Whether it’s just like mom used to make or whipped up by a celebrity chef, Atlanta is home to many restaurants owned by African-Americans. Here are some of our favorites. (See more of Atlanta's tasty restaurant options here.)
Atlanta Restaurants Owned By Black Celebrities
1. Old Lady Gang
This Southern-style eatery is owned by singer and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kandi Burruss-Tucker and her husband. The “Old Lady Gang” is Burruss, her mother, Joyce Jones, and aunts Bertha Jones and Nora Wilcox. The Castleberry Hill restaurant features favorites such as deep fried whipped deviled eggs, Mama Joyce’s BBQ rib tips and Kandi’s honey-glazed blackened salmon. The restaurant is so popular the gang opened additional locations in East Point and inside State Farm Arena.
The intimate lounge and restaurant is owned by the NFL’s Cam Newton. Fellaship, located Downtown, is the place to indulge in fine dining, cigar smoking and socializing. Among the specialties are lobster bites, braised short ribs and deep dish mac & cheese.
3. Chicken + Beer
Atlanta native Cris “Ludacris” Bridges opened one of the most popular restaurants at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It’s the perfect place for a hot bite, cold drink and Southern hospitality. Try the chicken + corn chowder, fried catfish sandwich and, of course, Luda’s chicken + waffles. Enjoy beer flights from such brewers as New Realm, Creature Comforts and Scofflaw Brewing Co.
4. Bankhead Seafood
Rapper Michael Render “Killer Mike” and Clifford “T.I." Harris have fond memories of eating, as children, at Bankhead Seafood, so when the restaurant announced its closing, the two sprung to action with a plan to re-open Bankhead Seafood. They’ve already bought the business, recipes and trademarks so it should be open soon, but there will be some changes. Render’s aunt's and grandmother’s biscuits will find their way onto the menu as well as Harris’ sweet potato pie.
5. Escobar Restaurant & Tapas
Rapper 2 Chainz opened the Castleberry Hill restaurant. It serves a variety of drinks and dishes such as calamari, jerk shrimp and lamb chops.
Atlanta Restaurants Owned by Black Celebrity Chefs
6. Rock Steady
Inspired by his cultural roots and his interest in , Russo created Rock Steady to celebrate the vibrant cuisines of the West Indies. Diners can enjoy main courses such as black pepper pappardelle pasta with slow braised oxtail, kreyol seafood curry as well as several vegetarian offerings. There is an edited after-hours menu until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
7. Richard’s Southern Fried Chicken
Chef Todd Richards marinates the chicken in a spiced brine for 24 to 48 hours then fries it until it is crispy and crunchy. You can choose from classic, spicy and Richard’s hot chicken. His first cookbook, “SOUL: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution” received critical praise and was featured in magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine and People. He is slated to open a barbecue restaurant in the southwest Atlanta neighborhood Florida Height.
8. Milk and Honey
Opened by chef Sammy Davis, winner of the Food Network’s hit show “Chopped: Redemption,” and headed by co-owner Monique Rose Simms, Milk and Honey is famous for its lobster gumbo & grits, seared lemon pepper trout, fried crab legs, turkey meat loaf, crab hash and Georgia Peach Cognac French toast.
9. Tom, Dick & Hank
Hank Johnson owns the barbecue restaurant with two locations, one on Main Street, the other on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard. Johnson has been on national cooking shows where the hosts love his smoked wings, burgers and BBQ fettuccine.
10. Slutty Vegan
You'll have to stand in line to get in, but as locals and food critics across the country will tell you, it’s worth it. Located near Atlanta University Center, the restaurant is famous for its plant-based foods, especially burgers and slutty sauce. Founder Pinky Cole serves up such plant-based dishes as Chik’N Head, Big Dawg and the Super Slut, which is the plant-based burger with guacamole, jalapeños, vegan cheese, onions, lettuce, tomato and sauce on a vegan Hawaiian bun.
Located near Mercedes-Benz Stadium Paschal’s is an iconic local restaurant where civil rights leaders and business elites would meet during the civil rights struggle to discuss how to end segregation. It still serves some of the best fried chicken in town.
12. Le Petit Marché
This spot gets a lot of foodie love for its fresh breads, cheese, pestos and flavor-packed sandwiches, soups and salads. Owner Marche Sparks opened this Kirkwood gem in 2008 and while she is gaining accolades, diners should know that it’s a family affair. Both her mother and father help out and are often at the restaurant. Make sure to try the French toast sandwich and the Grits Stack with eggs, cheddar, Georgia shrimp and bacon.
13. 9 Mile Station
Kelvin and Mandy Slater opened their restaurant on the roof at Ponce City Market, and people have flocked there ever since. The elevated beer garden offers sweeping unobstructed view of Atlanta as well as craft beers from all over the world and shareable food.
Traditional Black-Owned Restaurants in Atlanta
14. Busy Bee Cafe
This is perhaps Atlanta’s best known “meat and three.” It was launched in 1947 by Lucy Jackson, when restaurants were still segregated. The restaurant regularly makes the lists for “best fried chicken.” Other favorites are neck bones, Joe Lewis ham hocks and red velvet cake.
Opened in 1993 in the historic West End by Fred and Christine Crenshaw, the restaurant has been serving up delectable, distinctive soul food ever since. Located on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, Q-Time highlights are pork chops, fried fish whiting and turnip greens.
16. Mangos Caribbean Restaurant
It's a great place on Auburn Avenue to have a fantastic meal that won’t break the bank. Try the saltfish, oxtails and jerk curry.
17. The Beautiful
Want the perfect biscuit? Then head over to Cascade Road to this cafeteria-style dining environment. Its food is nationally known, especially the biscuits, but the Cornish hens, salmon patties and pancakes are pretty good as well.
18. Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours
Deborah Vantrece serves up a menu based on soul food principles with a modern twist. Located in West Midtown, the restaurant's specialties are Grandma Lueticia’s cast iron burger, turkey meatloaf, Southern marinated fried chicken and Cajun grilled tofu. Brunch favorites include Jack Daniels honey pecan wings, hoisin oxtails, and crab and shrimp open-faced omelette.
19. Daddy D’z BBQ Joynt
This well-known barbecue joint on Memorial Drive is where you'll find everyone from state troopers to musicians. Among the specialties are the ribs, Brunswick Stew and mozzarella cheese sticks.
Journalist Mary Welch writes business and lifestyle stories for local and national publications.