Automatic for the People

On East Broad in Athens sits low to the street this kermit-green building putting out pork chops, vegetable plates and the like since 1986. The prices are reasonable which means the citizenry, including college students, are able to get their fix, and the world best knows Weaver D’s for what the owner sing-songs — not just your order, but his mantra, that it’s all “Automatic for the People”.

This sign previously hung outside but for the last few years it’s been here in the dining room

R.E.M. paid him for using his ‘Automatic for the People’ phrase on their 1992 release

From the L.A. Times
Weaver wasn’t into rock. Motown is his style. And he didn’t know that R.E.M. was really big. But they struck a deal. Weaver got “a pretty good amount.” And the deal put Weaver D’s, then open only six years, on the rock music map. Soon he found himself roasting 7,000 bags of peanuts for a Warner Bros. record promotion.

“My life changed,” he says. The world made its way to Weaver D’s door. CNN. CBS. MTV. Spin. Some came just to gawk. Some came to see the star-shaped metal sculpture, photographed by Anton Corbijn, that was on the album cover. “People think it’s on my roof,” he says. In reality, it’s in Miami. Maybe, he muses, he’ll have one built.

With its communal tables covered with checkered oilcloth, mismatched chairs and walls bedecked with things R.E.M., Weaver D’s continues to be a magnet for the band’s fans and the curious. At the height of the “Automatic” frenzy, someone stole Weaver’s sign, later returning it with a $10 bill and a note apologizing for ripping off “a genuine piece of Athens history.” Campaigning in Athens in 1992, Al Gore promised he and Bill Clinton would be “automatic for the people.”

The James Beard America’s Classic award is nonchalantly leaning up between the Mountain Dew machine and the television

Weaver D's Delicious Fine Foods, Athens GA//

It’s all good: collards, broccoli casserole, corn, peas, cornbread
Weaver D's Delicious Fine Foods, Athens GA//

banana pudding
Weaver D's Delicious Fine Foods, Athens GA//

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