Many Atlantans know of the Krog Street Tunnel, but what lies just beyond there? On the other side of the tracks sits the oddly named Cabbagetown neighborhood, born from the ashes of the Civil War. The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill — one of the first textile processing mills in the South when it opened in 1881 — replaced a destroyed mill east of downtown and was founded by Jacob Elsas, who later helped establish the residential district that sprung up around it for the laborers that worked at the mill.
After the mill closed in the late 1970s, the neighborhood declined but was soon revived as an artsy, progressive area with notable residents such as photographer Raymond “Panorama Ray” Herbert. This eclectic spirit can still be found today in Cabbagetown’s numerous events and an ongoing mural wall. The Mill was converted into lofts in the 1990s and has survived multiple disasters, including the 2008 tornado that ripped through the city’s core. (It also makes a cameo in season 1 of Netflix’s Queer Eye reboot.) In recent years, the BeltLine Eastside Trail has expanded into neighboring Reynoldstown, so Cabbagetown is just a short bike ride away from the other Eastside neighborhoods.
“OK, but what about the name?” you ask. There are several theories on where the cabbage in Cabbagetown came from. One theory comes from the cabbages sold by local produce vendors in the early years of the settlement. Another theory attributes the name to the smell of cabbages coming from resident’s gardens. The final explanation involves a train or car accident that spilled cabbages onto the streets. However the name came to be, it’s a point of pride for residents and a bit of quirky trivia for the rest of us.
What can I do for fun in Cabbagetown?
Chill with chili at Chomp and Stomp. The neighborhood’s long-running annual festival takes over the streets every November with rows and rows of homemade chili, live music, and a 5K race around the area. (This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023.) Chili booths serve a mix of local restaurant concoctions and spirited independent chefs with stations themed after everything from Breaking Bad to NASCAR. Just $15 gets you an official spoon with unlimited tastings, and the funds go to improve the neighborhood. You can also grab plenty of beer and locally made art from various vendors in the neighborhood during the festival.
See some street art. The Krog Street Tunnel that connects Inman Park and Cabbagetown is infamous for its extensive graffiti art that is constantly being refreshed. While some organizations have tried to set up events in the Tunnel in the past, it’s open to viewers and artists alike 24/7. Just to the west of Krog Street, along the tall concrete barriers that separate the rail yard and MARTA tracks are several blocks of custom murals by local artists. Many of these were designed as part of the Forward Warrior annual art event. If you happen to be in the area next fall, swing by and watch these gorgeous works of art be designed in real time!
Where are the best places to eat and drink in Cabbagetown?
Every neighborhood needs a relaxing pub, and for Cabbagetown, 97 Estoria’s prominent location by the Krog Street Tunnel makes it a great pit stop or weeknight hangout. Grab some wings, a burger, or a local brew and relax on their expansive patio. The bar also has ample bike parking and hosts trivia nights. Check social media for more details.
Location: 727 Wylie Street SE; Hours: Every day, noon to midnight; Website: estoriabar.com
Little’s Food Store
In business since 1929, this unassuming little market on Carroll Street is a neighborhood staple for beer and snacks. But you might not realize they also have one of the best “bang for your buck” burgers in the city. Grab a savory fresh prime-cut beef burger with American cheese and grilled onions, and top it off with bacon or avocado the next time you’re walking through the neighborhood. They also offer hot dogs and sandwiches if you need something less savory. But trust us, it’s worth it.
Location: 198 Carroll Street; Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Website: littlesfoodstore.com
Started by couple Jen and Emily Chan, JenChan’s food is as much of a mashup as their name is. Just a few doors down Carroll Street, this restaurant is serving a mix of Asian fusion, pizza, pastries, and whatever other concoctions they can imagine. Dishes include sesame street fries bathed in gochujang, a Mongolian beef cheesesteak, chicken parmesan in noodle form, classic Taco Bell dishes reimagined, and a Vietnamese pork pizza. Their pizzas are packed with flavor and creativity at affordable prices. And JenChan’s also offers weekly supper club dishes available for pickup.
Location: 186 Carroll Street; Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sundays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Website: jenchans.com
Are you craving French cuisine but don’t want to go to a fancy fine-dining establishment? Petit Chou’s casual bistro is the place for you. Their everyday breakfast menu covers the classic eggs benedict and croque monsieur, but also sweet confections like liege waffles covered in syrup and cinnamon-vanilla cream or a crème brulée French toast loaded with heavy cream, Combier, fruit, and pecans. Grab a cup of Perc coffee for that true Parisian café vibe. Their dinner menu (served Thursday through Saturday) offers escargot, soups, and heftier plates such as duck, salmon, and braised beef.
Location: 662 Memorial Drive; Hours: Every day, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Dinner Thursday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Website: petitchouatl.com