We're back with our series Inside Atlanta—each week, we sit down with influential locals to talk about what Atlanta means to them. Today we’re chatting with Chip Grabow, the founder of Decatur-based craft coffee company, Radio Roasters, based on one of the city's most walkable neighborhoods. You may have heard Grabow on NPR back in the day, or familiar with his other work on CNN and other networks. After hopping from Washington DC to Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon Grabow and his wife planted roots in Atlanta.
After noticing a void in the craft coffee scene he decided to step up to the plate and got to roasting and brewing his own beans. His new passion is roasting single-origin coffee and distributing it nationwide. When he’s not bringing home the roasted beans he’s out exploring Atlanta with his wife. Today we get a tour of The Big Peach led by Grabow himself.
I live in... “Decatur . We moved from Portland, Oregon, several years ago, and Decatur felt like the closest approximation to PDX that we could find in ATL. It's a very walkable area, near mass transit, and Decatur's amazing restaurants. There are so many really great food options and craft breweries: Kimball House, The Pinewood, Three Taverns (…) etc.”
I Wish People Knew... “there is good coffee here - you just need to know where to look!”
You Can Find Me... “On my own, I'm often perusing the shelves of Ale Yeah or Hop City. But as a family, we often escape to the High Museum to check out a specific show, or even just a specific gallery. I always find a museum visit therapeutic.”
It's Dinner Time, I'm Headed to... “Eat Me Speak Me; Dish Dive; Staplehouse; Ford Fry's Superica; The General Muir. We don't dine out a lot, but those are our repeat-visit places. The first two are especially loved because they offer some of the best food in the region but are also affordable and approachable. The braised pork belly at Dish Dive is practically a dessert with the cinnamon and sorghum jus. And, when they have it, get the VLT at Victory Sandwich Bar.”
Clock Strikes 5'oclock, I'm Drinking... “The SOS Tiki Bar and Victory in Decatur are my ideal watering holes – great soundtrack, original drink menu, utterly zero pretension. SOS is the sidebar of Victory, and should be added to the pantheon of Great American Tiki bars. Caleb and Ian (Victory's founders) and bartender Bobby Dudley really have their game down.”
If I had to Stay in a Hotel, I'd Check Into... “We've gone to multiple events at Serenbe over the past few years, but have never spent the night - so the Inn at Serenbe is at top of our hotels to check into list!”
Atlanta's Best Kept Secret is... “its coffee scene. There are more and more places popping up where you can get good or even great coffee. But people could be forgiven for not knowing it; places where coffee is the focus and not an afterthought are still a nascent trend here. (Or maybe Atlantans are just too hot to drink coffee? We hope not!) Also: Grocery on Home - a tiny, intimate music venue hidden in a residential neighborhood.”
When I'm Playing Tourist I go to... “They're not touristy, but I'd recommend tourists visit local favorites like Eddie's Attic or Grocery on Home – authentic, intimate venues for good, acoustic music.”
I Get My Sweat On... do you have a favorite gym? “I'm not a gym person, as my mid-section will attest. My workout comes from moving 150 pound bags of green coffee or hoisting 18 pound tubs of green coffee up into the roaster.”
I Love Spending My Money at... “Sq/ft on Decatur Square is hands down best place in our neighborhood to find cool gifts, especially clothes. It’s an eclectic but well-edited mix of great clothes, books and jewelry, plus, they carry Radio Roasters coffee! Then in Avondale Estates, it’s hard to not stop in every week at boutique butcher, Pine Street Market for their bacon or charcuterie. They epitomize my ideal small food business: high-quality culinary treats and a bit off the beaten track.”