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StoryCorps Atlanta: 'I Just Started Dreaming'

Jan 13, 2015

Nearly 30 years ago, Martha Hawkins had four boys to feed and says that she was living on welfare with no plans and no dreams. She suffered from serious depression and became suicidal. And she says it was being admitted into a mental institute that helped her turn her life around. In the StoryCorps booth, Martha told Jada Harris about how it was at Greil Psychiatric Hospital in Montgomery that she realized what she wanted to do in life.

Six Years Of City Cafe

Jan 9, 2015
cake at Death Cafe Atlanta
Kate Sweeney / WABE

City Cafe began on Feb. 2, 2009 with a few jaunty notes and host John Lemley welcoming listeners to the noon hour for a mix of classical music and stories and interviews which took a look at the artistic and cultural life of Atlanta. 

The Cafe is closing for good on Jan. 9, and we are taking this week to look back at our favorite stories. All of us on the City Cafe staff would like to thank you for listening.

Read more about the changes coming to WABE here.

The Best of City Cafe for 2014

Jan 2, 2015
Francine Reed
Georgia Department of Economic Development

2014 has proved to be another busy year for both City Cafe and the city of Atlanta. Our reporting has taken us to rooftops, through forests, and into the lives of seemingly ordinary folks with extraordinary stories. As this year ends and the new one begins, we present some of our favorite features of '14.

Singer Francine Reed on Her Career and Recognition

Vegetables at KSU Dining Hall
Ryan Nabulsi /

Already sick of turkey and dressing?

Consider a lunch of venison roast and maybe a salad made with lettuce grown right down the road.

Does that sound like lunch from a new Atlanta locavore restaurant? Think again: it’s on the menu in the dining hall at Kennesaw State University.

Taste of Atlanta

It's kind of like an early Christmas for foodies, or hungry people.

The 13th annual Taste of Atlanta kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday.

More than 300 menu items are available at the event, held in midtown Atlanta at Tech Square.

The Doughnut Maker in Decatur

Sep 26, 2014
Evan Jang / WABE

America eats over 10 billion doughnuts each year, but fresh, homemade doughnuts can be hard to find. Maria Moore Riggs started off selling her baked goods at local farmer’s markets, and as soon as she offered doughnuts, they were hard to keep in stock.

Now she runs Revolution Doughnuts in Decatur, where they make them by hand each morning, as we found when we visited them for this Atlanta Sound.

Have an idea for Atlanta Sounds? Let us know!

Kate Sweeney / WABE

This story, which first ran July 31, 2013, is the winner of the 2014 a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Use of Sound. Take a listen!

R. Thomas Deluxe Grill has several claims to fame. The Peachtree Street restaurant began catering to carnivores and vegetarians alike soon after it opened its doors in 1985. Today, it’s one of the city’s few remaining local 24-hour eateries. 

To explore the third claim, WABE’s Kate Sweeney drove to Buckhead for a visit.

An Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain in Hapeville

Jul 8, 2014
Dan Raby / WABE

In the first part of the twentieth century, the soda fountain could be found in drug stores across America. However, with the rise of the vending machine and pharmacy chains, soda fountains began to disappear. While there are very few working fountains these days,  there's a drug store in Hapeville that's had one for almost 100 years. We visited Chapman Drug Company to find out more.


Kate Sweeney / WABE

Winter is on its way, but that doesn’t mean we need to forsake all the goodness from our gardens, or from the produce shelves. We paid a visit to the kitchen of Preserving Place on Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood, where Martha McMillin teaches classes on food preservation, including canning, fermentation and pickling.

Host John Lemley talked with Martha about why she thinks pickling has made a comeback and what it means to her, as we made a batch of that southern delicacy, pickled okra.

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

During this Fall Fund Drive, we’re looking back at some of our favorite work we’ve brought you on City Café in recent months.

 In a typical lunch period at Garden Hills Elementary School, you'll find Georgia-grown apples, kale--and even fresh sweet potatoes that were grown in Georgia or surrounding states.  

Atlanta Public Schools gets most of its cafeteria food from the Southeast. It’s all part of a larger plan to get kids eating fresher food—which sounds great.

