Looking for black owned restaurants in Atlanta for dine-in or take-out?
Soul food, Caribbean cuisine, Southern-style delicacies or vegan options?
This article will explain why you should support black-owned restaurants in Atlanta. We’ll also give you our Top 10 recommended picks. First, let’s take a walk down Black History Lane.
During segregation, blacks were excluded from higher education, housing opportunities, upward mobility in the workplace, and many eating establishments. These things are commonly taken for granted today but contributed to a quality of life that most other American citizens could enjoy at the time. Martin Luther King Jr addressed this disparity in his speech “The Other America.”
Dr. King illustrated that there were, in fact, two Americas. One America was a beautiful country where its citizens had access to their forefathers’ prosperity and equality. And the other was what Dr. King referred to as a “lonely island of poverty,” which existed in an ocean of American prosperity.
In the decades following the Civil Rights Act’s passing, which eliminated legal segregation, the landscape slowly began to change for African Americans. Eventually, black people were allowed to eat downtown and open restaurants. They could even own some of the previously banned establishments. Nonetheless, black-owned restaurants in Atlanta today are still being excluded from the promise of prosperity and equality.
According to an article published by Vice Media Group, black-owned restaurants are three-times less likely to be approved for a business loan. As a result, each black establishment represents much more investor capital than other restaurants. In some cases, the family’s life savings is tied to the restaurant. All while workers at black-owned restaurants continue to receive the lowest wages in the industry.
According to a study published by an online public data analysis company, Georgia is ranked second on the list of states with the most significant number of black-owned businesses in America. The success of black restaurants in Atlanta can efficiently act as a barometer for the success of black businesses in every state. Losing these establishments could potentially cause an increase in the black-white wealth gap more significant than any we’ve seen since the 1960s. Thus, every American must commit to supporting black restaurants in Atlanta, an institution within themselves. This support is the only way to ensure that black people are never excluded from the landscape again.
Here is a list of the top black-owned restaurants in Atlanta. This list is compiled based on data from the Black Business Journal, Black Enterprise Magazine, Atlanta Magazine, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Added to the conversation is input from social media-driven sites such as Atlanta Eats, Thrill list, and Yelp to determine each restaurant’s overall popularity. Every restaurant on this list boasts at least a four-star rating from multiple sources. And any establishment without an “A” Health Score was removed. If you are ever in Atlanta, these are the restaurants to visit:
Atlanta Breakfast Club
Atlanta Breakfast Club is not #1 on this list by coincidence. The high praise this breakfast and lunch establishment received is nearly unanimous. Established in 2015, this restaurant has been a significant staple in the Downtown Atlanta area. According to multiple reviews, the noticeable line out the door on most weekend mornings is a testament to its popularity. Co-owner Chef Anthony Sanders combines a grade-A diner-style restaurant with a great home-cooked meal experience. No visit to Atlanta is complete without a visit to this breakfast and southern-based food establishment conveniently located right across the Georgia Aquarium street.
Hattie Marie’s BBQ
One common saying is the busier the restaurant, the better the food. Well, Hattie Marie’s must be one of the best black-owned restaurants in Atlanta because multiple reviewers commented on how busy this place is, and each time it was written as a compliment. This BBQ restaurant is a great family-oriented place with what one review claimed has the best brisket sandwiches money can buy. Another popular menu item with multiple raving studies is the hot-chicken sandwich. Whether for lunch or dinner, check out a Texas-style restaurant that promises to provide Nashville-inspired dishes prepared with a bit of good old-fashioned Louisiana cooking.
This black woman-owned restaurant is described as a family-friendly “backyard cook-out” style eating establishment. Anna’s is an old-school BBQ spot located in Kirkwood that has been drawing media attention since it won Atlanta Magazine’s Best BBQ of the year award in 2019. The highest recommendation is the pulled-pork sandwich, although the fried pork chops are not far behind. Take the time to stop in and taste some of the smoked meats to see what this female pit-master is made of. And don’t forget to grab some tea to wash it down, or better yet, Destiney’s Lemonade sold by the gallon.
