This is the home for the weekly Rough Draft feature. If you know somebody who has an interesting Top 5 Something, email us to nominate them.


Billy Kramer of NFA Burger

🍔 Billy Kramer is owner and founder of NFA Burger, named “Best Burger in Georgia” by Food & Wine Magazine. Located inside a Chevron gas station in Dunwoody Village, Kramer’s idea started as a pop-up restaurant in 2018. How did a former traveling businessman become an acclaimed restaurant owner in just a few years? Kramer took a break from flipping patties to share his Top 5 Lessons in Business.  ① If you’re not enjoying it, don’t do it – The last interaction I had as a sales executive, my boss asked me to lie to a customer. I had to fight…

My Top 5 Something: Joseph Cortes with Georgia Craft Brewers Guild

Georgia is becoming a hot spot for craft brewing. Joseph Cortes is the executive director of the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, which serves as the voice for Georgia’s growing craft brewing industry. In advance of tomorrow’s Georgia’s Craft Brewers Festival, Joseph shared his Top 5 Atlanta Festivals with the Draft. 1. Shaky Knees Music Festival. I’m a huge fan of live music, and Shaky Knees always brings some of the best acts to town. You might need a good rain poncho this time of year, but great bands and musicians that span the decades always make for good vibes. 2. Marietta has some…

My Top 5 Something: Jena McGregor of Forbes

As we wrap up Women’s History Month, we wanted to feature another woman making a difference in our community.Jena McGregor is a senior editor at Forbes, where she leads coverage of the future of work, careers, and corporate leadership issues. Before joining Forbes in 2021, she wrote for the Washington Post’s business desk, writing features and news about the workplace, corporate culture, and management trends.Check out some of Jena’s recent articles on the future of Starbucks and efforts to improve the pay gap.An Atlanta native, Jena graduated from the University of Georgia, where she majored in history and journalism. She…

My Top 5 Something: Daughters Against Alzheimer’s

In the Fall of 2017, Susan Watson and Michelle Rooks founded the non-profit organization, Daughters Against Alzheimer’s, and launched their signature event, an epic-scale lip sync competition dubbed Battle for the Brain.

Stage Door starts new year with ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

Stage Door Theatre’s first show of 2022 will be Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” according to a press release.  Set in Georgia during the 1920s, the play follows two wealthy bachelors who each pretend to be a man named Earnest to win over two different women. The theatre company will run performances of the show from Feb. 4-20.  “Wilde wrote several pointed and poignant plays in his storied career, but we’re happy to kick off the new year with a sparkling and hilarious ‘champagne comedy,’” said Kelly Johnston, the director of the show, in the press release. “The…

Events for Atlanta mayoral inauguration begin this weekend

Every four years, the first Monday of January marks the beginning of a new term for Atlanta’s mayor and city council. But, the festivities begin tomorrow for Andre Dickens, and you can plan your New Year’s weekend by going to MovingATLForward.com to register for all the inaugural events.  Rough Draft caught up with Inaugural Co-Chair W. Imari Canady to get a list of five ways that folks can get involved.  ① Vaccination cards/get a COVID test. With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 still on the rise in Atlanta, all Inaugural events will have COVID protocols in place. All events will require proof of…

My Top 5 Something: Brettne Bloom of The Book Group

“Having just moved to Atlanta from New York a year ago,” Bloom says, “I’m still exploring all the bookish corners of this city. I’ve been thrilled to see how much vibrancy there is here in the literary community—and I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface.”

My Top 5 Something: Kristen Ledlow of the NBA on TNT

Kristen Ledlow is perhaps best known for covering NBA and NBA Playoff games on TNT. She also anchors select NBA TV studio coverage during the season. Originally from Florida, she now calls Atlanta home. The 2021-22 NBA season marks her eighth year with Turner Sports. 

Where to watch the SEC Championship

🍺 If you don’t have a ticket to the game, we rounded up some spots to watch tomorrow’s SEC Championship. If you want some local Athens flavor, head up to the Classic City for a Classic City Lager at Creature Comforts Brewery (above) or the nearby Georgia Theater. In Atlanta, here are some local favorites: ① The Midway Pub: An East Atlanta Village staple with good food, a long bar always full of great people, ample TVs at multiple angles, and a dog-friendly patio.  ② Grindhouse Killer Burgers: With locations across Atlanta and Athens, the folks at Grindhouse have created one of…

My Top 5 Something: Jennifer Sutton of Art Meso

Since 2015, the Atlanta-based Art Meso has emerged as a premier, internationally traveling art and fashion exhibition, placing an emphasis on creativity over anything else. “Creating is the fundamental basis to existence,” says founder Jennifer Sutton.  We asked Sutton for her Top 5 list of things that inspire her:

My Top 5 Something: Georgia River Network Executive Director Rena Ann Peck

Pace Academy graduate Rena Ann Peck grew up in Buckhead’s Peachtree Battle neighborhood. These days she is Executive Director of the Georgia River Network, and founder of Watershed Sustainability LLC. She is a leading voice for safe river recreation and conservation, advocating for science-based watershed management, and encouraging Georgians to be stewards of local rivers. She also leads campaigns to conserve and protect places like the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Before next Tuesday’s ChiliFest for Rivers fundraiser at SweetWater Brewing Co., we asked Rena Ann for her Top 5 Something. Below she shares her favorite memories of Peachtree Creek, which…

