Koby Keller gets out of his car and walks up to Brookhaven Park, one of the biggest greenspaces in the northern tight-knit community. It's a warm day and locals are out walking their dogs. Every day, Keller takes his German shorthaired pointer Avery to the park.
Brookhaven Park also has playgrounds and a picnic area, among other amenities, but the number of dog-walking residents nearby has grown so much that the community has been discussing turning part of it into a full-time dog park.
Brookhaven officially became a city in December 2012, adding to a long line of cityhood movements around the metro Atlanta area.
"We have a real local government, and we can spend our tax dollars on things that benefit our community, like this park," Keller says.
As we walk, Keller points out that Brookhaven Park is central to the neighborhood and within walking distance of a number of important locations, including Oglethorpe University (pictured right), the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station, and Town Brookhaven, the neighborhood's behemoth mixed-use centerpiece. The 460,000-square-foot complex holds more than 700 luxury apartments, many of which are leased to young professionals.
"I stick to Brookhaven," Keller says as we pass various stores. "I don't get out of this bubble very much. It's quiet, and it has everything I need."
The rapidly developing enclave northeast of Buckhead is filling up with big-box amenities such as Publix, Costco, and LA Fitness interspersed with a handful of local boutiques, bars, and businesses. A building beyond the edge of Town Brookhaven bears a sign that reads, "Coming Spring 2014, Brookhaven City Hall."
To end our tour, we stop for beers at the Olde Blind Dog, its black facade wedged in a corner of the shopping complex. Keller says most of his customers are locals, and that he always sees a lot of familiar faces around the shopping center. "Brookhaven's a small town with a big feel," Keller says. "It's safer, has a great school system, and we have all the conveniences we need."
Located in Village Place Brookhaven, this bistro and pub is run by executive chef Joey Riley, formerly of the Buckhead Diner, and has an assortment of craft beers. Kaleidoscope offers "global comfort food," such as a burger with pimento cheese, chow-chow, and butter pickles. 1410 Dresden Drive. 404-474-9600. www.k-pub.com.
Haven boasts quite the wine list and library. The dark wood walls create an intimate atmosphere, and make sure to check out the desserts, which include a sticky toffee pudding with poached pears. 1441 Dresden Drive. 404-969-0700. www.havenrestaurant.com.
Brookhaven's neighborhood pizza joint. Try an Italian hero sub sandwich - the Julius Caesar has salami, pepperoni, and warm capicola. 1328 Windsor Parkway. 404-500-3841. www.avellinospizzeria.com.
This New American bistro has some vegetarian and gluten-free options and, true to its name, lots of wine. Each of Pour's menu items comes with a recommended wine pairing. Seafood selections include Chilean salmon, Moroccan scallops, and jumbo crab cakes. 1418 Dresden Drive. 404-254-5277. www.pourwinebrookhaven.com.
Dine-in movie watching. Arrive 30 minutes early for in-theater food service and order from a menu of New York strip, crab cakes, and seared tuna instead of popcorn and Twizzlers (although it carries those, too). Full bar. 1004 Town Boulevard. 404-333-0740. www.cobbcinebistro.com/brookhaven.