I met Simone about 6 years ago when she was living in Brooklyn and I was selling cupcakes as a side hustle, but we’ve always kept in touch over the years. Some time between then and now, she moved to Atlanta, met her husband, and had a beautiful baby girl. Hi Aria!
I couldn’t come to Atlanta and not spend a little time with my darling mermaid, so Simone heard first as soon as our trip was confirmed.
Simone had me pick the cuisine. I can’t be south of Virginia and not have any soul food, so she picked Mary Mac’s Tea Room. It has a cute brick exterior with nostalgic decor that screams southern comfort. The history is a pretty interesting story: opening in 1945, Mary Mac’s Tea Room is the last of sixteen tea rooms that once dotted intown Atlanta in the 1940s.
They’ve kept some of their traditions: pencils are kept on the tables for filling out orders, a practice that was started so if an order was wrong, you’d have no one to blame but yourself. There were no computers or software systems like we have today, so the individually written orders were an easy way to keep track of how many customers ate at Mary Mac’s each day. Keeping this tradition was genius!
The menu at Mary Mac’s is full of southern classics: appetizers like fried chicken livers, deviled eggs and homemade pimento cheese, entrées like chicken pot pie and meatloaf with tomato sauce, every glorious side dish you can think of- including the southern classic, fried okra- and sweets like Georgia peach cobbler & strawberry shortcake with homemade whipped cream for dessert. The entrees came with two sides- clutch! Simone and I both ordered fried chicken: I got the 4-piece (breast, thigh, wing, and leg) with mac & cheese and sweet potatoes for me, per the usual.
Good gawd, let me tell you about this fried chicken! Perfectly crispy and flaky on the outside and unbelievably juicy on the inside, this is the kind of fried chicken you write home about.
As the reigning doggy bag queen, I scooped out the rest of my mac & cheese and sweet potatoes into a to-go container with the fried chicken to munch on later. Chéo stole a taste of the sweet potatoes- it’s so good, he pretty much questioned my integrity because I didn’t bring him a full order.
If you’re in Atlanta, Mary Mac’s Tea Room is a must for your soul food cravings. We have every intention of visiting Atlanta again, so I’ll definitely be back for some more of that fried chicken!
Mary Mac’s Tea Room
224 Ponce De Leon Ave NE