.
It's not high-tech, it's not commercialized at all. It's low-key, and it exists to show pictures. So if you want IMAX, go to IMAX. If you want tasteful, thought-provoking cinema, check out Lefont.
PROS: They play the best in world cinema and independent production
CONS: They only play one film at a time!
They have a decent music school, but not if you're intent on trying out for Julliard.
They have a decent selection in music, but not if you're looking for anything older than Led Zeppelin.
They have decent instruments, but not if you're looking for that instrument that you'll take to the LA Philharmonic auditions.
In short, if you're a musical hobbyist--if you strum along to your favorite bands but will never record--this is your place. But if you're at all serious about your musical career and want to get a specific instrument or piece of music, look for a private collector.
PROS: They'll help you get your foot in the door as a starting musician
CONS: They can't provide the things necessary to do anything past 7th grade band
Unlike the larger businesses who branch off into selling instruments and equipment, Hutchins & Rea sticks to selling music. You'll find everything from orchestral scores to exercise books, and in the rare case that you can't find something, Hutchins & Rea will order it for you.
If you want to get a crackerjack-prize $40 guitar, this is not the place for you. But if you know what music you're searching for, if you heard that great symphony and want to buy the score, this place is for you.
PROS: Extensive, dynamic music collection with a broad range of scores
CONS: Not a lot on display, so you should know what you're looking for beforehand