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Sarah Hartzler

Seattle, Washington

Authentic Southern Food!

I grew up in Seattle so believe it or not I have never had southern food. I'm heading to Atlanta this summer and want to try the real deal. Where can I find the best fried chicken, sweet tea, etc? Doesn't matter if it's a nice restaurant or hole-in-the-wall, just looking for the good stuff!

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  • Empire State South (restaurant)

    999 Peachtree St NE # 140 Atlanta Georgia 30309 (404) 541-1105

    4 mentions

  • Mary Mac's Tea Room (restaurant)

    224 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast Atlanta GA 30308 (404) 876-1800

    3 mentions

  • JCT Kitchen & Bar (restaurant)

    1198 Howell Mill Rd Atlanta Georgia 30318 404-355-2252

    2 mentions

  • Eric Champlin

    top answer by

    Hi Sarah - a few of my more upscale favorites:

    Empire State South Empire State Southimage from clatl.comSouth City KitchenSouth City KitchenHope you enjoy Atlanta!

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    • Sarah H.

      Sarah H.

      Hi Eric, thanks for the recommendations! Can't wait to try these places out :) · (0 likelikes)

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  • April A

    answered by

    Ohhhh Sarah ... southern food ... where to begin? Old timey southern food is called "Meat & Three". Fried chicken, greens, black eyed peas, deviled eggs, mac and cheese, shrimp and grits. It's home-kitchen style, made in big batches and loaded with pork fat. And delicious.

    So, here's the thing - Atlanta has a few of those places, but doesn't really "embrace" cliche old school Southern food the same way as say, Charleston SC. Atlanta is much more metropolitan than other southern cities, as a result the food is very diverse. You can find great fried chicken, and BBQ, but where Atlanta really shines is in farm-focused restaurant mashups, all with a southern "spin".

    Restaurant suggestions will depend largely on where you're staying. Atlanta is a huge metro area ... are you staying intown or in one of the suburbs (ITP or OTP)? Each neighborhood has dive joints and nice restaurants alike. We live intown and our absolutely favorite place is Empire State South in midtown. Chef Hugh Acheson (google him) is so creative. Fresh food, house pickled everything in mason jars, yummy cocktails. Really interesting recipes - from kitchen and bar. Great vibe.

    Also check out Atlanta Magazine's dining sectionand if there's a neighborhood festival while you're here try to check that out. I hope you enjoy your trip to Atlanta and the southern hospitality that goes along with it ... we're as likely to invite you over for dinner as give restaurant suggestions!


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    • Debbie L.

      Debbie L.

      Wow, this is really great insight! Thank you, April! · (0 likelikes)

    • Sarah H.

      Sarah H.

      Thanks, April! I'm staying with a friend in Sandy Springs, but we will have a car so we will be able to drive a further distance to check out the best restaurants. Empire State South sounds great! · (0 likelikes)

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  • James Andrews

    answered by

    There's lots of good choices because southern food is everywhere but you could go with Busy Bee Cafe which I think has the best fried chicken in the city. Watershed on Peachtree is more upscale. Rosebud is another one that is more upscale but also tasty. I'm not a fan of where most people would send you which is Mary Mac's Tea Room which is downright nasty to me.


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    • Sarah H.

      Sarah H.

      Hey James, thanks for the advice :) Can't wait to try Busy Bee Cafe! · (1 likelikes)

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  • Caroline Eubanks

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    So many places! I recommend the chicken and waffles at Gladys Knight's Signature Chicken & Waffles. For a more modern take on Southern food, I highly recommend Miller Union, which is a bit pricey, but well worth it. I agree with the other options listed as well! Lots of good spots to be found in both traditional and modern Southern fare, as well as those influenced by the years of different cultures moving in like Cardamom Hill and everything on Buford Highway.

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  • Jennifer Lewis

    answered by

    Try The Colonnade Restaurant. Some might say Mary Mac's Tea Room which is a long time institution that serves terrible food in my opinion. There is also lots of New Southern cuisine restaurants like JCT Kitchen & Bar, South City Kitchen Midtown both have some great old traditions like fried chicken or more modern spins on southern fare. Enjoy!

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    • Sarah H.

      Sarah H.

      Thanks for the tips, Jennifer! · (0 likelikes)

    • Jennifer L.

      Jennifer L.

      I see some others mentioned Empire State South which is my current favorite for Southern fare with a current flair. · (0 likelikes)

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  • Sabrina Wilson

    answered by

    Jackson (Georgia)I think the best fried chicken is a bit south of Atlanta, in Jackson at a restaurant called Buckner's Family Restaurant. They have the juiciest chicken and wonderful southern style side dishes including peach cobbler! This is served family style, all you can eat. They are only open Thursday through Sunday and I think they only take cash. The food is amazing and it's a great country down-home atmosphere. http://www.bucknersfamilyrestaurant.com/ and great reviews on Yelp! http://www.yelp.com/biz/buckners-family-restaurant-jackson-2

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    • Sarah H.

      Sarah H.

      Hi Sabrina, thanks for the tip! I can't wait to try the fried chicken :) · (0 likelikes)

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  • Rockie Rod

    answered first by

    Busy Bee Cafe is THE place to go. The Colonade is also good. Many non-foodie types will probably recommend Mary Mac's Tea Room--it is a sloppy and stinky tourist trap. For something upscale, try Empire State South.

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    • Sarah H.

      Sarah H.

      Hey Rockie, thanks for the tip :) All the reviews say to go to Mary Mac's, but it's good to know that I should avoid it! · (0 likelikes)

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  • Maria King

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    Mary Mac's Tea Room has been around about 70 years and is your authentic Southern Food Restaurant. Located not too many blocks away from the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

    http://www.marymacs.com/

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  • paulette adams

    answered by

    Mary Mac's Tea Room is very popular and pretty good. South City Kitchen in Midtown is a little more upscale but more reasonable prices for lunch. I would go to South City if I had a choice.

    Hope this helps and enjoy ATL.


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  • Steve Mason

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  • Sam Gollin

    answered by

    Carver's Country Kitchen

    Its seriously good, and as someone who has lived in Georgia almost all of my life, this place is my go to.

    For upscale southern food i would recommend Empire State South which is pretty delicious but consists of more upscale versions

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    • Sarah H.

      Sarah H.

      Awesome to hear from a local! Thank you! · (0 likelikes)

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  • rich sinda

    answered by

    JCT Kitchen & Bar for some good soul food.

    Flying Biscuit Cafe for breakfast.

    I would recommend some BBQ but I don't know the good places in Atlanta to get some. I usually find a small joint with a bunch of cars around it at lunch time.

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