Enjoy Candler Park's tea shops, heaping biscuits and unique boutiques

When visiting the Candler Park neighborhood, you can easily forget you’re just moments from downtown Atlanta. The eponymous park’s 55 acres provide a hub of activity. Kids kick soccer balls, couples nibble on picnic snacks and dog walkers enjoy the wide open spaces. Bask in blankets of green at the park, fill your cart at the indie grocer or drop in at unpretentious boutiques while wandering down McLendon Avenue. 

This story originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Living Intown magazine.

What to See and Do

Candler Park Golf Course

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This nine-hole course, with four par fours and five par threes, offers a quick fix for links lovers. The pasture-style course serves as an affordable option for its devoted players and also provides intowners the opportunity to commune with nature. Keep an eye open for birds, snakes, frogs, turtles and even beavers.

585 Candler Park Drive. 404-371-1260.

Wall Crawler Rock Club

More than 8,800 square feet of scaling space attracts rock climbing enthusiasts to his indoor gym. Veterans, newbies and even fresh-faced tots tackle artificial rocks, as well as a variety of walls and a lower-to-the-ground bouldering cave. If you’re new to the climbing game, Wall Crawler offers the staff belay experience: Climbers slide into a harness and prepare to climb, while a staff member remains on the ground and holds the other end of the rope. Special events include Ladies Night on Wednesdays and an after-school program for kids.

1522 DeKalb Ave. 404-371-8997.

Fall Fest in Candler Park

Taking place the first weekend in October, the festival features an artist market, food trucks, a tour of homes and live music. Performers include the 1960s-inspired rock of Gringo Star, the ragtime- and dixieland-infused Blair Crimmins & The Hookers and the soulful cover songs of Bogey and The Viceroy. Organizers expect a crowd of 10,000 to soak up the surroundings.

Oct. 3-4. 1500 McLendon Ave.

Where to Shop

A small stretch of McLendon Avenue between Clifton Road and Glendale Avenue provides the heart of Candler Park’s modest yet eclectic and vibrant shopping.

The Moog Gallery

Although the artful kitsch once found at the now-defunct Donna Van Gogh’s Artist Market has faded into ’hood history, the Moog Gallery carries the torch with offerings from imaginative local artists. Film director Tim Burton would likely approve of the playfully gothic oil paintings of Bethany Marchman Arriagada. Meanwhile, H.C. Warner’s Munkeytown series, featuring paintings of primates on wood cutouts, vies for attention next to work by Dirk Hays’ self-proclaimed “new-fangled old timey signs” based on pop culture icons and cult movie adverts.

1653 McLendon Ave., Unit B, Atlanta. 404-668-9678.

Kelly’s Closet

You’ll find brides-to-be walking down the aisles of this cozy bridal shop. The lace-laden window display attracts those hunting for wedding dresses and bridesmaid apparel.

1649 McLendon Ave. 404-377-9923.

Candler Park Market

The wares of this discerning neighborhood grocery spot include locally grown produce, organic frozen entrees, greeting cards, wine, craft beer and growlers. Saddle a stool for an early-morning breakfast, lunch or a casual dinner at the deli counter at the back of the store. And don’t forget to snag a King of Pops popsicle from the cooler up front.

1642 McLendon Ave. 404-373-9787.

Where to Eat

Flying Biscuit Café

The flagship location of this popular Atlanta-based chain enlivens McLendon Avenue. Chromatic wall murals and whimsical art — some created by children — first draw a visitors’ attention, but the tummy-warming menu steals the show. Hot picks continue to be the shrimp and grits, black bean and cornmeal Love Cakes, and sautéed salmon glazed with Coca-Cola. All-day breakfast offerings include French toast, chicken sausage patties, an array of omelettes, and flat iron steak and eggs. And salivary glands go into overdrive with each bite of the restaurant’s fluffy namesake. The Biscuit also has a bakery next door.

1655 McLendon Ave. 404-687-8888.

Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party

The funky, relaxed tea shop and eatery plays host to high teas loaded with scones, quiche, finger sandwiches and more. Servers deliver pots of tea alongside vintage china and linens. Indulge in a revolving vegetarian menu and sweet treats while perusing the inventory of used books. A portion of the profits benefit its Learning Tea program, which aids impoverished young women in India.

1645 McLendon Ave. 404-474-1402.

Gato Bizco Cafe

Specializing in comfort food, Gato Bizco’s newly rebooted daytime menu includes salads, burgers and more made with local and organic ingredients. Chef Jarrett Stieber steps into the spotlight Friday through Sunday nights for Eat Me Speak Me, his pop-up series with a revolving menu.

1660 McLendon Ave. 404-371-0889.

Radial Cafe

Over on DeKalb Avenue, you’ll find this soothing eatery where rich scents waft from the kitchen. Seeking standouts such as buttermilk pancakes and grilled salmon, customers flock for breakfast and lunch all week, as well as dinner Thursdays through Saturdays. Beat the crowds at Radial by calling ahead to get on the waiting list.

1530 DeKalb Ave. 404-659-6594.

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