My Top 5 Something: Andrew Thomas Lee

Photographer Andrew Thomas Lee’s work revolves around food culture and the role it plays in people’s lives. “Beautiful plates are always nice, but learning what it took to get there is what really interests me,” he says. “I love shooting food, working with cooks, and being a part of the Atlanta restaurant scene and food community.” Lee also shoots portraits of musicians, and other creative work. His photographs have appeared in publications such as Esquire, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, People, Atlanta, Garden & Gun, New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He has also shot 14 cookbooks with…

My Top 5 Something: Sophia Qureshi of 285 South

Sophia Qureshi started the 285 South newsletter about Atlanta’s immigrant communities, after working various media and communications roles at organizations including Al Jazeera, CNN, the UN, and the racial justice nonprofit South Asian Americans Leading Together.

My Top 5 Something: Springs Publishing Editor-at-large Joe Earle

Joe Earle, editor-at-large for Springs Publishing, traveled back roads and highways throughout Georgia for years to locate the local oddities often described simply as “roadside attractions.” Along the way, he catalogued scores of the state’s one-of-a-kind monuments, markers and museums, and other strange sights standing on the side of the road. Here are his Top Five favorites.

My Top 5 Something: Actor Mark Ashworth

Mark Ashworth is a native of Manchester, England, but considers himself an ATLien, having lived here since 1997. He’s been working in film and television since 2008, with a front-row seat to the exponential growth of the film industry in Georgia. This week, Atlanta indie rock staple PLS PLS unveiled a new video for the song “The Island,” in which Ashworth plays the tortured protagonist. “I’ve known Director Calvin Florian for decades, and we’ve been trying to work together, and the stars finally aligned. I knew his creative collaborator David Naugle, and it turned out I also remembered Dan Dixon…

My Top 5 Something: Thrifting with Tyler-Simone Molton

Tyler-Simone Molton is the lead singer and co-songwriter of the Atlanta band Lesibu Grand. Tyler and the band essentially came of age during the COVID-era, when performing live was risky and nearly impossible, so the group started focusing its resources and energy into creating music videos and colorfully staged live streams.

My Top 5 Something: Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch

Lynn Deutsch was elected Mayor of Dunwoody in 2019, and has spent most of her term dealing with the ongoing pandemic. As events such as Lemonade Days unfold this weekend, and The Spruill Center for the Arts springs to life with new murals, Dunwoody is once again bustling with activity. More outdoor celebrations are planned, such as the Kosher BBQ Festival coming up Oct. 17, and the Atlanta Chili Cook Off slated for Oct. 23. Deutsch took a few moments out of her schedule to share with us what she personally enjoys getting out and doing when she has some free time.…

My Top 5 Something: Plywood’s Jeff Shinabarger

Jeff Shinabarger is the founder of Plywood, an Atlanta-based non-profit addressing social needs throughout the city. He has his finger on the pulse of hundreds of social entrepreneurs who are doing incredible work in the metro Atlanta area.  Their premier event, Plywood Presents, happens next Thursday, Aug. 12.  In advance of that event, we asked him for his Top 5 Atlanta-Born Social Enterprises. As Shinabarger says, “the future is good!” 1. Refuge Coffee Co.: This job training program has become a cornerstone of the community in Clarkston, one of the most diverse square miles in the country. You will look around and…

My Top 5 Something: Alan Greenberg of Illuminarium

Local entrepreneur and Buckhead resident Alan Greenberg is known for thinking big. Among his many ventures is an eponymously named news network and Avenues: The World School, which has locations in Manhattan and São Paulo. Lately, Greenberg has poured his energy into bringing Illuminarium to Atlanta, aiming to make it the premier entertainment attraction for tourists and locals alike.  Using the most advanced projection, sound, and augmented reality technology, Illuminarium creates a cinematic immersion into different worlds, beginning with an African safari, which is now open. Before opening on the BeltLine, Greenberg traveled the globe fleshing out the concepts behind Illuminarium. For…

My Top 5 Something: Kirk Mellish of WSB Radio

After 30+ years on Atlanta’s News/Talk radio station, 95.5 WSB, Kirk Mellish’s last day on the air is July 30. For three decades, Mellish has been Atlanta’s only full-time radio meteorologist, known for his “Mellish Meter,” and training listeners that “when the weather is hellish, depend on Mellish.” The Chicago native, and North Cobb resident, will continue weather blogging for WSB and posting timely weather highlights on Twitter. In honor of his retirement, we asked Mellish for his Top 5 Something, and he wanted to tell us about the live music scene in Atlanta’s northwest suburbs, which he says has…

Chad Radford: Top 5 Intown Nature Walks

Chad Radford has written about Atlanta music for more than 20 years. He is an obsessive record collector, and Rough Draft’s digital editor. The only things he loves as much as music are exploring Southwest Atlanta on his bike, getting lost in the woods while scoping out wildlife, and foraging for mushrooms in those same woods. When he’s not behind his keyboard on deadline, he spends his days exploring Atlanta’s hidden forests, and there are a lot of them. Here are Chad’s Top 5 Intown Nature Walks: 1. Constitution Lakes: The boardwalk at Constitution Lakes (pictured above right) overlooks a scenic wetlands, home…