Given the popularity of my web page that lists ten good happy hour places in Dunwoody’s Perimeter Mall area – see – permit me to list my ten favorite places that make Dunwoody special in my opinion.

Dunwoody, since its incorporation in 2008, has evolved from suburban state of mind to thriving city with a growing tax base and increasingly urban lifestyle. The city government has carried out an ambitious program to promote walkability – sidewalks, traffic calmers, new or improved parks, more pedestrian-oriented commercial areas, and bike / multi-use trails.

The aim of this web page is simply to showcase ten components of Dunwoody that make me want to continue living here. I am not promoting any restaurant or business, only listing places that have become special to me during the forty-one years that I have lived and retired here.

#1: Multi-Use Trail and the growing bike network

Similar to the Beltline in Atlanta, Dunwoody’s development of a necklace of parks threaded together by a bike / multi-use trail is transformative. Great value is added to the neighborhoods where the new parks have been built and the trail runs through.

Brook Run Park is the heart of the citywide bike network.

The first stretch of trail built was the 2.2-mile oval that winds around the park’s perimeter - red for the former diagram, yellow for the following one.

The is the 0 (zero) mile marker or the trail’s beginning though a plan supposedly exists to connect it with greenways in Norcross and Peachtree Corners.

The twelve-foot wide concrete trail leaves Brook Run Park where it connects with Pernoshal Park, crosses it and Shallowford Road and winds through Georgetown Park.

The trail currently ends at Georgetown Park. The next development stage, according to Mr. Brent Walker, Director, Dunwoody Parks & Recreation, is for the trail to follow Chamblee-Dunwoody Road down towards I-285.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is building a new service road from Ashford-Dunwoody Road / Ravinia to Chamblee Dunwoody Road. Supposedly, GDOT will construct a bike trail for Dunwoody that’s attached to the service road and connect it with the bike trail extension coming from Georgetown Park. Construction, mainly ground being broken and graded to date, November 15, 2019, has started on the service road.

Mr. Walker and I agreed that the long incline up Spring House Lane, a possible choice for a trail route, was simply too long and steep for cyclists as well as unaffordable. The GDOT-built lane will be relatively flat in comparison. I am an experienced cyclist and have thrice negotiated the hill that is so long and steep that I had to stop twice to scale it.

The trail will turn northward at the Georgetown Tennis and Swim Club and march toward the new forty-foot long bridge that was recently built over North Nancy Creek. The wooden incline leads up to the bridge.

After crossing the bridge, the trail turns right - though a short extension to the left funnel riders and walkers into an adjacent office park.

The trail runs past new townhomes and turns after their row ends.

The trail turns left and right and heads up to the Perimeter Parkway East entrance.

This is the trail’s Perimeter Parkway entrance where it will become part of the planned Perimeter Center East Park. See the following diagram of the park to be built across from the Lofts and Drexel apartment complexes.

From the proposed Perimeter Center East Park, the trail will snake westward along Perimeter Parkway East and cross Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Perimeter Mall and follow Hammond Drive to Georgia 400 where a branch will connect with the bike trail being built along the highway into Buckhead and its trail system. Another branch will follow Hammond Drive into the heart of Sandy Springs where it will connect with that city’s bike system

I provided an aerial view of Perimeter Mall where the bike trail will cross – also shows the restaurant corridor spread across the mall’s front facing.

The restaurants seem to come and go except for the Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano’s but the constant parade of people to watch as they walk by is always interesting.

My current favorite at the moment is Cinco.

The Café Intermezzo is a special place for me. My late wife Sue and I moved to Dunwoody in November 1978 and lamented the lack of a good dessert place. My late father-in-law, Herman Auerbach, a restaurant designer, moved to Atlanta in 1979 and his first project was Café Intermezzo. The original version was a Viennese-style coffee house featuring great baked goods and small bites and we loved the cakes and pies.

Herman also designed Joey D’s the next year, and the beautiful Villa Christina the year after that. He would be amazed by Intermezzo’s becoming a full-service restaurant and its four expansions that have virtually taken over the north side of Park Place plaza.

