20 Essential Black-Owned Restaurants in Atlanta
Serving everything from tasty breakfast dishes to traditional Southern cuisine, these Black-owned restaurants provide everyone with the perfect food experience.
It should come as no surprise that Atlanta boasts some of the best Black-owned restaurants in the entire country. Nationally acclaimed spots like Pinky Cole’s Slutty Vegan, Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, and the Fellaship Cigar Bar bring people from near and far who are searching for a singular culinary experience. While there may be more of an incentive to support these establishments during the month of February, it’s important that ATL residents show Black-owned restaurants some love all year round. These are some of the best restaurants in the country, serving breakfast, crafty cocktails, cold brews, delicious dinners, and more.
Toast On Lenox
You’ll find far more than just toast on the menu at this Buckhead hotspot. At Toast On Lenox, you can keep it hearty with the Lenox Ave. Breakfast (a hearty assortment of breakfast staples) or opt for something a tad lighter with their Southern Fried Chicken Salad. And because brunch just isn’t quite brunch without a mimosa to wash it all down, Toast has plenty of options for this bubbly sip. Mimosa flavors include orange, pineapple, watermelon, peach, blackberry, strawberry, grapefruit, and apricot.
Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks
This cheesesteak spot brings a taste of Philadelphia to Atlanta. Founded by Philly native Derrick Hayes, Big Dave’s intertwines authentic traditional Philadelphia cuisine and family-like atmosphere into the fabric of the restaurant. Everyone raves about beef, chicken and salmon cheesesteak egg rolls, and definitely don’t miss the restaurant’s modern take on the Philadelphia classic with entrees like the “Dave’s Way” Cheesesteak. BDC frequently sports lines wrapped around the downtown venue filled with customers yearning for a taste of the 215, and its Doraville location is just as popular.
Gilly Brewing Company
Housed in a historic space that dates back before the Civil War, Gilly Brew Bar is a unique coffee shop that slings experimental coffee and tea elixirs to guests on a daily basis. If you’re not in a rush, be sure to take time to head upstairs to their wraparound porch to enjoy your creative concoction while taking in views of Stone Mountain Village. And if you’re hungry, Gilly welcomes an assortment of tasty food pop-ups on a regular basis.
Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours
You’ll find plenty to love at Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours, a West Midtown eatery that specializes in simple, soulful dishes. A straight-forward dinner menu finds mouth-watering Southern staples, including Fried Green Tomatoes (generously topped with candied bacon, white Alabama BBQ sauce, and tomato caviar) and Southern Marinated Fried Chicken. And be extra sure to save room for dessert. This menu features a tantalizing trio of options that include Creme Brulee Cheesecake, Banoffee Cream Pudding, and Bourbon Peach Cobbler.
Breakfast At Barney’s
With dishes that include 24 Karat Gold Pancakes and Lobster Mac & Greens, suffice it to say that brunch at Breakfast At Barney’s is a little on the lavish side. But it doesn’t get more extravagant than their Mansa Musa Tower, a shareable spread of 24 Karat Gold Pancakes, fried lobster, grits, fried chicken, waffles, and premium champagne that’s priced at a cool $1,000. Keep in mind that Breakfast At Barney’s doesn’t accept reservations, so make sure you and your crew arrive early and are ready to wait it out a bit.
Tassili's Raw Reality Café
At Tassili's Raw Reality Café, a raw vegan restaurant located in Historic West End, you can leave the guilt at home. Here you’ll find veggie-packed wraps that are hearty, healthy and heavy on flavor. Not sure where to start? You can’t go wrong with a Spicy Kale Wrap. This popular pick combines spicy kale salad, soy mayo, avocado, and tomato.
You haven’t lived until you’ve had a chance to sink your teeth into one of Phew’s Pies Lemon Pepper Wet pizzas. Buttery, cheesy, and with a slight citrus tang, their Lemon Pepper Wet has gradually become a staple among foodies in The A. You’ll also find a handful of other unique offerings on the menu at Phew’s Pies, including the Honey Hot and Oxtail & Ricotta pizzas.
Founded by NFLer Cam Newton and his brother Cecil Newton Jr., Fellaship is a luxe cigar bar that also prides itself on its selection of equally luxe meals and cocktails. This cigar bar/restaurant provides a tasty selection of small bites, but if you’re feeling hungry, head to the entree section of their menu for hearty dishes that include Ponzu-Glazed Scottish Salmon and Toot’s Seafood Pasta. Fellaship does have a dress code, so be prepared to look just as chic as the restaurant’s plush interior.
Atlanta Breakfast Club
Since breakfast is often considered the most important meal of the day, it’s only right that we start this guide with a Black-owned restaurant whose main focus is serving mouthwatering breakfast food. Open every day from 6:30 am to 3 pm, the Atlanta Breakfast Club has all of the classic early morning meals that you expect—from old-fashioned oatmeal and buttermilk pancakes to breakfast bowls and customizable omelets—as well as standout menu options like the Fried Green Tomato BLT (fried green tomato, smoked pork bacon, avocado puree, sweet corn “caviar,” and two buttermilk biscuits) and Peach Cobbler French Toast (shortbread crumble, vanilla butter, and powdered sugar). If you want to start your day off right, go to ABC.
Parlor Cocktail Den
Thanks to its assortment of creative signatures—including the Smooth Operator (Old Forester Signature 100, Passion Fruit Liqueur, Hibiscus-Mint, Lemon), Unbothered (Indoggo Gin, Green Chartreuse, Lime, Unoia CBD Agave, Roses), and many more—Parlor has solidified itself as one of the best places to drink in Atlanta. Although that alone is a great reason to highlight Parlor as one of Atlanta’s essential Black-owned restaurants, the cocktail den also boasts an impressive birria menu, too. Guests can either go with the lamb, shrimp, portobello, or chicken birria or try the Parloramorous entree that comes with three tacos—one lamb, one duck, and one lobster—topped with pomegranate tzatziki sauce, orange marmalade sauce, & creole garlic butter sauce. Whether you’re hungry or thirsty, Parlor has you covered.
Roc Southern Cuisine
As you’ll see when reading the rest of this guide, Atlanta has plenty of solid soul food restaurants, but one Black-owned eatery that brings a modern twist to all of our favorite Southern staples is Roc South Cuisine. Co-signed by the Atlanta Hawks’ own Lou Williams, Roc South puts a luxurious spin on classic soul food dishes like fried chicken, seafood gumbo, fried fish, candied yams, collard greens, and black-eyed peas—all while keeping most of its menu items at a manageable price point. If you are willing to pay a little extra for Roc South’s finer menu options, you can’t go wrong with the fried lobster tail, the lamb chop entree, or the whole fried snapper. There’s a lot to choose from, but whatever you do—do not leave Roc South Cuisine without getting a side of mac n cheese. It may be $10, but it’s so worth it.
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.
Slutty Vegan ATL
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 four 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 Gullah 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.
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.
Daddy D'z BBQ Joynt
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 African 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.
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.
Danielle Harling is a contributor for Thrillist.
Okla Jones is an Atlanta-based journalist who writes about food, fine arts, and entertainment. His work also appears in ESSENCE, Creative Loafing Atlanta, and Consequence of Sound. Follow him on Instagram at @coolhandoak.