But let’s be honest. We’re talking kids and vegetables.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is temporarily lifting its recreational red snapper fishing ban, allowing Georgia anglers to cast for the crimson fish. 

The lift begins Friday and lasts until midnight Sunday. 

In addition to Georgia, the temporary lift covers the Carolinas and Florida.

The region is currently under a population rebuilding plan.

Blueberry Crops Top Peaches in Georgia

Jul 22, 2013

Over the past few years, a blue fruit has earned Georgia farmers a lot of green.

The Peach State's most profitable fruit is the blueberry.

According to the Georgia Blueberries Commission, blueberries brought in $94 million for farmers in 2012.  That's triple the amount peaches earned last year.

"We'll, you know, probably never pass, you know, chickens and some other commodities, but we're on the road to 100-to-120 million pound crops in Georgia," says the commission's chairman Joe Cornelius.

Twinkies Returning to Grocery Stores

Jul 10, 2013

It's being called "The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever."

Set your calendars.  Twinkies are returning to grocery store shelves on Monday, July 15.

Hostess, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year is bringing the golden, cream-filled treats back.

Latke Cooking

Jun 27, 2013

Amanda Bunder teaches kids at Rambam Atlanta Day School. She cooks latkes for her students in December in celebration of Hanukkah.

The AJC's Shane Harrison tells us about the following budget-friendly events coming up around Atlanta.

Tunes from the Tombs takes place at Oakland Cemetery this Saturday, June 8th from 1 to 8 pm.

Scenes from  the operas of Benjamin Britten will be onstage at the Rialto Theater as part of their Harrower Summer Opera Workshop on Wednesday, June 12th at 12 pm.

Kevin Gillespie's 'Gunshow' Opens

May 10, 2013

Amid much anticipation, Atlanta chef Kevin Gillespie opened his new restaurant this week. But will another celebrity chef concept survive where others haven’t? 

‘Gunshow’ is not only a difficult restaurant name for some patrons to swallow, but the concept is also a little different. The bare-bones, yet high-end restaurant in East Atlanta's Glenwood Park does have an open kitchen and  doesn’t have a traditional menu. 

Twinkies Are Coming Back, Manufactured in Georgia

Apr 24, 2013

If you’re just about out of your stash of Twinkies, take heart: they’re on their way back to the market.

And some of those Twinkies are going to be made right here in Georgia.

Hostess has a new owner, and it is re-opening four former baking plants including one in Columbus.

Frozen Snacks From Georgia Plant Recalled

Apr 6, 2013

Ten million pounds of cheesy foods manufactured in south Georgia have been recalled because of possible E. Coli contamination.



Rich Products Corporation, which makes Farm Rich and Market Day frozen foods, is voluntarily recalling products made at its plant in Waycross, Georgia.

This includes all quesadillas, mini pizzas, and other snacks made at the plant with best buy dates ranging from January 1st of this year to late September of next year.

This recall expands upon a smaller recall last week.


Mar 18, 2013

Passover begins next week. The Jewish holiday commemorates the mass exodus of Jews from Egypt. For eight days, observant Jews will eat Matzo, a symbolic dry, flat cracker,  also known for its cardboard taste. And that is what fueled the entrepreneurial spirit of an Atlanta couple.

Wayne Silverman has been making maple-nut matzo granola in his kitchen for more than 40 a way to actually eat something tasty during Passover.  He calls it Matzolah.

“I eat my Matzolah in every way possible; just snack on it, pop it in my mouth. I love to put it into yogurt.”

IKEA Meatballs in US Safe from Horsemeat

Feb 25, 2013

Fans of IKEA’s Swedish meatballs can feel safe snacking in Atlantic Station.

IKEA says its US stores have not been affected by the company’s recent decision to recall its Köttbullar Swedish meatballs in stores across Europe.

The Swedish furniture company recalled a batch of meatballs because Czech authorities found that it was tainted with horse meat.

The European meat industry has been entangled in a growing scandal over the past month, in which meat labeled as beef and pork was found to actually contain horse DNA.

