First Proposal at the Fountain

proposal in EAVOn bended knee amidst rose pedals, flickering candles, and the gurgle of the Mary Kelly Fountain in Emory Village Plaza, Ben Sperling in October asked Ariel Levin to marry him, marking not only the beginning of a new stage of their long courtship but also the first proposal since the fountain began flowing in 2012.

Ben and Ariel met a month into their freshmen year at Emory in 2008. They returned to Saba Restaurant in October 2015 to reminisce about their first date there seven years to the day earlier.

After dinner, they headed to Yogli Mogli for dessert and as they strolled through the Emory Village Plaza, img_9505lmh2_1Ariel admired the roses that their friends, unbeknownst to her, had scattered on a white table cloth spread before the fountain. “Then I led her over to the fountain and asked if she would marry me,” Ben remembers. Speechless at first, Ariel eventually said yes.

Ben and Ariel graduated in 2012 from Emory, both with degrees in psychology.  Ben, a former teacher, is co-founder and chief operation officer of Next Generation Men which exposes young men of color to opportunities for success if they earn a high school diploma or beyond.  Ariel is a health exchange analyst at AON Hewitt where she develops health care benefits for companies.

The couple still often drive through the village. “Every time we comment on how beautiful it is now and how much it has changed since we started school at Emory. We love the area—it’s a very special place for us,” Ben says.

The late Ted Kelly, who donated the fountain to the village, would have approved. The fountain is named after the two loves of his life—his mother and his wife.

(Photos by Lisa Hill Photography) 

Village Gets Lucky

Lucky's Soon Poster
Lucky’s Burger & Brew will open in the Village Tuesday, September 22, occupying the former Starbuck’s space on North Decatur Road. A local chain founded in 2010, Lucky’s currently has locations in Brookhaven and Roswell, and is named in honor of the founders’ golden retriever.

It’s a fun, casual restaurant – and of course, namesake Lucky insists that it be pet-friendly as well – his canine pals are welcome on the patio and can partake of all the bowls of water they like.

According to spokesperson Ted Lescher, Lucky’s chose the Village because “it seems like a great spot with lots of nearby customers.” Lescher expects the space to hold about 50 inside and 20 on the front patio.

The menu will be the same as the other two locations. A few especially appealing items: fried pickles and Mediterranean hummus appetizers, “Health Care Reform” salad,and lots of burgers, with your choice of beef, turkey, black bean or chicken. Plus, Lucky’s uses only “the freshest produce delivered daily.”

Brew-wise, lots of local, national and international beers are available.

Hours are from 11:30 a.m. to close every day of the week.

Check out their current website: – and let’s consider ourselves lucky to have another delicious dining choice in the Village!

–By Perry Mitchell

Purple Corkscrew Closes Village location

purplecorkAfter suffering water damage to its premises in 2015, The Purple Corkscrew closed its Emory Village store in November and moved 4.1 miles away to 32 N. Avondale

“We would like to thank everyone that supported us in the Emory Village location over the past 3 1/2 years. We hope to see you at our new location,” says co-owner Steffini Bethea.  She and her sister and co-owner Kelli Owens were active supporters of the Emory Village Alliance and will be missed.

For more information, see

Open Streets DeKalb Draws Hundreds to Annual Celebration

For four hours, pedestrians and cyclists took over North Decatur and  Oxford roads which were closed to vehicular traffic throughout the Village.

Many thanks to Lisa Hill Photography who captured  this year’s celebration and years past in the photo galleries below.


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Back To Open Streets DeKalb Galleries

Messi’s Offers Fresh, Flavorful Ethiopian Cuisine

IMG_3580Visitors to now can enjoy the “most authentic Ethiopian food west of Addis Ababa,” courtesy of newly opened Messi’s Cafe and Lounge. Messi’s offers daily fresh ingredients, tasty spices, gluten-free injera, and traditional coffee ceremonies that blend fragrantly toasted brews with popcorn snacks.

Owner Messi Kyzer, who spent his childhood in Ethiopia, says that mealtime there is a social event where friends and family come together to share heaping platters of fresh food. He hopes to replicate that feeling in Emory Village’s newest restaurant, neatly tucked down one flight of stairs at 1445 Oxford Road between Saba and Dominos.

Messi’s simple, casual surroundings belie the rich aromas wafting from traditional dishes such as doro wat, a spicy chicken stew that’s the national dish of Ethiopia.

Another favorite is shiro, a thin hummus-like dish cooked with chickpeas, pepper, onions, and tomatoes and spicy Ethiopian butter.

