Eddie Borgo's Atlanta, Georgia

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The acclaimed jewelry and handbag designer's top picks for eating, drinking, and soaking in the Southern city's breathtaking views. 

Known for his modern art–inspired accessories for men and women, designer Eddie Borgo's creations are as bold and contemporary as they are steeped in American heritage: namely, that of Rock and Roll and New York City. His own early roots, however, start in Atlanta, Georgia, a place he returns to as often as his busy schedule allows him—in addition to creating items for his own eponymous line, Borgo collaborates with fashion houses like Burberry. A proud son of the Peach State, with its dixie charm, gorgeous trails, and incomporable comfort food, Borgo tells us about his favorite attractions and hidden gems in the Southern capital city, from the Richard Meier–designed High Museum to a notorious, celebrity-frequented club in the basement of a motel. 

What neighborhood are you from, and how long did you live there? Originally, Dunwoody, just north of Atlanta. I lived there from when I was 2 until I was 7—and then again from 18 to 21. I go back at least twice a year to visit my parents. My favorite thing about Atlanta is the small town charm in a rather large city.

Where would you put up friends visiting town? The Georgian Terrace in Midtown is an iconic Atlanta hotel that opened in 1911. It has such a rich history and represented a new elegance at a time when the city was coming into its own during the first decades of the 20th century. The cast of Gone With the Wind stayed here during its filming in the 1930s and the hotel hosted the premiere gala for the film in 1939 (659 Peachtree St. NE; 800-651-2316; thegeorgianterrace.com).

Where is the best place to find your hometown’s signature dish? The 'Closed on Sunday' chicken sandwich at Revival in Decatur. It’s authentic, traditional Southern cuisine at its best (129 Church St.; 470-225-6770; revivaldecatur.com).

The Closed on Sunday chicken sandwich at Revival

What is your favorite restaurant to take visitors? I recently went to Gunshow, Kevin Gillespie's restaurant. You order by taking dishes off of a tray or cart that's passed around by the chef who cooked the food (924 Garrett St.; 404-380-1886; gunshowatl.com).

Where can you find the best cocktails? Kimball House, a restaurant in the former Decatur railway depot, built in 1891. The garden that wraps around the bar is full of herbs and fruits—and bee hives for honey; all of which they use to flavor their seasonal cocktails (303 E. Howard Ave.; 404-378-3502; kimball-house.com).

Where would you choose to splurge on a night out? Dinner at Umi in Buckhead (3050 Peachtree St.; 404-841-0040; umiatlanta.com) and an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) concert at Atlanta Symphony Hall (1280 Peachtree St. NE; 404-733-4900; atlantasymphony.org)

What is your go-to after-hours bar? Octopus Bar on Gresham Avenue. Perfect for late-night snacking (560 Gresham Ave. SE; octopusbaratl.com).

What’s the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon in town? A visit to the High Museum of Art, the leading art museum in Atlanta—designed by Richard Meier and Renzo Piano (1280 Peachtree St. NE; 404-733-4400; high.org). After that I’d recommend a bite at Ponce City Market (675 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE; 404-900-7900; poncecitymarket.com). Their food hall is the best place to try all different kinds of southern food.

Where is the best brunch? Home Grown is your classic southern diner, perfect for breakfast (968 Memorial Dr. SE; 404-222-0455; homegrownga.com). For a healthy alternative, I like Miller Union—they also have great cocktails (999 Brady Ave. NW; 678-733-8550; millerunion.com).

Where do you go for the perfect cup of coffee? Octane Coffee Bar in Grant Park (437 Memorial Dr.; 404-815-9886; octanecoffee.com). I get up early so I used to start my mornings by picking up a coffee to go and running in the park just across the street.

What’s your favorite view in town (that tourists might not know about)? Canoe on the bank of the Chattahoochee River (4199 Paces Ferry Rd., SE; 770-432-2663; canoeatl.com)

What’s your favorite path or trail to follow on a walk? The Atlanta BeltLine Trail. The trail extends all around the city and includes the paths that followed the original railroad lines of Atlanta (beltline.org).

What are your favorite offbeat cultural attractions? The Clermont Lounge (789 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE; 404-874-4783; clermontlounge.net) and Sweet Auburn Market (209 Edgewood Ave. SE; thecurbmarket.com). The Clermont is Atlanta's first cabaret club, and has not changed since the late 60's—they have a great disco night on Saturday. Sweet Auburn Market came about after the Great Atlanta fire of 1917, when farmers revitalized the center of the city by gathering to sell livestock and produce—locals call it "The Curb Market." My favorite stop is Panbury's Double Crust Pies, the best pies in Atlanta. 

What’s your favorite shop or boutique? Jeffrey in Buckhead, where we sell my jewelry collection, is hands down the best retail experience in Atlanta (3500 Peachtree Rd. NE; 404-237-9000; jeffreynewyork.com), and Henry & June on Highland Avenue—a curated gallery of unique, one-of-a-kind pieces from independent designers (784 N. Highland Ave. NE; 470-355-9751; henryandjuneatl.com).

What’s the ultimate souvenir from your town—something you can only get there? Georgia peaches, of course.

What’s the best-kept local secret? A picnic in Piedmont Park.

In our Hometown Guides series, we're seeking the best restaurants, bars, vistas, and things to do in a given place from the people who know best—the artists, designers, chefs, and store-owners who live there. See more Hometown Guides »

Image Credits: David Crawford; Courtesy Ponce City Market