Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

It’s personal in Atlanta

Atlanta is so full of tourism opportunities that each visitor will come away with a different favorite memory according to his or her particular areas of interest. For me, the most memorable part of my visit was a meal at Mary Mac’s Tea Room.

Located in Midtown, Mary Mac’s has become an Atlanta institution and a paragon of traditional Southern cuisine. The restaurant opened with one dining room in 1945, when tearooms proliferated around the city. Today, it is the last tearoom left in Atlanta.

When I had dinner at Mary Mac’s this spring with some Atlanta-area tourism representatives, the
experience was rich with time-tested flavors and
legendary Southern hospitality. The restaurant treats all first-time visitors to a cup of “pot likker” (the liquid left behind after boiling collard greens), which I found smooth, robust and flavorful.

Jo Ann Hayden-Miller from the Atlanta CVB recommended the fried chicken, and that’s what I ordered. The plate that came out of the kitchen far exceeded my expectations, heaped with legs, breasts and wings that had been prepared to a crispy, golden-brown perfection. Side dishes of macaroni-and-cheese and biscuits rounded out a delicious meal.

In addition to the great food, Mary Mac’s boasts a great atmosphere. The restaurant has become so popular in Atlanta that many celebrities, politicians and other well-known people visit, and the walls are decorated with their photos and autographs. And every diner gets a warm greeting and a complimentary back rub from Jo Carter, who has served as the restaurant’s “goodwill ambassador” for years.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.