People walk past the vendor booths during the Pure Heat Community Festival celebrating Atlanta Black Pride Weekend in Piedmont Park Sunday, September 2, 2018. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: Steve Schaefer
Photo: Steve Schaefer

Inaugural ‘Taste of Southwest Atlanta’ looks to unite community

Southwest Atlanta is often in the news for its crime.

But entrepreneurs Dominique Huff and Harold Hardnett want to change the narrative. That meant creating an event that would unite the community.

“Taste of Southwest Atlanta” will bring food from local restaurants to the area, along with other community and family-friendly activities. The free June 29 festival will be held in the back parking lot of Greenbriar Mall and is expected to attract between 300 and 700 people.

Patrons will be treated to food by metro Atlanta restaurants, eateries and food trucks such as The Hoagie Shack, Queen Nola’s Catering and Concessions, Zoey’s Funnel Cakes, B’Samone’s Banana Pudding, Annie’s Gourmet Syrup, Little Hilton Snow Cones, Taste of the Tropics, and Sam’s Smoke Signal BBQ. Huff said they are working to attract more vendors.

Dominique Huff (courtesy: Dominique Huff)

“One thing that we were trying to do is bring back stuff to our area and make it so people don’t have to always go somewhere else to have fun,” Huff said.

Zuff and Hardnett co-founded Atlanta Southwest, a community improvement initiative, last year to spearhead the community’s revitalization efforts. Huff said the things people typically hear about southwest Atlanta aren’t always good.

“I wanted to do a Taste of Southwest Atlanta because I wanted to create a new community tradition and wanted to change the narrative,” Huff said. “Other communities have one. So, we felt we needed to have one.”

In recent weeks, Atlanta police have been called to a spate of crime in the area, including two homicides. This past weekend, a suspect attacked an Atlanta police officer while he was trying to arrest a second suspect at the Chevron station on the corner of Campbellton and County Line roads. The men fled the area with the officer’s gun.


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Hardnett, 47, a fourth generation native Atlanta, said he remembers when the area was a thriving community.

Harold Hardnett (courtesy: Dominique Huff)

“I remember when Campbellton Road had a Red Lobster, three new car dealerships, and a McDonald’s,” he said. “I want my area to be the way it used to be when I grew up. A lot people in the community want it to get back to that.”

Hardnett and Huff hope the festival will revitalize the area and attract residents and businesses to the Campbellton Road area.

In addition to the food, the festival will include free health screenings, a bounce house for the children and attendees will also have the opportunity to speak with Atlanta’s elected officials.

Residents with minor offenses will also be able to expunge their records with the Fulton County Solicitor’s Office on site. Community heroes will also be honored at the event.

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Robert F. Smith is one of the world's 13 black billionaires. He is worth $5 billion, according to Forbes' most recent ranking of the world's wealthiest people. Smith made his fortune through the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, which he founded in 2000. He is married to television personality Hope Dworaczyk Smith. Smith announced Sunday he will pay all student loans for Morehouse College's Class of 2019.

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