(Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours)

Atlanta’s Favorite Black-Owned Restaurants

Whether it’s just like mom used to make, a new take on tradition or whipped up by a celebrity chef, Atlanta is home to many Black-owned restaurants. Here are some of our favorites. 

Traditional Black-Owned Restaurants in Atlanta

Busy Bee Cafe

You can’t go wrong with the Southern soul food being served up at this Atlanta landmark. (📷: Chris Watkins)

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 baked mac and cheese, and banana pudding.

The Busy Bee is one of six 2022 recipients of the James Beard Foundation’s American Classics award. The foundation said this about the Busy Bee: “When Lucy Jackson opened the Busy Bee Café on what was then called Hunter Street in 1947, it was one of only two streets in the city of Atlanta open to Black entrepreneurs after the race riots pushed the community from downtown Atlanta. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights icons frequented Busy Bee to enjoy a hearty meal of fried chicken, ham hocks, catfish, collard greens, macaroni cheese, cornbread and other soulful dishes. Today, the cafe is owned by the Gates family with Tracy Gates at the helm. Tracy has worked hard to revive the restaurant to Jackson’s standard of providing excellent service and consistent food preparation. It remains a community gathering spot, as well as a tourist destination, where locals, regional and international celebrities, and a bastion of comforting soul food for generations past and present come to roost.”

In addition, The Busy Bee received a MICHELIN Bib Gourmand in 2023, which recognizes restaurants offering exceptionally good food at moderate prices.

The Beautiful

For down-home deliciousness, head over to Cascade Road. The food is nationally known. There’s are Cornish hens, oxtails and rice, and, on Fridays, fried pies. Be sure to try the specialty beverage, Tea-monade.

Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks

Derrick Hayes was born and raised in Philadelphia. After relocating to Atlanta, he knew he wanted to bring the iconic Philly cheesesteak to the ATL. Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks is named after his late father. There are two locations in Atlanta, one in Downtown and the other in Doraville, with two additional locations in Forest Park, Ga. and Lawrenceville, Ga. Ordering a Philly cheesesteak there is a given, but you can’t go wrong with adding on one of their egg rolls or trying the beef Philly fries.

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.

Grind Time Coffee Co.

Kirsten “A.Chic” Spencer, a dynamic songwriter and music artist, is the founder of Grind Time Coffee Co. Inspired by her great-grandmother who was a coffee farmer in Jamaica, Spencer uses 100 percent arabica beans. You can try Grind Time Coffee Co. for yourself with their location at Halidom Eatery on Moreland Avenue.

Heritage Supper Club

Chef Demetrius Brown shares his love and culture through Heritage Supper Club. The restaurant is an ode to Caribbean and Afro-American cuisines and cultures. Try the soup joumou, which has braised beef, root vegetables and cabbage. Or enjoy the pwason fri, a snapper with Creole sauce and watercress.

Hippin’ Hops Brewery and Oyster Bar

Opened in April 2021, Hippin’ Hops Brewery became the first Black-owned brewery in Georgia. The cold beer, beer garden and variety of games to play makes for a great spot to hangout and relax. The beer on tap ranges from sours to IPAs to lagers and everything in between. Grab a bite to eat while you’re there trying the oysters or one of their po’boys.

Locale Island Eats

This will be your go-to spot for island-inspired cuisine. Owner and Chef Taylur Davis masterfully crafts easy-to-eat bowls transporting guests to a tropical paradise. Experience the fresh flavors at Halidom Eatery located on Moreland Avenue.

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 curry goat. 

Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours

You’ll satisfy many cravings with this dish: bucatini with lobster, prawns, scallops and seafood brodo with fried basil. Order it at Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours (📷: Henri Hollis)

Chef Deborah VanTrece serves up a menu based on soul food principles with a modern twist. Located in West Midtown, the restaurant’s dishes include the five spice chicken po boy sandwich and hoisin-glazed oxtails. Treat yourself to dessert with the bourbon peach cobbler and don’t hesitate to add a side of ice cream.


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 whiting and turnip greens.

