Which foods fall under the “Southern” umbrella varies by region in the South. However, many people associate Southern food with down-home comfort dishes like fried chicken, cornbread, fried green tomatoes, grits, biscuits and gravy, and pimento cheese paired with sweet tea and banana pudding or pecan pie for dessert. While Southerners know there’s more to the South’s food than fried chicken and cornbread, Eater rounded up the Atlanta area restaurants showcasing regional specialties on menus like those mentioned above.Read More
18 Comforting Southern Restaurants Around Atlanta
From fried chicken and cornbread to banana pudding and pecan pie
Lunch on Main Street
This meat-and-three institution in College Park is housed in a former gas station. Choose a protein like rotisserie chicken, chop steak, salmon patties, and specials such as fried pork chops on Mondays and Wednesday meatloaf, then choose two vegetables including candied yams and mac and cheese. Or make it an all-vegetable plate. The plates are served with fresh cornbread, too. Takeout available. Call to order.
Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours
Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours in Westside is where the South’s most loved dishes meet the classically trained chef Deborah VanTrece. VanTrece’s world travels and her three decades of professional cooking experience are present and accounted for on the menu and in the service here. Twisted Soul strikes that difficult balance between casual and fine dining with ease. Expect amuse bouches like a delicate bite of chicken salad, shared dishes such as black-eyed pea salsa fresca served with fresh tortilla chips, and graciously plated entrees such Cajun-spiced roast chicken atop a bed of red beans and rice. Open for limited dine-in service and patio seating. Takeout available. Call to order.
Busy Bee Cafe
In business since the 1940s, this Vine City staple on Atlanta’s Westside serves some of the city’s best fried chicken, alongside an assortment of other Southern “meat and three” staples. It’s always packed so, prepare to rub elbows with fellow diners. Busy Bee opens its second location in downtown Atlanta later this year. Takeout and delivery available. Takeout available. Personal delivery via restaurant staff within 15 miles and a $100 order minimum available. Delivery also available via GrubHub, UberEats, DoorDash, and Postmates. Order online.
James Beard award-winning chef Steven Satterfield’s farm-fresh, updated Southern cooking is simple, elegant, and includes a lot of fresh and seasonal vegetables. The farm egg baked in celery cream with grilled bread is considered a top-10 Atlanta dish. The restaurant has one of the best vegetable plates in town, offers a killer wine list, and the lunchtime-only ice cream sandwiches are the perfect post-meal treat. Limited dine-in service. Takeout and family meals available. Order online.
JCT. Kitchen & Bar
Ford Fry’s take on Southern food includes some very fine and fancy fried chicken. This fried yardbird is served with collards and a buttermilk biscuit with a side of hot sauce. But don’t sleep on other Southern takes like the deviled eggs, angry mussels with soppin’ toast, milk braised rabbit, and hickory grilled pork chop. Open for limited dine-in service. Order online for takeout.
Swan Coach House
Located on the campus of the Atlanta History Center, this old coach house part of a Buckhead mansion is now home to an art gallery, gift shop, and restaurant and events facility. Ladies who lunch come here for crab cakes, tea sandwiches, chicken salad, fried green tomatoes, and sweet tea. Open Monday - Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Open for limited dine-in service.
South City Kitchen
Fifth Group restaurants now has four locations of its Southern restaurant South City Kitchen. With locations in Midtown, Vinings, Buckhead, and Alpharetta, people in need of a Southern food fix will find it at South City Kitchen. Expect Southern classics like she-crab soup, pimento cheese, crab cakes, grilled quail, Carolina trout, and, of course, fried chicken on the menu. Call for takeout. For those dining in, a 20 percent service charge will be added in lieu of gratuity to cover the additional wages paid to staff and other atypical expenses related to COVID-19. Cashless.
Mary Mac's Tea Room
Mary Mac’s Tea Room, the beloved Southern restaurant on Ponce known for its fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, and yeast rolls, reopened under new ownership last November after a months-long shutdown due to the pandemic. But never fear, its new owners kept the menu intact. Mary Mac’s, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2020, was first opened by Mary MacKenzie in 1945. It was one of 16 tearooms in Atlanta at the time and seated just 75 people. Since its opening, the restaurant has expanded several times to accommodate hundreds of people in its six dining rooms. Over the years, Mary Mac’s has played host to a number of local, national, and global dignitaries, like the late congressman John Lewis, the Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton, and former president Jimmy Carter, as well as legendary musicians James Brown and Beyonce. Order online for takeout, delivery, or curbside pick-up. Masks required inside.
