ADDRESS: 297 Prince Ave. #19
ADDRESS: 297 Prince Ave. #19
Athens' newest specialty shop, Revival Yarns, is far more than a place to get yarn and knitting needles. Instead, Revival Yarns surpasses that and acts as a haven for those who want to knit, crochet, learn, and most importantly, connect with others who share their passion. The owners, Lindsay and Cara, opened the shop because Athens lacked one, and now there's a greater opportunity for knowledge and community.
Physically, Revival Yarns feels airy and inviting - it's a place you want to stay in. The shop space is open and takes great advantage of natural light. The yarn is stocked in open shelves, so the products don't obstruct the rest of the store's environment.
I like how the shop is dotted with advice. The product shelves include several patterns, and there are results all around the space. For someone with little experience knitting, these displays are encouraging and reiterate what people can make with their own hands. At the front of the shop, there's a knitters' nook and a small library that houses related books. It seems like the space doesn't want you to leave, either.
Another thing I like about the space is that it incorporates yarn into its decor without being cheesy. There are a few touches of yarn bombing in unexpected places, like above the restroom door. Additionally, all the bunting in the shop is knit, which I thought was really clever.
On April 26th, Revival Yarns had its grand opening, an event featuring snacks provided by the Boulevard Knitting Group and cupcakes from Viva!, a speed-knitting contest, and a raffle for three gift baskets. Somehow I actually won one of those baskets, and it's really great. My favorite part of the grand opening was getting to see this new space utilized the way Lindsay and Cara dreamed it. Now I just have to learn to knit.
ADDRESS: 2161 West Broad St
There comes a point where you have to stop driving by a place and walk right in. Such was the case with Taj Mahal, which I pass by all the time on the way to the Kroger on Alps. If you're an adventurous eater or a lover of south Asian cuisine, you need to make a visit.
The decor is somewhat bare and white, but the content makes up for it, and food trumps atmosphere in the realm of grocery stores. Taj Mahal carries food that is found in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, and Arabic cuisine.
Taj Mahal's stores range from raw ingredients, such as bags of rice, to pre-packed meal bases that only need meat and produce. The impression I get is that you can walk in with a low or high amount of cooking experience and still find what you need to prepare a good meal.
Taj Mahal's best feature is definitely its many freezers, which are packed with frozen produce, meats, microwaveable appetizers, and even some pre-made dishes. The meat freezer is particularly great, because it's stocked with lamb and goat, which I didn't even know where to find in Athens.
Of course, Taj Mahal carries other items, such as cosmetics, hair dye, and home fragrances. If you're an adventurous cook or just a sucker for ethnic food, stop by Taj Mahal and look at the selection for yourself. I promise that it far outpaces what you'll find in the two corporate grocery stores a few turns away.
ADDRESS: 1087 Baxter St
Just to clear things up, you're not going to find any trendy vegetables or cleanses at The Healthy Gourmet. Instead, focus on "gourmet," because here, it's all about quality food and personalized service.
The Healthy Gourmet has been open for eight years, and owners Anne and David Wells bought the store three years ago. Aside from great food, The Healthy Gourmet also provides great service and advice, which you can't find in a normal supermarket.
The Healthy Gourmet specializes in oils and vinegars, spices, and seasonings. They also carry a good selection of wine and fish. Most of the wine costs under $20.00, and many bottles under $10 are good. Anne said it's possible to find a good bottle for as little as $7.99. There is also a selection of higher-quality wine. The sea salt isn't refined. Several local products, such as Phickles Pickles, Mana in our Foods, and Weckback Family cheese, are also available.
The Healthy Gourmet only carries fish that are caught wild on small boats, a sustainable process. The fish tastes better and holds more nutrition. The fish is flash-frozen and shipped over.
If you'd like to do more with food than just buy it, The Healthy Gourmet holds monthly cooking classes with Tim Dondero. But you know what the best part is? The samples. On Saturdays, The Healthy Gourmet puts out a selection of food and wine for customers to sample, and that stuff is quality. Just thinking about the food I tried makes me want to go back for more. If you like food as much as I do, then you'll want to give The Healthy Gourmet more than just a taste.