Georgia Included in Sausage Recall

Feb 22, 2013

Georgia is among the states affected by a major recall by the Smithfield Packing Company.  

The Virginia-based business is pulling 38,000 pounds of its pork sausage.  The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service reports there were two incidents of tiny pieces of plastic found in the food.

Duluth Company Recalls Chicken Products

Dec 7, 2012

A food manufacturer in Duluth has voluntarily recalled more than 35,000 pounds of breaded chicken products.

The recalled products are all sold under the FreeBird brand as FreeBird Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets and FreeBird Fully Cooked Chicken Patties.

They are made by a company called Suzanna’s Kitchen. Norman Andrews, Vice President and General Manager, says the complaint that prompted the voluntary recall came from FreeBird.

“There were small pieces of plastic possibly in the product,” said Andrews, “and we as a company felt like it was necessary to do this.”

Kim Severson and Cornbread Nation 6

Oct 16, 2012

Ten years ago, the folks at the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the Unversity of Mississippi, released Cornbread Nation.  It was an anthology of southern food writing by some of the day’s top authors in the field.  Now, a decade later, Cornbread Nation 6 is on the shelves, featuring essays and articles by the likes of Francis Lam, Molly O'Neill and some names quite familiar to an Atlanta audience:  Bill Addison and John Edge.  One of the contributors to Cornbread Nation 6 is Atlanta-based New York Times food writer Kim Severson.  She stopped by

Every mall-goer knows the smell of Cinnabon rolls just out of the oven. 

Now, the Atlanta-based chain is trying something different.  Pizza.

"When the Pizzabon was first pitched to me by our R&D team, I thought they were nuts,” says Cinnabon president.

But it didn’t take long for her to warm up to a pizza-fied version of the company’s bread-and-butter product.  

The initial Pizzabon is like a sweet take on the traditional pepperoni pizza -- no anchovies though. 

Barbecue, Bacon and Other Adventures in Meat

Jul 5, 2012

The first two installments of PBA 30’s Get Delicious series brought us Atlanta’s Hidden Restaurant Treasures, and Atlanta’s Global Eateries.  The latest episode, Barbecue, Bacon, and other Adventures in Meat, airs tonight on channel 30.  In honor of the debut, we invited the series’ host Jim Stacey in to tell us more about the show.  Our chat began with the basics – what exactly is barbecue?

For more than two years now, there’s been a moratorium on Red Snapper Fishing off the Southeast coast.  But it appears anglers will soon be able to fish the species once again.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council voted 12-1 to allow limited red snapper fishing in the South Atlantic, including off coastal Georgia.

A 2010 fishing moratorium allowed the dwindling Red Snapper population to rebound. 

Dairy Farmers Win Settlement in Price Gouging Lawsuit

Apr 23, 2012

A recent class action lawsuit has put dairy farmers in east and northeast Georgia in position to share in a $145 million settlement.

The lawsuit was settled in a federal court in Tennessee. It accused dairy processors of price fixing and underpayments to dairy farmers in Georgia and 11 other states.

Richard Senzer is with the Settlement Recovery Group, a company hired to seek out farmers that may have been affected.

An underground Atlanta food market debuts "above ground"

Apr 20, 2012

Just over a year ago, a secret flash-mob style food fair made its first appearance in Atlanta.  The Atlanta Underground Market featured home-cook vendors who tested out their goods on curious consumers. 

It became so popular that last weekend, the "underground" market debuted "above ground."  But now that the secret is out, can the new business model succeed?

Vidalia Onion Growers Facing Challenging Season

Apr 13, 2012

Farmers are reporting two troubling issues that will likely affect the price and quantity of this year’s Vidalia onion crop.

Due to the warm winter, the Vidalia onion harvest started ten days early this year. Some are blaming the weather for a widespread problem with downy mildew, which is stunting the growth of the onions.

“It affects the tops of the plant. Basically it just shuts the plant down - it just stops them from growing,” said Kevin Hendrix, who is growing more than 800 acres of onions this year.

The East Atlanta Farmers Market was started in 2006 and operates about seven months out of the year. 

The market offers a mix of locally-grown produce and other readymade products like bread, cheese and soaps.