Only Alisa Barry could take a whopping 3,100 square foot space, fill it with a thousand items and make it feel like home. The impeccably curated Bella Cucina shop is remarkable. And maybe a bit magical.
What started as a simple line of pantry provisions, from the likes of an Italian grocer with a terrific sweet tooth, has since blossomed into a gift shop, a vintage cocktail starter shelf, a furniture store, a dreamy closet, an art studio, workshops, and a languid gathering spot. Yet, it’s so much more than any of this. It’s a rare force nudging you to become a better version of yourself.
Bella Cucina helps you up your game and finally indulge in those brilliant ideas which, on second thought, you always deem too hard and undoable. Ideas like throwing a fete with old school cocktails served in swanky vintage glassware, just like Fitzgerald and Hemingway—minus the fist fighting. Or eating fat bowls of saucy pasta around a rustic French farm table despite your terribly narrow porch. Or making your abode magazine-worthy using sky-high vases, petit paintings and oversized floor coverings. Or more than any of this, undo your doing by tapping into inner peace and serenity through the meditative practice of Japanese ink art.
There is something for everyone at Bella Cucina. It’s both your guidebook and your resource to living fully and living well.
In the early nineties, Alisa opened a café in Atlanta to share her passion for cooking and eating as an artful ritual. Inspired by her sabbaticals in the hill towns of Italy and culinary training in California (she apprenticed under Alice Waters at Chez Panisse), she created simple menus with locally sourced ingredients. When her loyal customers kept asking to take home her artful offerings, an artisan food business was born.
Then Oprah found her. The best-selling Lemon Artichoke Pesto was the first Bella Cucina item to make Oprah’s Favorite Things List. Pretty much everything Alisa does is spot on. Subsequently, she began searching the globe for objects of affection and collaborations with other like-minded artisans in order to create beautiful essentials for our kitchen, home and soul.
The Bella Cucina flagship store in Buckhead is one of those exceptional places that lets you touch sculpture. It’s a bookshop. It has one-of-a-kind antiques, furniture and found objects. It’s ceramics and textiles and wooden picnic baskets. It is elegant serving bowls. It’s a market chock full of Spanish potato chips in stylish tins, Italian hot sauce, pomodoro sauce and artisanal pastas. Spices and aromatic salts sit next to a rainbow of small-batch pestos and bountiful rounds of Pane Rustic. It’s walls of Alisa’s gorgeous custom Japanese ink art. It’s also a venue to learn about Tea Tasting & Artful Food Pairing or take a Food Photography Workshop. But again, it’s really so much more than all this.
It’s inspiration and courage. A reminder to slow down to the speed of life and live more deliberately so you can capture all the joy one life can amass. You only get one. It’s a shot of wellness and the easiest steps to simplicity. So perhaps this is why it feels akin to home.
Bella Cucina is your one-stop life shop. It’s loads of goodness plunked into one sunny locale. The sunshine glistens into the storefront all day long. Given its location on the Buckhead Avenue block, all-day abundant sun isn’t even geographically possible, but it’s happening.
Here’s what you absolutely must know before you visit Bella Cucina. There is only one way to experience its wonderment. Immediately, upon walking inside, take in the welcoming signature scent. Right then, the space starts to transform you. But stay with the plan. Don’t get lost in the store quite yet. Instead, walk straight to the checkout and find the deck of EnCOURAGEment Cards. Pull one out. Read it. Then reread it because it’s so perfectly attuned to your life in that moment. The exact affirmation you needed, right? Good news is you get to keep the card. Next, turn around and take in the vast enchantment surrounding you. What narrows your focus? Or piques your interest? Saunter over to it. Start there. Nothing else matters as you begin to step and turn and reach and meander around the milieu of Bella Cucina.
Sometime after you visit, your soul might start hungering for more than the banal day you’ve had, and it can feel like something deep down inside you is missing. Only you can’t pinpoint exactly what, that’s when you’ll recall the EnCOURAGEment Card you pulled from the deck. The one that challenged you to be braver and live more completely. Just remember the ting of magic you experienced when you picked it. Reset your sights and aspirations to the card’s suggestion and affirmation. All of which will beg you to return to Bella Cucina to discover new ways of continuing to live your best life. You’ll always find your way back there. Again and again and again. Just like home.
Bella Cucina is located in the heart of the Buckhead Village at 270 Buckhead Avenue.