Love perusing through social media to find out what your favorite influencers are up to? Get a closer glimpse into how they spend their time in Atlanta with “ATL Closeup,” a new AJC feature that explores the leisure lives of some of the city’s most notable personalities as they go from work to play mode over the course of a typical weekend —from their favorite places to dine to the little-known spots where they find retreat.
If you scroll through Danni Rose’s Instagram page, your stomach might begin to growl. Her profile is stocked with photos and videos of over-the-top, delectable dishes waiting to be devoured.
The self-taught cook isn’t your average chef. She learned her way around the kitchen by watching and helping her father feed the masses at his juke joint in her Birmingham, Alabama hometown. At age 10, she was serving up fried fish, smothered cabbage, cornbread, and all types of southern delicacies to patrons who made the hole-in-a-wall a regular hangout spot.
Now, Stove Top Kisses, Rose’s food and beverage company, is the go-to brand for foodies looking for fun, easy, and delicious recipes. Her hilarious, online tutorials for her famous dishes, such as the banana pudding pie and shrimp, crab and bacon burger, have amassed millions of views across YouTube and Facebook.
The internet sensation also teaches people how to make every meal “sopped up” − her signature phrase for flavorful − with her four cookbooks, including one on weight loss. And she hopes to reach even more people with “Sopped Up Pop Up,” a food tour with stops in Los Angeles, Birmingham, Dallas, Washington D.C., and, of course, Atlanta, which has been her home for nearly 10 years.
“Atlanta has been nothing but good to me. I figured out my life here,” Rose said. “I love how Atlanta has especially highlighted black entrepreneurs and talent … and people like me that cook. Everybody can be what they want to be. Everybody lives their life out loud with no apologies. I appreciate that about the city of Atlanta.”
When the Loganville resident isn’t experimenting with new dishes and editing fresh content for social media, she is carving out time to hit up some of her favorite places in the city. Here’s where you’ll likely find her on any given weekend in the metro area.
Finger-licking good meal
Rose is the head chef in charge in her kitchen, but she loves exploring other restaurants around town. When she’s in the mood for street food, she heads to Bartaco in West Midtown. Although it’s known for its tacos, Rose is typically craving something a little hardier.
She goes for the plantains, roasted chicken, and the duck quesadillas, which features roasted duck, tomatillo sauce, and caramelized onions pressed in between two corn tortillas.
“Oh, I have a whole spread. It’s a scene, honey. The food is so good and fresh,” she said. “Plus, the ambience is so great. It reminds me of being on a beach or in California.”
For a more upscale dinner, Rose makes her way to Marcel’s Steakhouse in the Westside neighborhood. The eatery has an extensive wine selection and a wide variety of steaks options.
“I love it there,” she said. “It’s really delicious. It’s like a little honeycomb hideout.”
Her top dining picks:
Bartaco, 969 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta. 404-607-8226, bartaco.com.
Marcel’s Steakhouse, 1170 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta. 404-665-4555, marcelatl.com.
Most of Rose’s shopping takes place online. She’s always on the go, so being able to purchase a new dress or pair of jeans with a click of a button is a must.
However, when she does squeeze in time to visit a store in-person, she’s looking for bargains at T.J. Maxx in Loganville.
“I believe in looking high-end on a budget. I don’t care how much money I make, I’m going to always be frugal,” she laughed.
She can guarantee good deals on designer brands like Steve Madden, Calvin Klein, and BGBG Generation.
“It’s my go-to,” she said. “If I can’t find it there, I’ll go to another store. But more than likely, I’m going to find what I need at T.J. Maxx first.”
Her top shopping picks:
T.J. Maxx, 4014 Atlanta Hwy, Loganville. 770-554-1286, tjmaxx.tjx.com.
Aside from singing and dancing along to Beyonce’ “Homecoming” film in her living room, Rose looks for a good time at Ponce City Market. While the entertainment hub is full of retailers, restaurants, and boutiques, Candlefish is her favorite.
She and her sister explore the space often, sniffing tons of the 100 fragrances available.
“I go for the lighter scents. I love the grapefruit candle. Believe it or not, I’m not a big fan of grapefruit, but the candle smells so wonderful,” she said. “I love earthy smells, too, so it just depends on what my mood is.”
The company also offers candle making classes and other workshops for folks of all ages, which Rose will be taking advantage of next month.
Her top party spot picks:
Candlefish, 675 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, W118, Atlanta. 404-445-1484, candlefish.com.
The wind down
Her last trip was in November and she stayed overnight with her sister.
“It was just fabulous. You meet people from all walks of life. They’re out there relaxing and drinking some good ole wine,” she said. “Chateau Elan also has really good food and events.”
Rose even knows a few people with property in the area, so she also uses her trip to catch up with friends.
“I don’t have property out there yet,” she joked, ”but I always try to my best to see them.”
Her top relax destinations:
Chateau Elan, 100 Rue Charlemagne, Braselton. 678-425-0900, chateauelan.com.
One of Rose’s good friends recently introduced her to Boogalou’s Restaurant and Lounge. When she stepped inside, it immediately reminded her of her dad’s juke joint.
“It’s like a juke joint. It’s packed on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays,” she said. “It’s literally a hidden gem. I didn’t know anything about it, and I’ve been here almost 10 years.”
Rose recommends the pork chops, which is her favorite item on the menu, and she promises you’ll meet someone new every time you visit.
“It’s my type of spot,” she raved. “Everybody needs to go.”
If you go:
Boogalou’s Restaurant and Lounge, 239 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-464-7705, boogalouatl.com.