Southern Kitchen & Grill
Southern Kitchen & Grill seems to major in southern hospitality. More than one reviewer mentioned the warm greeting they received walking into the establishment, which prepared them for a pleasant dining experience. The cornbread, collard greens, and the fried chicken plate were mentioned more than once. Reviewers also seemed to rave about Southern Kitchen’s desserts more often than other restaurants on this list. Many were particularly impressed with the strawberry shortcake. The double-chocolate cake and pound cake were also mentioned as favorites.
Here is one of Atlanta’s favorite establishments, as multiple sites listed Slutty Vegan high on their list. Dozens of people testify that the taste of their vegan burger is like no other they’ve tried. These plant-based burgers are topped with vegan cheese and vegan bacon plus slutty sauce, which speaks for itself. This is an order-out-only establishment, but the vegan burgers are better than many of the burgers one might get at a traditional dine-in burger joint. So good that celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Tyler Perry have spoken out about them publicly.
It such a surprise that yet another Vegan/Vegetarian establishment would be a standout among so many fine black restaurants in Atlanta. This vegan restaurant major in Ethiopian cuisine, one of three restaurants to do so in the immediate area. However, this restaurant’s cuisine is technically Ethiopian-Eritrean, which is how they differentiate themselves from the other two. Their stylish main dining room is another way that Feedel’s stands out. And of course, the food. Many commented on the vegetarian sampler platter, which includes spiced red and brown lentils and yellow split peas, collard greens, and cabbage. Finding out that there are three Ethiopian eateries in close vicinity is a testament to the Ethiopian community’s strength in Atlanta.
The Busy Bee Café
Of all the restaurants on this list, Busy Bee Café would have to be the most historic. It is one of a small handful of soul food restaurants with international recognition. This black woman-owned restaurant has been serving soul food to the community since 1947. The establishment was trendy during the Civil Rights era of the 60s and has helped many Civil Rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We don’t quite know what his favorite might have been. Still, the smothered pork chops, the oxtail, and the greens are highly recommended. Any trip to Atlanta must include lunch or dinner at the Busy Bee. This restaurant is a monument which cannot be missed.
Desta Ethiopian Kitchen
This is the second Ethiopian restaurant to appear on this list of Top 10. It is one of three which are in close vicinity. Competition is high for authentic Ethiopian cuisine in Atlanta, but the Kitfo (minced raw beef with spiced butter and chili powder) is said to set Desta’s above the rest. The owners are from Ethiopia and have been serving the Ethiopian community for years. Perhaps you can patronize all three establishments. Please stop by and compare each of their spiced vegetable platters to see which restaurant has the most authentic Ethiopian cuisine in Atlanta.
Chicken + Beer
Is anyone familiar with rapper/actor Chris Bridges? Perhaps you’ll recognize him better by his stage name, “Ludacris.” He’s well-known for his multiple platinum-selling albums and his appearances in the Fast & Furious franchise movies. Well, in Atlanta, he is known for one other thing… his food. In partner with Jackmont Hospitality, Ludacris has brought the title of his 3rd album, “Chicken + Beer,” to life. The saying at this establishment is “no flavorless airport-wings.” They serve whole wings, which are said to rival the wings at any other soul food restaurant. Be sure to patronize this place for its southern fried food and make sure the hip-hop legends enterprise stays on the map.
Roc South Cuisine
Reviewers on multiple social media outlets agree that the thing which sets this place apart from the rest is its modern décor. Sunday Brunch on their outside patio is a real experience. Next is the friendly and helpful staff, and finally the food. This restaurant received the most coveted comment multiple times by a variety of visitors… a statement that every southern food establishment is thrilled to receive: “The food was seasoned to perfection.” One reviewer who claimed to have been raised in the City of New Orleans attests to Roc South’s gumbo’s authenticity. But the menu item with the highest recommendation is the Apple Cobbler French toast.