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Antique shops and great restaurants are rapidly changing the face of Buckhead's busy Piedmont Road.

Originally called Plaster Bridge Road for Benjamin Plaster, one of the earliest settlers in the area, Piedmont Road has gone though many incarnations. The early settler route connecting farms saw the development of suburbs beginning with Ansley Park to the south in 1907. A photo of the Piedmont-Peachtree intersection shows it as an area of homes in the 1930s. Commercial development followed, taking frontage property on both sides of Piedmont. But the urban forest neighborhoods behind have survived. Now, what had become an unattractive sprawl of unrelated businesses is taking on new character: From I-85 north to Roswell Road, Piedmont Road's shops and restaurants are well worth a visit. An added attraction is a side trip to the Miami Circle design district, off Piedmont at the Southern Railway tracks.

A recent Urban Land Institute study envisions a much more beautiful and pedestrian-friendly Piedmont, and the new group Village Vision is working with the Buckhead Coalition to bring more sidewalks, landscaping and mixed-use development to the chic strip. Some see Buckhead's East and West villages from Pharr Road up Peachtree to Piedmont merging into an expanded Buckhead Village that promotes easy walking between shops and restaurants.

At 2469 Piedmont Road, you may have missed the familiar Zesto's sign. The sandwich/ice cream shop is still there, only now it's called Burrito Brothers. In addition to many of the old favorites, the menu now includes popular Mexican fare. The shop has undergone a colorful facelift, but it is still owned by the Livaditis family and still offers the same friendly service. Many long-time Atlantans also know Jimmy Livaditis' other business: Big John's Christmas Trees, a source for top-quality holiday trees and greenery.

On the site of the old Gold Club, once notorious as a erotic dance club catering to conventioneers and pro basketball stars, at Piedmont and Lindbergh, Kim King and Wayne Mason plan a tony 200-condo tower with two stories of on-street retail below.

At the corner of Peachtree and Piedmont, Blackstone Real Estate Advisors of New York and Houston-based Hines, the nation's largest office developer, plan to develop One City Center, a 500,000-square-foot office tower, 24 or 25 stories tall. Two new restaurants may be included as well.

Lindbergh City Center, a MARTA project in association with BellSouth and Carter & Associates) envisions "a 24-hour atmosphere" for living, working and playing. See Buckhead Apartments/Condos for listings. To keep up with the Lindbergh Station development project, call MARTA's information line at 404-848-4711 or check MARTA's Web site at www.itsmarta.com According to The Atlanta Constitution (2-1-99), "Heavily landscaped paths and roads will link office buildings [about 17 stories] with a hotel, condos, apartments, a movie theater, boutiques and a grocery store" in the $500 million-plus project. Details include building a concrete/earth platform atop the present Lindbergh rail station to allow construction of a "Main Street" from Piedmont Road to housing on the back side of the station. A hotel and office/retail buildings will line the Main Street back to the housing and entertainment areas. The paper calls the plan "the most complex attempt by any government in the country to develop land surrounding a transit station."

Lindbergh Plaza, formerly Broadview Plazaa, bordered by Piedmont Road, Sidney Marcus Blvd., the Home Depot property and Morosgo Drive, also is beginning redevelopment. The owners, Noro-Broadview Holding Co. of the Netherlands, have signed a joint venture agreement with the Sembler Co. to redevelop the 27-acre tract into a mixed use development with shopping and apartments. The owners envision a pedestrian-friendly, new urbanism development of stores, offices, possibly a hotel and high-rise residences. Construction is expected to be completed in 2005.

These plans could put at risk a thriving Latino community that has developed around Lindbergh in a cluster of apartment complexes (including Broadview Terrace, Lindmont, Commons of Buckhead, Northmoor and Lindbergh Station) that date to the 1950s and were built as part of the post-World War II housing boom.

Buckhead Crossing, just north on Piedmont from Lindbergh is getting many of the businesses being displaced by the Lindbergh Center redevelopment, including Office Depot and Bennie's Shoes.

Home Depot has opened a new Expo Design Center in the former Sam's Club building at Piedmont and Garson Drive.

Great places to shop

Anteks, furnishings with a Western theme, 3112 Piedmont Road, (404) 233-6675

Architectural Accents, European and American architectural antiques, lighting and hardware, 2711 Piedmont Road, (404) 266-8700

Atamira Communications, a new communications company helping executives, corporations, politicians and campaign staffs nationwide manage their message, 3423 Piedmont Road, Suite 100, 404-262-5223, or visit www.atamira.com

Bennie's Shoes, 2581 Piedmont Road, in Lindbergh Plaza, (404) 262-1966
Rated Best Shop for Men's Shoes 1999 by Atlanta Magazine.

