Pretty Southern

What does it mean to be a Southerner in the 21st century?

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Mellow Mushroom Serves Up a Hot Special!

Mellow Mushroom 40th anniversary specials

Mellow Mushroom 40th anniversary specials.

Get it while it’s hot! Today, Aug. 20, Mellow Mushroom is celebrating their 40th anniversary and they want you to join their pizza party. Mellow Mushroom opened in 1974, and they’ve reverted back to their old 70s pre-inflation pricing. A small cheese pizza is only $2.50 (regular prices apply for additional toppings). All fountain Cokes and sodas are $0.30, and beers including Budweiser, Michelob or Pabst Blue Ribbon, are only $0.75 cents.

Check out Yelp or Google to find the Mellow Mushroom near you!

Atlanta’s Best Bartender Gets Fired Via the Web

Imagine finding out you lost your job via the Internet. Classy, right? Well that’s just what happened to Arianne Fielder. Our favorite Pretty Southern bartender got online last night to learn from Eater Atlanta that she was out of a job at Parish. She was contracted to help the Inman Park restaurant revamp its cocktail menu, only to have her salary cut to $7 an hour (a pittance for anyone behind the bar who can’t work for tips). The restaurant is managed by the Concentrics restaurant group, and someone there had the audacity to let Eater know that Arianne was out before having the common decency to tell her first!

Here’s what we know from Arianne’s Facebook page:

“This post was put out by @concentrics to hurt me. And It did. I was so worried it would hurt my professional integrity and was so offended and blindsided that I wasn’t worthy of a face to face conversation by my own bosses who apparently were out to just humiliate me by the press. None the less @eateratlanta my job means nothing without my amazing staff who are undeservingly feeling this lash that this “firing post” put on me. I love my team that is there at parish, who has nothing to do with this foolishness. Please direct your (rightful) disgust to the people who hired and (internet fired?) me. I have grown to love that staff so much and as much as I appreciate the overwhelming support for the wrong done to me.”

Arianne is one of the best bartenders in the South. She’s paved the way for other girls to go kick ass behind the bar here in Atlanta. Her cocktails grace the menu of several leading establishments including Southern Art & Bourbon Bar, Seven Lamps, and Article 14. Her accolades include:

  • Esquire Magazine and Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience Regional Winner, Atlanta 2014
  • Food and Wine Cocktail Guide 2013, 100 Best New American Bar Programs, Seven Lamps
  • Jezebel Magazine “Atlanta’s Best Bar Keep” 2013 Best Of issue
  • Atlantan Magazine Restaurant Guide 2013 “#1 Coolest Mixologist”
  • Berentzen national competition winner 2012
  • Runner up to Taste of Atlanta Bar Craft competition 2011 (pictured above)

No employer should ever think it’s right to talk to the media about releasing their employees (or contractors). This is such bad form for Concentrics. This restaurant brand helped build the empire of Richard Blais and one would think their PR team would know better.

Arianne – you go girl. There’s better times, and cocktails, waiting for you!

Atlanta Snow Jam Incites Cheap Shots at the South

Taran Killiam fails with Southern impression.

Taran Killiam as Buford Callaway.

As a native Southerner, I had high hopes for SNL’s response to the Atlanta Snow Jam. The writing has been exceptionally funny this season, so perhaps Kenan Preston would play Kasim Reed and just yell at Seth Myers and Cecily Strong on Weekend Update, or maybe Melissa McCarthy would play a stranded motorist who was stuck in her car for 19 hours. I think SNL missed the boat with Taran Killam and his ridiculous Buford Calloway.

Good Lord what a preposterous name! Did he borrow his accent and costume from Django Unchained? No one in Atlanta (other than hipsters) has facial hair like that anymore. It was a cheap shot at the South…and it wasn’t all that funny. Now Bill Hader’s reprisal of Stefan, that was funny. But Taran’s over-the-top drawl and gripping his handkerchief like a sorority girl would clutch her pearls, not so much.

Jon Stewart, Al Roker, and a bevy of other commentators made their snarky remarks and America (nay the world) had a good laugh. I took their jokes with a grain of salt, even giggling a bit, and I was going to let it slide… until last night.

Bless your heart, Chris. You're just so L.A.

Bless your heart, Chris. You’re just so L.A.

I attended Chris D’Elia’s show at the Atlanta Improv Comedy Club. Chris opened his sketch with a few ribs at Atlanta’s collective freakout to the 2.6 inches of snow. He said that being from Los Angeles, people in L.A. wouldn’t have gotten all worked up, they would have just shrugged and said “Whatever.” I’m going to call B.S. on that one, Chris. Southern Californians have probably seen less powder (unless it’s going up their noses) than the majority of Atlantans.

