David Payne is the co-founder of Scoutmob, an Atlanta-based startup that combines 3 things that I love: Atlanta, local businesses and a good deal. While Mr. Payne should be out finding local deals (Scoutmob officially launches today), I’ve managed to sequester him at A Is For Atlanta HQ, to answer a question or two…
Q. What are some Atlanta’s most “curious finds”?
A. Unlike those in larger cities, Atlanta’s curious finds are harder to stumble upon. But to me, that’s what makes them more rewarding when you do find them. Off the top of my head, I would say Baton Bob (if I were mayor of a city, there would be ten of him!), Le Flash (an amazing yearly even of art and light), Elliot Street Pub (fantastic guys + fantastic sandwiches in a very curious old building), Trader Vic’s (especially with the Dames Aflame performing), Paris on Ponce (their Berlin-during-the-war-looking event space is amazing), the Decatur Farmer’s Market (the foodie United Nations of Atlanta), the art of R.LAND (I laugh at Loss Cat just thinking about it), the Galaga machine in the back of the Plaza Theatre, everything at Youngblood Gallery, Thelma’s on Auburn Avenue (it was surreal to watch Obama’s Inauguration on the tiny television in their dining room), the Krog Tunnel, Sid Mashburn (best customer service in town). And last-but-not-least Octane Coffee on the Westside – the hub of curiousness and intown greatness in Atlanta (but that’s just my humble opinion).
Our city’s most curious find is more curious then your city’s most curious find.
Q. Favorite neighborhood(s)?
A. There are so many great neighborhoods in Atlanta; it’s difficult to just name a few. I’ll go with the ones I hang out in the most. I have a loft in Castleberry, so that would definitely be one; it’s the most interesting laboratory of neighborhoods in Atlanta — so many cultural mixes, it’s very exciting. Next would be Virginia Highland – certainly the most quintessential neighborhood in town. Finally, I’ve fallen more and more in love with Oakhurst (and Decatur) lately. A little further out, but the residents are fantastic, the food is great, and the general vibe is very welcoming.
Q. A night out in Atlanta with Thomas Paine and Major Payne- where are you going?
A. Since Paine was a combination of a trouble-maker, a contrarian, and never a very well-to-do gentleman, I’d focus on affordable places with lots of chances to rabble-rouse. The night would begin at Cafe Intermezzo to discuss a little political philosophy over some coffee. Then we’d stroll down the street to Holeman & Finch Public House (though I’d probably have to pay for dinner) and then finally over to Clermont, which would pretty much blow his mind. If you want to collect a cross-section of people in Atlanta for some good “”exchange of ideas and opinions,”” there’s no better place. Now those are some Rights of Man!
A candid shot of Paine, prior to chatting with the gals at The Clermont about about using a little common sense.
Q. Atlanta is a great city to be an entrepreneur because…
A. Contrary to what a lot of people think, Atlanta is a great place to be an entrepreneur… if you are the right type of entrepreneur. If you want to create the next Google or Twitter, move to Mountain View. Lots more talent and a lot more available funding there. But if you want to create a sustainable business (even an online one), Atlanta is perfect. We have tons of smart, skilled folks from the local universities. The startup community is very welcoming (checkout ATDC & Ignition Alley). General costs to get up and going are lower than larger cites. And – maybe most importantly – if you are doing cool stuff, lots of people in Atlanta want to help out until the business ramps up. This includes me — if you’re a local entrepreneur, hit me up for advice anytime (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q. It’s your last meal in Atlanta- where are you going, and what are you ordering?
A. For my last meal in Atlanta, I’d snuggle myself into a booth at Highland Tap. Their downstairs is so dark and cozy. I’d start with a Belvedere & Tonic. Then a spinach salad (hold the egg). And – for the main course – one of their burgers with some pepper gravy on the side for the fries. Maybe a Stella to wash the burger down. Then I’d roll myself over to Murphy’s for some Bonzo Cake. Highland Tap has been my favorite spot in Atlanta for years.
BONUS QUESTION: What is ScoutMob, and why is it awesome?
A. If you’re into anything I mentioned above, there’s no way you wouldn’t be into Scoutmob. We’ve got amazing mobile deals (as in, deals you redeem on your phone) good for all sorts of awesome (local) businesses. It’s free to you — and fresh every day in your email. And every email comes with an extra couple servings of the curious tidbits we come across around town. We like to think of it as incentive for Atlantans to get out, do more, and appreciate all the cool things happening in our community.
The Relevant Linkage
A recipe for Dave’s beloved Bonzo Cake, here.
A loft in Dave’s beloved Castleberry Hill, here.
A look at Dave’s beloved Scoutmob, here.