Toast on Lenox

This proudly Black, female-owned brunch restaurant serves food for the soul. With one location in Buckhead and the other in Midtown, you’ll find staple breakfast items like French toast and chicken and waffles, as well as salmon cakes and fried catfish and grits.

Urban Grind

This Black-owned coffee shop is located in West Midtown and offers the perfect environment for working, studying or just hanging out. While the coffee is rich and flavorful, don’t hesitate to try their tea, Italian sodas or even a bite to eat with their panini sandwiches.

Atlanta Restaurants Owned By Black Celebrities

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 restaurant features favorites such as deep fried whipped deviled eggs, Mama Joyce’s BBQ rib tips and Kandi’s honey-glazed blackened salmon. Locations in Castleberry Hill, East Point and inside State Farm Arena.


The intimate lounge and restaurant is owned by the NFL’s Cam Newton and Cecil Newton Jr.. Fellaship, located Downtown, is the place to indulge in fine dining, cigar smoking and socializing. Among the specialties are Ponzu-glazed Scottish salmon, truffle fries, and deep dish mac & cheese.

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 + seafood gumbo, fried catfish sandwich and, of course, Luda’s chicken + waffles. Enjoy beer flights from such brewers as New Realm, Monday Night Brewing and Scofflaw Brewing Co.

Escobar (ESCO) Restaurant & Tapas

Rapper 2 Chainz opened the Castleberry Hill restaurant serving crispy calamari, blackened salmon and gumbo. There are two locations outside of Atlanta in Morrow and Marietta.

Atlanta Restaurants Owned by Black Celebrity Chefs

9 Mile Station

Sunsets on the patio at 9 Mile Station just might rival the food. (📷: Evan West)

Kelvin and Mandy Slater opened their restaurant on the roof at Ponce City Market, and people have flocked there ever since. Brunch items include a sticky bun that serves four, crab cake benedict and huevos divorciados. If you come for dinner later, you can enjoy the food with a view of the sunset. You can start with crispy brussel sprouts, then treat yourself to a whole chicken leg for an entree, then finish with creme brulee for dessert.

Marcus Bar & Grille

With restaurants all over the world, Marcus Samuelsson opened his first restaurant in Atlanta. Marcus Bar & Grille is located in Old Fourth Ward serving elevated comfort classics along with signature dishes. Whether you want to indulge in fried chicken and cornbread waffles or miso glazed striped bass, the menu features a variety of dishes to enjoy.

Rock Steady

Inspired by his cultural roots and his interest in travel and cooking, Haitian American entrepreneur Jacob Thomas created Rock Steady with restaurateur Joe Russo to celebrate the vibrant cuisines of the West Indies. Diners can enjoy main courses such as Haitian whole fried snapper, spiced wild honey shrimp or oxtail pappardelle. Private dining is available.


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.

Tom, Dick & Hank

Hank Johnson owns the barbecue restaurant with two locations, one in Downtown College Park, the other Downtown Atlanta. Nicknamed “Happy Hour Hank”, Johnson has been on national cooking shows and always brings the personality. Try the smoked wings, chicken sausage or brisket.

Vegan or Vegetarian Restaurants

Bar Vegan

Cheers to great cocktails and creative vegan bar fare. (📷: Chucky Foto)

A restaurant and bar offering from the founder of Slutty Vegan, Pinky Cole and partners. This Ponce City Market staple serves up popular vegan based meals imagined as bar food and great vibes. Try a cheezesteak combo or boneless chik’n wings accompanied by beautiful and memorable craft cocktails.

Local Green Atlanta

Local Green Atlanta was started by Zachary “Big Zak” Wallace, a legend in the music scene who has written chart-topping hits for some of the biggest names in the music business. Wallace also realized that the African American community’s diet was filled with high fats, empty calories and sky-high sodium levels. He started to make a difference with his Local Green Atlanta food truck and has since opened Local Green Atlanta in Vine City. His plant-based cuisine features dishes such as “monsta” shrimp burger, three-stack cauliflower taco, salmon Philly quesadilla and a vegan cheeseburger. Oprah said the dishes are among her health food favorites.

