First established in 1908 as a stop on the Southern Express Company Rail line, today Chamblee sits on a different train line — as one of the many ITP (inside the perimeter) suburbs connected to MARTA’s Gold line. The city has always been a place of connections. It’s nestled between Brookhaven, Doraville, I-285 and I-85, but its largest connection has been between past and present.
It was the site of a national training camp, Camp Gordon, in World War I, transitioned into a military hospital after the war, and today is a stone’s throw away from one of the CDC’s two main campuses. (The VA hospital is down Clairmont Rd in Decatur). The actual Camp Gordon land is now one of the area’s major regional airports, DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, where you can watch small planes take off (or fly one of your own!). And the city’s original downtown area is now an eclectic mix of antique shops, exciting new restaurants, and dense developments for walkable living and easy transit access.
Our city guide to things to do in Chamblee is sponsored by Belle and Lily’s Caribbean Brunch House.
Nestled in the vibrant neighborhood of Chamblee, is a culinary gem that effortlessly captures the spirit and flavors of the Caribbean. With its warm and inviting ambiance, Belle & Lily’s presents a delightful fusion of traditional Caribbean cuisine and innovative brunch concepts. The menu showcases an array of delectable dishes from tantalizing jerk chicken and savory plantains to mouthwatering seafood creations, every bite transports diners to the sun-kissed shores of the Caribbean.
The culinary expertise of Belle & Lily’s extends beyond the food. The restaurant boasts a well-curated selection of tropical cocktails, featuring refreshing blends of rum, fresh fruits and exotic flavors. Belle & Lily’s Caribbean Brunch House is a haven for food enthusiasts seeking a memorable culinary adventure.
Start your Sunday brunch buffet off sky-high. With a panoramic view of DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, 57th Fighter Group Restaurant is a Chamblee staple. This World War II-themed restaurant serves a brunch buffet on Sundays and has a front-row seat to the aerial activity next door. Weekday lunch and dinner soups, salads, and dinner steaks.
Location: 3829 Clairmont Road; Website: the57threstaurant.com; Hours: Tuesday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Sunday brunch: 10:30 am. to 2:30 p.m.; Sunday dinner 5 to 9 p.m.
Right down the street from Southbound is Hopstix, the acclaimed Atlanta-Asian fusion brewpub. Inspired by its founder’s time growing up in Indonesia, this pub serves up small plates, sushi, and all kinds of bowls ranging from poke bowls to fried rice to Thai spaghetti. Wash them down with house-made special brews infused with jasmine rice or an English IPA with toffee.
Location: 3404 Pierce Drive; Website: hopstix.com; Hours: Tuesday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Frosty Caboose
Cool down on those hot summer days at the quirkiest ice cream shop you’ve seen. The Frosty Caboose serves 36 locally-made ice cream flavors out of an old red train car right along the city’s freight rail line. Kids and adults alike can scoop down a sundae and watch the trains zoom by.
Location: 5435 Peachtree Rd.; Website: frostycaboose.com; Hours: Monday through Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday: 12:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
If you need even more heat this summer, check out Gu’s Kitchen. A full-service restaurant version of their popular Krog Street Market stall, Gu’s Kitchen expands the Szechuan Chinese menu beyond dumplings and noodles to include a variety of spicy stir fry dishes, soups, and even po’boy sandwiches. But don’t worry, you can still get a full plate of those sweet, zesty dumplings to chow down on. (Just not on Mondays.)
Location: 4897 Buford Highway, Suite 104; Website: guskitchen.com; Hours: Sunday, Tuesday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tum Pok Pok
Craving something beyond pad Thai? Head up Buford Highway to Tum Pok Pok. Dishing out flavorful northeastern Thai food, street style, in a vibrant dining space, this popular new eatery serves both traditional food and quality takes on Thai classics. Think Green papaya salad, crab fried rice, curries…and yes, pad Thai.
Location: 5000 Buford Hwy NE; Website: tumpokpok.com; Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m daily
What can I do for fun in Chamblee?
Take a day trip to Latin America at Plaza Fiesta. Called “El Rinconcito de Nuestro Pueblo”, or “the little corner of our town”, this nearly 35,000 square foot shopping district has it all. A sea of over 200 shops can be found selling jewelry, handcrafted goods, clothing (including Quinceañera dresses) and more. The food stalls offerings run the spectrum of Latin America — from birria to arepas to pan dulce, just to name a few. There’s even an arcade for kids. With enough things to do to take up your whole afternoon (and periodic fair rides in the parking lot), Plaza Fiesta is a must-see even if you don’t need to shop.
Go retro with the Chamblee Antique Row. This collection of antique shops in Chamblee’s historic district may be one of the largest in the Southeast. Within a few blocks, you can find vintage furniture, fine antiques, rare books, folk art, and items from throughout the 20th century across 13 different shops.
Get crafty at the AR Workshop. If you would rather create your own home goods, check out this DIY workshop group which hosts multiple classes in painting, candle pouring, knitting and more. They have over 500 project types and designs you and your classmates can create. Even if you’ve never worked with a specific medium, the classes are open to all skill levels and include guided directions. Check out their website for the latest offerings and take home something with a personal touch!