12 Essential Black-Owned Restaurants in Atlanta
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Trying to take a tour through the best Black-owned restaurants in Atlanta is no easy effort. One look at our guide to local Black-owned restaurants and businesses, and you’ll see over 80 of Atlanta’s Black-owned eateries, and truthfully, that’s just scratching the surface. From quality seafood and unforgettable soul food to authentic Caribbean food and mouth watering barbeque, Atlanta’s Black community boasts a long list of diverse restaurants. To help you experience the quintessential Atlanta Black-owned restaurant experience, we’ve compared some of the most popular local eateries of all time, highlighted specific types of restaurants, and chiseled down a list of hundreds of restaurants down to 12.
Basically, regardless of what you’re in the mood for, you’ll be able to find it at at least one of the following places. These are the essential Black-owned restaurants in Atlanta.
Busy Bee Cafe
There’s no better local Black-owned restaurant to start with than Busy Bee Cafe. Founded in 1947, the Southern landmark is one of the oldest and most legendary eateries in the city, and thanks to its famous fried chicken, Busy Bee Cafe has been able to transcend generations with ease. Lil Baby, Killer Mike, Oprah, Samuel L. Jackson, and Vice President Kamala Harris are just a handful of notable people that have paid the beloved Atlanta restaurant a visit over the past few years, so don’t sleep—Busy Bee Cafe still has plenty of soul.
Kenley's Catering & Restaurant
Chicken wings are an Atlanta staple, so it just wouldn’t be right to round up the most essential local Black-owned restaurants without giving a major shoutout to one of the city’s longest running wing spots. Located at the main floor of the old Citizens Trust building, Kenley’s wall is adorned with countless photos of celebrities who have come and grabbed some food from the time-honored establishment, from P. Diddy to Desi Banks. The restaurant is known for its chicken wing and soulfood menu options, so do yourself a favor and join the long list of important people who’ve got some good food from Kenley’s.
While the two previous restaurants have some serious history on their sides, Pinky Cole is currently etching her name in Atlanta’s history books with her growing Slutty Vegan empire. The plant-based burger joint has three locations spread throughout the A, so whether you’re ITP or OTP, you can see how great its menu options—like the signature One Night Stand, the plant-based chicken sandwich known as the Chik’N Head, or the plantain PLT sandwich — really are. And thanks to the spirited crew members working at each location, pulling up to Slutty Vegan is an experience that you’ll never forget.
Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar
No restaurant in Atlanta does Gulla Geechee cuisine quite like Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen. A standout in an admittedly incredible string of Black-owned restaurants in Downtown College Park, Virgil’s impressive menu options—we’re talking okra soup, shark bites, and baked macaroni & cheese—are down-right heavenly. Plus, the friendly service, comfortable atmosphere, and overall communal vibes makes for one of the best bar and dining experiences in the city.
Urban Grind Coffeehouse
While you debate with yourself whether coffee shops belong in a restaurant guide or not, just know that Urban Grind is more than deserving of a mention as one of Atlanta’s essential Black-owned eating establishments. The quaint and cozy coffee shop has plenty of drink options for local coffee addicts, and if you get hungry while working—or “grinding,” as Cassandra Ingram’s shop likes to call it—you have to try one of Urban Grind’s criminally delicious panini sandwiches.
Killer Mike and T.I.’s joint business venture may still be approaching a proper brick and mortar opening, but Atlanta’s support for Bankhead Seafood’s revival proves why it must be considered one of the city’s essential Black-owned restaurants. Originally founded by Helen Harden in 1968, Bankhead Seafood dished out fried seafood for 50 years straight, and as soon as Harden decided to close up shop due to her declining health, Killer Mike and T.I. immediately stepped up and ensured that future generations wouldn’t miss out on the classic Grove Park eatery. While it’s currently operating out of a food truck, Bankhead Seafood is set to re-open this year, so get ready to enjoy a Bankhead Platter while marveling at all of the restaurant’s stunning renovations.
Another classic Atlanta eatery is Edgewood Pizza, aka the home of the “King Slice.” This Black-owned pizzeria sits on the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Boulevard, and it’s only a quick walk away from the King Center, hence the name of its enormous “King Slice.” Edgewood Pizza is a local staple where you can enjoy expertly crafted pizza, dozens of vibrant art pieces, and some straight-up good vibes.
A mere drive by Daddy D'z BBQ Joynt with the windows down will tell you everything you need to know about one of Atlanta’s favorite hole-in-the-walls. The barbecue stand may not look like much, but the beautiful smoky smells wafting from the casual Memorial Drive restaurant could almost convince a vegan to pull up. Whether you’re ordering a half slab of ribs, a pulled pork sandwich, or a smoked beef brisket, just know that Daddy D’z is going to get you right.
Desta Ethiopian Kitchen
One of the most amazing aspects about the Black community is the cultural ties it has to countries all over the world, and luckily Atlanta has plenty of food options that represent the diversity of the Black diaspora. One of those culturally rich restaurants is Desta Ethiopian Kitchen, and whether or not you know how to properly eat with injera, Desta’s excellent service makes it the perfect place to learn.
Ms. Iceys Kitchen & Bar
If you’re in the mood for brunch—the boozy kind, of course—at a Black-owned restaurant, you can’t go wrong with Ms. Icey’s Kitchen & Bar. For starters, Ms. Icey’s doesn’t make you put off brunch until the weekend, so you can enjoy the most important meal of the week Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm. Furthermore, Ms. Icey’s food is absolutely out of this world. Described as “urban contemporary with heavy Southern, Caribbean, and Cajun influences, the menu is overflowing with great food choices, from the Sweet Potato Waffle & Egg plate and the Bodega Breakfast Sandwich to Nene’s Etouffee and Grandma’s Oxtails. The drink options are equally as dynamic, so do brunch the right way at Ms. Icey’s Kitchen & Bar.
Hippin’ Hops Brewery & Oyster Bar
To run a successful Black-owned brewery is a really big deal, so it was a no-brainer to include Clarence and Donnica Boston’s new EAV concept as one of Atlanta’s essential Black-owned eateries. The Hippin Hops Brewery & Oyster Bar has staked its claim as the first African-American-owned brewery in Georgia, and with the recent announcement that it has purchased its own liquor still, Hippin Hops will soon be Atlanta’s first African-American-owned distillery. Pull up to the ambitious Glenwood Avenue brewery for Hip-Hop-themed oysters, delectable lobster rolls, cajun shrimp deviled eggs, and—most importantly—craft beers that are brewed on-site, from IPAs to stouts.
Suite Food Lounge
The final entry in this guide is a Black-owned bar, restaurant, and lounge where you know, if all else fails, you can count on eating delicious food and having a great time. Posted up right beside Downtown’s biggest tourist attractions, Suite Food Lounge boasts an varied and tasty menu—from the mouthwatering honey lemon pepper Suite Wings to the bourbon salmon & grilled shrimp entree—and a stylish interior that features a swanky dining area, several bars, huge TV screens, a lounge area, and gorgeous skydeck. Atlanta is known for its nightlife, so it’s only right to put you on to one of the most lavish Black-owned bars and lounges in the city.