If you're from ATL, you already know. 
Photo: Courtesy of Adam Kincaid
Photo: Courtesy of Adam Kincaid

Opinion: If you're from Atlanta, you already know this

If no one ever calls this place Hotlanta again, the world will be a better place.

Nobody here says that. That Hotlanta persists in the national consciousness is because the narrative on Atlanta hasn't changed since the '90s. Of course, Atlanta has become a different place entirely than the one the nation last saw during the Olympics nearly 20 years ago.

The following narrative on Atlanta should be retired forever:

No, there is not a Waffle House on every corner. Unexpected things happen at Waffle House. Better to space them out.

If you order "a coke," the waitress will not ask you "what kind;" she will bring you a Coca-Cola Classic, no questions asked. On the subject of soda, be sure visitors to our town try the international soda station at the World of Coke Tasting Room. The best one is Beverly. It's so good!

Despite the massive footprint of the metro region, the ITP/OTP bias is somehow still a real thing. But, just because a bias is real doesn't mean it has a place in society. The whole ITP holier-than-thou routine is tired; let it go. We're all in this thing together.

We can retire the ideas that MARTA and highway traffic are things worth complaining about. First of all, if you don't like traffic – ride MARTA. If you don't like MARTA, sit in traffic. Every major city in the country complains about the state of public transportation. Crappy traffic and sketchy trains are not Atlanta things, they're city things.

A new narrative.

Pause to consider what Peachtree Street restaurant Empire State South suggests in its name, and how different that is from the ATL identity that gets perpetuated. The Empire State South announces pride in size and scope, power and potential. It claims our city as a critical artery of commerce for the entire southern quadrant, and offers in its artistry and ambiance a reflection of what it means to be here now.

Of course it's just one of the countless amazing restaurants in Atlanta (including OTP). You could make a case for Atlanta as a top culinary destination nationwide. We deserve that kind of recognition here. The Atlanta of 2015 and beyond is a savvy place – a metropolitan business center, a cultural capital for the entire region and a place that might finally be blending itself into a single identity.

Our tapestry of neighborhoods has found power in the hyperlocal approach; festivals celebrate pride in our neighborhoods and what they mean to us. In an unspoken way, loving the local 'hood acknowledges pride in the city that grew it. Our communities are unique but connected, sustainable and worth sustaining.

Who doesn't embrace the idea of the Beltline project, or the goals of any of our city improvement organizations? Who doesn't love today's handcrafted, curated, farm-to-table, small batch, micro-brewed approach to life? It's authentic, talented and real. Our dedication to something better than the standard fare is a reflection of our desire to live lives of purpose.

We should dispute the people who try to make Atlanta a place where it's all about Snowpacolypse, Walking Dead zombies, the pollen count, whatever is going on with the Housewives and the incredible prevalence of Sperry Topsiders in Buckhead at night.

Above all else, we must all agree – right here and now – that each of us, no matter the cost, will (Atlanta) Falcon punch the next person who says Hotlanta. We hate that word and all that it's come to represent. We're beginning to meet our own potential here.

Of course, if you're from Atlanta you already knew that.

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