Slutty Vegan

The One-Night Stand is a cult-favorite at Slutty Vegan. (📷: Maya Hockaday)

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. The original is located near Atlanta University Center, but founder Pinky Cole has expanded and now runs her restaurant in seven Georgia locations, which locations all over the country including Dallas and New York City. Slutty Vegan is famous for its plant-based foods, especially burgers and slutty sauce. Cole serves such dishes as One-Night Stand and Fussy Hussy, and she has teamed up with Beyond Meat to introduce a non-GMO, no-soy option.

Soul Vegetarian  

One of the largest chains of vegan restaurants in the world operates under the auspices of the Hebrew Israelite Community of Jerusalem. Located in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood and the West End, Soul Vegetarian offers a kalebone sandwich, tofu sticks and a Jerusalem rice dish.

Plant Based Pizzeria

Marisa Acoff and Paul Howard opened the city’s first vegan pizzeria, Plant Based Pizzeria. The carry-out-only eatery, with locations on Barnett Street and on Roswell Road, quickly caught the attention of neighborhood residents as well as celebrities. All pizzas are served on a gluten-free crust. Among the specialties are the Hawaiian Pizza, Mexican Pizza and Alfredo Pizza. In addition there are calzones, flatbreads and burgers.

Healthful Essence

The West End restaurant features Caribbean-style vegan cuisine with such items as un-chicken patty and un-fish cakes. At Healthful Essence, you’ll dine on food prepared by Princess Dixon (known as Mama Princess), who has been serving her Caribbean vegan and vegetarian dishes for more than 25 years. She is assisted by Kwadwo Kephera.

Tassili’s Raw Reality

This fast, casual restaurant located in the West End features a variety of internationally inspired vegan dishes. Tassili Ma’at’s dishes cater to a variety of people from flexitarian to vegetarian to vegan, to transitional clients to raw experts. Tassili is recognized for having the best kale in Atlanta, if not the world. On the menu are sweet coconut corn, punany wrap, Afrikan carob cake and a variety of popcorn.

Vegan Dream Doughnuts

These pillows of dough are as delicious as they are beautiful. Try the cherry mango cinnamon rolls or the vanilla almond glazed doughnuts. Located in the historic West End, the shop also offers organic fruit cinnamon rolls and smoothies. The doughnuts come minus any gluten, sugar, milk or eggs and are sweetened with agave and coconut crystals.

Sweet Treats

Sublime Doughnuts

A-Town Cream. Butter Toffee. Yin Yang Twist. Doughnuts. 24/7. Need we say more? (📷: Sublime Doughnuts)

With a goal in presenting “flavors and textures from around the world on a doughnut canvas,” Kamal Grant launched Sublime Doughnuts in 2008. Now Sublime sells donuts 24 hours a day at two Atlanta locations (Georgia Tech and North Druid Hills) with menu offerings that include Dulce de Leche, Sweet Potato Cake and Chocolate Banana Fritter.  

Not As Famous Cookie Co.

Ice cream AND cookies? Not As Famous Cookie Co. has both on the menu, starting with these ice cream sandwiches. (📷: Not As Famous Cookie Co.)

This cookie shop in Smyrna creates gourmet cookies from the finest ingredients based on recipes from the founder’s father. Not As Famous Cookie Co. offers a variety of cookie flavors (plus vegan and gluten-free options) that can be picked up, delivered or shipped directly to your home. Find the cookie shop on wheels at local Atlanta festivals and events. Choose from flavors like Butter Pecan, Classic Chocolate Chip or southern favorite Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip.

Sweet-Stack Creamery

Serving innovative and inspired flavors and combinations, Sweet-Stack Creamery is a dessert bar that creates one-of-a-kind ice cream and cookie or doughnut sandwiches. Try them on their own or sandwiched between cookies or doughnuts and rolled in a variety of toppings. Vegan options are available.

See more of Atlanta’s tasty restaurant options and support more of Atlanta’s Black-owned businesses.

Journalist Mary Welch writes business and lifestyle stories for local and national publications. 

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