Like much Ethiopian cuisine, shiro is eaten with pieces of injera, a spongey flat bread that’s made daily using 100 percent teff flour, an ancient grain that’s indigenous to Ethopia. Technically a seed, teff is a nutrient-rich, naturally gluten-free “superfood.”

The menu is friendly to carnivores and vegetarians alike, and includes beef, chicken and lamb dishes, as well as fragrant collard greens and spicy red lentil stew.

IMG_0415The restaurant’s lounge is available for private parties, and Messi’s also caters for groups up to 50 people. On the drawing board are plans for patio dining, and the owners have also applied for a beer and wine license.

“Emory Village was at the top of our list when we were searching for sites to open our
restaurant,” says the owner. He notes that its proximity to Emory’s international population was a great draw. “We love that our space is tucked away—it feels very European or like it was in New York. It may take a little effort to find us, but when you do, we hope Messi’s becomes your favorite place.”

Messi’s is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more information, visit

Proposed Variances for Wine Store Withdrawn

An application to the DeKalb  Zoning Board of Appeals for variances which would have allowed a developer to convert the long vacant Chevron Station Emory Village into a wine store were withdrawn without prejudice in October at the request of the owners, Carolyn and Jimmy Pearson.

 The DeKalb County Historic Preservation Commission in July had approved a certificate of appropriateness for the proposed Sherlock’s wine store at 1574 North Decatur Road, pending additional data to be supplied by the August meeting of the commission. Safety concerns had been expressed over backing out of parking spaces onto the sidewalk and into North Decatur Road,

The applicant sought to purchase the property and renovate the existing structure. The presentation to the commission is available for review at the DeKalb County Planning Commission website

The proposal required several variances, including a variance to eliminate a landscaping buffer, a variance to allow small car ‘compact’ spaces on site, a variance to allow two parking spaces in front of the building closer than 30 feet, and a variance to reduce the amount of required parking if the owners convert the space from retail to restaurant in the future.

While the Emory Village Alliance supported the overall restoration of the historic Chevron building, the EVA Board expressed concerns about safety, parking, and landscape buffers. Read the EVA Zoning Board of Appeals Statement re 1574 N. Decatur Road 081115

Read EVA’s position on the historic preservation issues.

Gas tanks were removed in early July in preparation for the possible new business on the site.

Click here for video of the gas tank removal

Tank Removal Chevron 3


Calling All Dogs!

cute dog croppedAs part of  Open Streets in Emory Village on Sunday, Sept. 20, join us in our first annual Best in Show dog contest. For dogs of all shapes and sizes and dog lovers, this is a must see event.

Inspired by the Westminster Dog Show, the dogs in the Open Streets Best In Show will walk the competition circle, sit and shake (if they can). Performance of other tricks will be welcome, but are not required. It’s all about showing off your dog!

There will be two categories of dogs in this year’s competition: large and small dogs. Prizes will be given for best in category and an overall prize for Best in Show. Many additional prizes will also be given for other outstanding attributes displayed during the competition such as “Most Spirited.” A panel of three local celebrity dog lovers will judge the show.

No registration or training is required. To enter, simply come to the performance tent with your dog and be prepared to win. Look for a banner that says Calling All Dogs with a giant paw print. Get there in plenty of time to be assigned to your proper category and ready for the competition. We expect a large turnout, so be prepared to compete.

The competition begins promptly at 5:15. Expect a howling good time.

Open Streets 2016 Schedule


  Car-Free, Human-Powered Fun
         for the  Whole Family! 

Scheduled Events:

Time                         Event                                          Location

2:45                        Sewhe Village Drummers                           Majik Cleaners

3:00                        Halloween Parade                                     Gather at Panera

3:20                        Halloween Parade Photo

3:30                         Small Group No. 9  A cappella                  Plaza

4:00                        Nonessential Band                                       Plaza

4:00                        Best Dog Costume,Tricks Contests        Grassy Field

4:30                         Glenn Memorial Youth Choir                     Plaza

5:00                         Imperial OPA Trapeze Act                       Grassy Field

5:25                          Sewhe Village Drummers                         Plaza

5:45                           Rocket 88 Band                                       Plaza

6:45                           Imperial OPA Circus Fire Act             Slice & Pint



Puppet Factory                            N. Decatur Road

Ambient OPA  Circus                 N. Decatur and S. Oxford

Climbing Wall                              Slice & Pint parking lot

Bouncy House                              Saba parking lot

Giant Chess                                  S. Oxford Road

Face Painting                               S. Oxford Road

Fire Engine                                   N. Decatur Road

Artist Market                                N. Decatur Road