Beverly Hall Furniture Galleries, 2789 Piedmont Road, (404) 261-7580

B&L Antiques and Restoration, antiques, quality reproductions and restoration, 2716 Piedmont Road, (404) 869-6787

Buckhead Design Center, many antiques and collectibles dealers, 2133 Piedmont Road, (404) 876-3298 or (404) 876-2543

Calentures, architectural garden accessories, 646 Lindbergh Way (in the Furniture Exchange), (404) 233-2100

Darious and Co. Art and Antiques, in Werco Rugs at Piedmont Road and Peachtree Road, (404) 237-2584

Expo Design Center, Home Depot EXPO, just off Piedmont at 515 Garson Dr. off Lindbergh Way.

Furniture Exchange, a group shop just off Piedmont at 646 Lindbergh Way featuring American and continental art, antiquities and decorative accessories, (404) 233-2100

Hennessy Cadillac-Jaguar-Land Rover, 3040 Piedmont Road, (404) 261-5700

Oxford Comics & Games, 2688 Piedmont Road, (404) 233-8682

Tuesday Morning, gifts and accessories, 3145 Piedmont Road, (404) 233-6526

Werco Oriental Rugs, 3147 Piedmont Road, (404) 237-2584

Windsor Rug Gallery, 3162 Piedmont Road, (404) 261-2706

Woodpride Hand Stripping & Refinishing, 2802 Piedmont Road, (404) 237-5417

See "Shopping Districts" for more Buckhead shops and dealers.

Great places to eat

Anthony's, 3109 Piedmont Road, (404) 262-7379
The building is an old plantation house from Washington, Ga., the Pope-Walton home, built in 1797. It was moved to the present site on Piedmont Road in 1964 and restored. In 1967, it was opened as Justine's, becoming Anthony's in 1974. Atlanta Magazine reports employees have complained about eerie events such as "lights and ovens being turned off, elevators going up and down, doors slamming and children singing" in the antebellum house. Former manager Sally Cwik had theories about a possible supernatural link to a portrait in the front hall.

Beluga, 3115 Piedmont Road, (404) 869-1090

Bone's, 3130 Piedmont Road, (404) 237-2663
Rated "best steak house" of 1997 by Atlanta Magazine

Bridgetown Grill, 3316 Piedmont Road at Peachtree Crossing, (404) 266-1500

Buckhead Bread Co., 3070 Piedmont Road, (404) 240-1978

Buckhead Diner, 3073 Piedmont Road, (404) 262-3336
Rated Atlanta's "quintessential spot" in Food & Wine magazine's 1998 restaurant poll. Rated Best Diner 1998 by readers and Best for a Celeb Sighting by both readers and critics in Creative Loafing.

Cabane, 3365 Piedmont Road, (404) 842-9300

Coco Loco, 2625 Piedmont Road, (404) 364-0212

Corner Cafe, 3070 Piedmont Road, (404) 240-1978
"The Corner Cafe has an excellent executive chef by the name of James Murray. The food is out of this world - their Sunday brunch is wonderful!! Try their hot crab dip as an appetizer - delicious!!!" - Dana Barry from Philidelphia, PA

El Charro, 2581 Piedmont Road, (404) 264-0613

Monterey Jack's, 3330 Piedmont Road, (404) 233-8020

Sambuca Jazz Cafe, 3102 Piedmont Road, 30s-style dance club-restaurant with live entertainment, (404) 237-5299
Rated Best Swing Club 1998 by critics in Creative Loafing.

Shoney's, 2540 Piedmont Road, (404) 261-2932

Siam Palace, 3330 Piedmont Road, Suite 3, Piedmont Crossing shopping center, (404) 812-9110

Soto, 3330 Piedmont Road, (404) 233-2005
Rated "best sushi" for 1997 by Atlanta Magazine. Rated Best Japnese Restaurant and Best Sushi Restaurant 1998 by critics in Creative Loafing.

Waffle House, 2581 Piedmont Road, (404) 261-4475

Burrito Brothers, the former Zesto's, 2469 Piedmont Road, (404) 237-8689

See "Dining" for many more choices in Buckhead.

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