Cabbagetown Chomp and Stomp

First things first: there is a neighborhood in Atlanta called Cabbagetown.

No, that’s not the nickname of the neighborhood. It’s the actual name of the neighborhood.

According to Wikipedia, some reasons as to why it may have received this name:

There are a few explanations as to how the neighborhood received its current name. One is that the mostly transplanted poor Appalachian residents, largely of Scots-Irish descent, who worked in the nearby Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill would grow cabbages in the front yards of their houses, so that one could distinctly smell the odor of cooking cabbage coming from the neighborhood. This term was used originally with derision by people outside the neighborhood, but it soon became a label of pride for the people who lived there. A variation of this legend is that a Ford Model T took a sharp turn at one of the main intersections of Cabbagetown, flipped, and spilled its cargo of cabbages across the street.

Total side-note, but I did visit the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts last year during one of their open-house events and it was awesome.

Anyway, one of the biggest events in Cabbagetown is their annual Chomp and Stomp event every November. Why Chomp and Stomp? Because you’re chomping on chili and you’re stomping to some local bluegrass music.

I attended yesterday (second time total – first time was 2014). Had a great time and enjoyed the chili, even if I was paying for it this morning.

Some key takeaways about this event:

Familiar with Atlanta restaurants?

If so, then this a super fun and tasty way to experience friendly competition amongst the restaurants. For example, I had chili from Ria’s Bluebird, DBA Barbecue, Southern Gentleman, Corner Tavern, and various other Atlanta staples. DBA and Ria’s had my two favorites of the day.

Pro Tip: Bring a cupcake pan.

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All my cups!
The tasting can get overwhelming; you’re hopping from one booth to another, waiting in lines that look long but are actually quite rapid-fire. You need to inhale your chili before you move on to the next one, because you only have so many hands. I saw some folks carry cupcake pans to put their chili cups in, so they can do their tasting a little bit easier, without messing up their digestion system.
Otherwise, you’ll end up like me with a bazillion stacked cups while also trying to balance holding a drink.

Five dollars costs you a plastic spoon (but at least this year, it had great branding).

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Five dollar spoon.
As a marketer, I can really appreciate their new logo this year and the fact that they are owning the fact that admission is simply the cost of a plastic spoon. Two years ago, when I attended Chomp and Stomp, they just gave me a measly clear plastic spoon in exchange for five dollars. Sure, you’re eating tons of chili so the cost is well worth the experience, but I still felt a sense of dissatisfaction for the fact that I didn’t even get a ticket in exchange for anything. People could easily walk in with their own plastic spoons and not pay the admission cost.

This year, they provided biodegradable orange spoons and cute drink tokens. Yes, I’m a sucker for good branding, so it made me actually want to pay this year. Let’s face it: the plastic spoon is part of the character of this event, so why not own up to it. 

The Local Atmosphere is pretty fun.

“Make America Drunk Again” is one of the first signs you see when you’re walking down the streets tasting chili. But the best part is that they’re selling $5 margaritas powered by bicycle. Yes, it’s cringeworthingly hipster (is cringeworthingly a word? Whatever). But it was yummy, so why not.

Also, if you live in the area, you’re pretty much stuck, so why not take full advantage. I had to take Marta and walk from King Memorial Station to Cabbagetown because there was no way I was even attempting to drive in that area with all those people.

There’s music and art vendors, too.

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Marta: Ride or Die
As with any Atlanta festival, there will be local art vendors. Over time,  you recognize the same vendors over and over again, but they always provide a distinct Atlanta feel. I try to support them if I really feel compelled – I can only imagine when I buy my own house what that will turn into – so on this occasion, I bought a Marta block. Because I take Marta and I support Marta and I support Marta expansion. 

Other things to Note:

  • There is also a 5K, for those who might want to burn a few hundred calories before partaking in chili tasting. Plus, you get a nice shirt.
  • The chili cook-off begins at 12:30pm. but it’s recommended to get there at 11am to beat the lines.
  • Transportation options include Marta (a shuttle runs from King Memorial to the event), parking at Krog Street Market next door, or Ubering.
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