Few places like Eats exist anymore on Ponce. And, for locals and regulars, it’s hard to pass up this Atlanta landmark restaurant which offers classic meat and three (or four) options on its menu starting at $9 a plate. Jerk chicken here is the mainstay. Open for takeout and delivery via GrubHub. Order online.
Table & Main
This downtown Roswell restaurant set along the city’s historic Canton Street offers up huge, crispy portions of Southern fried chicken as well as fried catfish and shrimp and grits and sides such as fried okra, collard greens, cornbread muffins, and tomato pie. Head here to partake in the restaurant’s large bourbon selection, too. Open for limited dine-in service and takeout. Call to order.
Another Atlanta classic, the Colonnade opened in 1927 and serves nothing but pure Southern comfort food on it menu. Diners come for the turkey and dressing, chicken fried steak, and fried chicken and numerous vegetable offerings. Restaurant regulars swear by the very strong martinis, bloody marys, and Southern brunch here, too. Read more about the restaurant’s reopening here. Parking lot patio seating. Limited dine-in service. Open for takeout and curbside pick-up. Call 404-874-5642 to order.
Home grown GA Restaurant
Home Grown is a breakfast favorite among Atlanta’s eaters and restaurant industry members. It’s also home to one of the city’s must-try dishes — the comfy biscuit topped with fried chicken and smothered in sausage gravy. There’s almost always a wait at this casual Southern-centric neighborhood diner on the weekends. It’s definitely worth it. Open for limited dine-in service and parking lot patio seating. Order online for takeout.
This longtime Inman Park restaurant owned and operated by chef Jason Hill straddles the line between fine dining and casual. Swing by for takes on Southern classics such as fried catfish, iron skillet fried chicken, and shrimp and grits. Valet is available and reservations are encouraged. Open for limited dine-in service. Call to order takeout, beer, and wine.
Located in an old factory in Chamblee, Southbound includes everything from deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes to daily selected vegetable plates and smoked short rib on its menu. Come here for the large whiskey and bourbon selection and whiskey-laced cocktails. Open for limited dine-in service. Order online for takeout.
Chef Kevin Gillespie’s Revival pays tribute to Sunday suppers and Southern meals served up by his grandmother. While the fried chicken dinner with all the trimmings is the star of the show, make sure to order the tomato pie when the fruit is in season, pimento cheese spread, fried catfish, sides like collards, and buttermilk pound cake for dessert. Most everything on the menu here is served family-style. Open for limited outdoor seating. Order online for takeout.
Rising Son in Avondale Estates is an Atlanta favorite for breakfast, lunch, and brunch. Dishes worth the order include the frittata ensalada with eggs, roasted tomato, shallots, arugula, and parmesan; the fried trout and grits; or the chorizo and scrambled egg tacos. Order a meat and 1, 2, or 3 platter at lunch. Supper (served on Friday and Saturday nights) is where owners Hudson and Kathryn Fitzgerald Rouse let their creativity and love of the Southern seasons shine. Limited dine-in service and patio seating. Order online for takeout.
Matthew’s Cafeteria in Tucker has been slinging Southern favorites since 1955: that’s how folks know it’s good. The restaurant’s ownership still remains in the family, and the fried chicken tastes like grandma made it. Diners travel from around Atlanta to eat at this old school cafeteria. Matthews never disappoints with its array of Southern comfort foods. Open for dine-in service, drive-thru service, and takeout. Call to order.
Magnolia Room Cafeteria
Tucker’s Magnolia Room has a good hold on Southern classics, but expands its reach with seasonal offerings like shrimp creole and sweet potato balls. They’ve got enough pies to fill a bakeshop — coconut custard, lemon meringue, sweet potato — so go ahead and grab a slice. Open for limited dine-in service. Order online for takeout.