About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view toorayay's profile
    Posted April 1, 2013 by
    Atlanta, Georgia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

    Atlanta's Iconic Vortex Restaurant Re-created in LEGO


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     toorayay runs trivia nights at the Vortex restaurant's location in Atlanta's Little Five Points neighborhood, and says he has been patronizing the Vortex eateries for 15 years. He told us that he has done many of these sorts of things before and started working on this structure in late February. The photos were taken in March, and gained popularity after being posted on Facebook.

    'I'm there a lot and the way it was (built) and with the imprint it has on the neighborhood, I could visualize what I wanted to do with it as soon as I started conceptualizing the project.' He's proud of the response he's gotten to the piece, which consists of (roughly estimated) 2,500 LEGO bricks. 'This is the most feedback I've gotten on any of my projects; the one that's been shared the most often,' he said. 'Lots of 'cools' and 'awesomes' and things like that.'

    toorayay says he enjoys participating in the adult LEGO builder community. He dug into his stores of LEGO figurines to come up with the eclectic customers gathered around the store, mimicking the people who gather in the surrounding neighborhood.

    'Some of the minifigures are from the collectible line that LEGO produces (the hippie, punk rocker, skater girl, mechanic, and headphones guy). The others were put together from my collection of figures.'
    - nsaidi and hhanks, CNN iReport producers

    Right in the heart of Atlanta's historic Little Five Points district stands a building whose distinctive skull facade captures the spirit of the neighborhood: The Vortex Bar & Grill.


    LEGO collector and regular Vortex patron Noel Wood decided that the building deserved to be captured in his favorite medium, the iconic Danish-built plastic brick that has inspired the imaginations of both children and adults for over half a century.


    The restaurant opened in 1996 as a sister location to its midtown store. Its atmosphere and attitude are legendary, and attract tourists as well as locals. However, the real draw for the restaurant has always been its menu. The Vortex is known for its assortment of monstrous and delicious hamburgers, as well as a wide variety of beer and spirits to help ease the tension of a weary day.


    Recreating the resturant's atmosphere in LEGO bricks was no easy task, as the unique entrance and busy interior were so crucial in making the model instantly recognizable. Elements such as the wall decor, fire exit, and bar area had to be incorporated and miniaturized to fit the model's scale. Even the restaurant's centerpiece, a human skeleton mounted upon a vintage motorcycle hanging from the ceiling, made it into the final design.


    The Vortex was so impressed with its plastic miniature counterpart that it used Wood's photo as the profile picture on its official Facebook page.

    Add your Story Add your Story