Now granted all walks of life – regardless of race and sexual orientation – were fair game for punchlines in Chris D’Elia’s show. However, since I claim to be a Southern writer, I feel like I need to stand up for my beloved South.

As Margaret Mitchell once said in an interview about Gone With the Wind, “If the novel has a theme it is that of survival. What makes some people come through catastrophes and others, apparently, just as able, strong and brave go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive – others don’t. What qualities are in those who fight their way throughout triumphantly that are lacking in those that go under. I only know that survivors used to call that quality gumption.”

The brave and strong had their moments in Atlanta during Snowpocalypse. The brave were the teachers who stayed the nights with their students, the strong were the people who helped push cars along the icy interstate roads, or who trekked up-and-down giving food and drinks to fellow Georgians who were stranded on the highways.

Over the past few days, the common question I’ve gotten from a lot of folks has been, “How was your snow jam?” This is coming from people here in Atlanta, and as far north as my girlfriends in New York City. “What happened?” my convert-Yankee pals want to know.

Here’s what happened – our government failed us because no one had the gumption to close the schools. After closing schools earlier in January due to extreme cold (though lack of snow) administrators caught a lot of flack. When schools close, we all know its going to be bad, and folks stay home. Since the schools were open, and everyone had to work, we all were glutton for punishment when we scrambled to get home.

Atlanta is now a textbook case for future emergency managers. Our local FEMA leaders have to test their emergency plans to be sure we can take an “all-hazards” approach to preparedness. What if this had been a dirty bomb instead of 2.6 inches? Atlanta would have had thousands of commuters dead on the interstate, with corpses inside those abandoned cars.

Atlanta is my home. I’ve lived in the metro area since March of 1996, that’s almost 18 of my 28 years (minus four glorious years in Athens and a few months in Florida). We’ve seen snowfalls worse than this, but we have never seen such a colossal failure.

Georgia lawmakers have got to get some gumption now. The gentlemen and ladies at the Capitol who have the gonads to enact change better do so. This city cannot have another catastrophe or else citizens, and especially recent transplants, are going to move away to greener pastures. Not to mention the cheap shots from comedians and commentators will keep on coming.

Chris D’Elia is performing tonight and tomorrow (Feb. 7 & 8) at the Atlanta Improv if y’all want to hear more jokes about ignorant Southerners. I suggest we all throw cotton balls at him.

Tolls Finally Coming Down on GA-400

Georgia 400 Tolls Ending Soon

We announced earlier this summer that the toll on 400 is finally coming down and guess what? It looks like the Georgia government is actually on schedule. This toll has caused heartburn for millions of Atlantans over the years, and it is finally coming down. Here’s the announcement we received on Sunday evening.

“Beginning on Friday, October 18, portable message signs will alert motorists to pre-construction activities for the ending of tolls and the demolition of toll booths on GA 400.

The first phase of a four-phase demolition project will begin on Friday, October 25, with restriping to create a third lane in the Peach Pass electronic lanes and modification/removal of redundant signage.

In July 2012, Governor Deal announced that the state would pay off its bond debt and end tolls on GA 400 by December 2013. The ending date for toll collection has been tentatively set for the week before Thanksgiving, weather permitting.

Southeastern Site Development, Inc., of Newnan, has been contracted for the construction component of the project and will be managed through the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

Phase I of the project will include the restriping in the electronic Peach Pass lanes and the removal or modification of about one third of toll-related signage from areas approaching the GA 400 Toll Plaza within the next two to three weeks. A total of 66 signs will be removed or modified before and after toll collection ends the week before Thanksgiving.

In Phase II and III, preparation for no tolling continues with the completion of restriping and the installation of concrete barriers between the Peach Pass and cash lanes in anticipation of the eventual shifting of traffic into the electronic lanes when toll collection ends. Once traffic is shifted, no heavy demolition work is expected to take place during the winter holidays. In Phase IV, toll booth demolition, which includes removal of plaza toll booths and canopy, as well as reinforcement and filling in of tunnel stairwells, is expected to be completed between January 2014 and Fall 2014.

The public can learn more about the demolition project at the upcoming public information open house meetings on the demolition project is scheduled for Thursday, October 24 from 4:00-7:00 pm at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia, 4355 Ashford Dunwoody Road in Atlanta.

For more details about the GA 400 demolition project, go to the Peach Pass website.”

To recap, if things stay on schedule then no one will have to pay the tolls on 400 by Thanksgiving. Now that’s something to really be thankful for.

‘Ut Prosim’ is a Big Event at VT

Virginia Tech’s motto is “Ut Prosim,” which is Latin for “that I may serve.” Hokie Nation lives up to this every day of every year. My favorite examples of Ut Prosim in action are our annual day of service, The Big Event, and Relay for Life. (more…)