The former picture is of Café Intermezzo’s patio and the following shows Eclipse de Luna’s front face. I am always amazed that only two-tenths of a mile from me is a lively Portuguese / Brazilian tapas restaurant and night club with good food and drink and an excellent band.

My father-in-law did two small jobs for Eclipse de Luna too plus he also designed the venerable sea food restaurant that stood for thirty years where Del Frisco’s is today in the first of five new State Farm buildings. I am obviously proud of the contribution he made to the Dunwoody dining scene and deeply appreciate the survivors that are still vibrant restaurants today.

Eclipse de Luna’s entrance and back part of the restaurant where artistic classes are held every Monday I believe.

Whenever I have family members or friends staying with me, brunch at Alon’s Bakery and Market is an automatic choice. Sitting and schmoozing on Alon’s front patio on a nice sunny day over a cup of coffee is always enjoyable and one of the nicer pleasures in Dunwoody.

The Sage Woodfire Grill at Park Place has a lovely patio and better outside bar. It is a joy to sit at that outside bar on a warm summer night chatting over a cold beer or good drink listening to the music pouring through the windows.

For thirty-four years I lived off of Happy Hollow Drive in the Foxwood subdivision and frequently shopped and dined in the Orchard Park commercial node. Los Rancheros has served consistently good and authentic Mexican food for almost four decades as well as providing a warm inviting atmosphere and great outside patio.

The Asian Café was China Garden II for perhaps thirty-five years and as consistently good for Chinese food as Los Rancheros was for Mexican. For my son Sasha’s Bar Mitzvah, we held the Friday night dinner for close family and out of town guests at China Garden II and I still patronize the Asian Café which has maintained similar quality in food and service.

Italian take-out food was always from E. 48th St. Market who was also amazingly consistent. My wife Sue was from Brooklyn – I am from New Jersey – both places had large Italian populations and the food was always a big part of our lives growing up. E. 48th provided us that sustenance after we moved to Dunwoody and discovered their delicious breads, cold cuts, and prepared dishes.

For many years, my late wife Sue and I celebrated Valentine’s Day at home with a special dinner prepared by E. 48th St. for that holiday. A customer walked through the door, smelled the baked goods, ogled the rich dishes in the cold boxes, and received a warm smiling welcome from the whole Augello family.

Oscar’s from Little Italy in New York, and Tony’s located in the adjacent shopping center, were two very good Italian restaurants around 1985 to 2005 that provided wonderful family dining experiences but, of course, are long gone.

Tony’s would spawn Peter’s in the former High Cotton that succeeded the original Pizza Hut location. My wife Sue and I and John Allen and his late wife Cathy celebrated seven straight New Year’s Eve dinners at Tony’s. We loved the four-course menu and golden oldies band.

My son’s little league teams had victory celebrations in the Pizza Hut. High Cotton was a pretty good restaurant before going under. I dined regularly at Peter’s which had a great kitchen, an intimate room and a fine host. Ultimately, the room was too small to cover rising expenses and Nuova Cuccina expanded the place. I am fond of their pasta and pizza.

I always love when on a nice evening, the restaurant opens up the French doors and lets the fresh air in.

I have lived at the Loft’s apartments since November 4, 2012. It is tucked away down a quiet cul-de-sac and has a resort feel to it in the summer. The reason is the pool which has a special quality – it brings people together by facilitating talking to each other. People start sharing their beer or whatever, become friends, create a sense of community and become a neighborhood.

What makes the pool special is a constant subject for discussion when around it. Some say it’s the ledges and cutouts that encourage communication. People learn that they have much in common and begin hanging out.

An annual pool party is always a big event. Unfortunately, the cooling weather and accelerating pace of life after Labor Day begins driving us back to our apartments to hibernate through the winter in our caves and start coming out again in mid-April and early May.

The magic of the pool asserts itself – brings together a new season of pool people – and creates the closest thing to a beach feel in Atlanta.

That’s my Dunwoody – full of surprises and a rich place to live, work, and play.