Our platform has meticulously reviewed more than 2,533 Black-owned restaurants while documenting our visits over a span of seven years. We embarked on this mission due to the glaring lack of coverage by mainstream media regarding Black-owned establishments, and our objective has always been to rectify that oversight. Thus, it raised my suspicion when I observed the mainstream media’s sudden interest in generating story after story about Keith Lee’s recent visit to such establishments. I have, for valid reasons, always been skeptical of the mainstream media’s coverage of matters involving the Black community.
History has demonstrated the media’s propensity to incite race riots in places like Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wilmington, North Carolina, and Elaine, Arkansas. Furthermore, they have a track record of disseminating false narratives about our most esteemed leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Hampton, and more. The media seems fixated on portraying the less positive aspects of our culture and often subjects them to ridicule, depriving us of the space to discuss these issues without their intrusive gaze, opinions, or discourse. I have had to endure derisive TikTok videos from content creators and poorly crafted stories by writers who likely have never dined at a Black-owned restaurant beyond a casual visit to a barbecue joint.
Recently, prominent TikTok food critic Keith Lee had a less-than-stellar experience in Atlanta, prompting Black individuals from across the nation to share similar experiences. His visit was needed and honestly, an answer to my prayers. I am both proud of him and thankful for his platform creating a conduit to progressive culinary dialogue and conversation. The ensuing conversation, marked by its vibrancy and necessity, swiftly gathered momentum. As the predominant clientele for these restaurants, accounting for nearly 100% of their patrons, it was imperative for our community to partake in this candid dialogue. His, along with Black America’s objective for this conversation was to articulate our dissatisfaction within the hyped and popular Atlanta food businesses as a form of advocacy for thousands of Black diners who simply seek to enjoy a meal at Black-owned establishments while receiving outstanding service rather than disorganization, dismissiveness, and celebrity-driven fanfare, it was a promising moment.
However, the media machine swiftly seized on Keith Lee’s experience, using it to fuel negative narratives with sensational headlines and imbalanced reporting. CNN, Insider, FOX, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and other media giants in both print and digital domains delved into discussions ranging from strip clubs with exceptional food to Keith Lee receiving death threats and a restaurant charging $1 for a side of butter. The deluge of negativity tarnished the Black food scene in Atlanta, all while these media outlets remained conspicuously absent when more positive stories emerged.
Where were these publications when Busy Bee Café a 60 year old institution in Atlanta received the 2021 Bib Gourmand Award and was recognized as one of only ten restaurants in a city teeming with dining options to earn a coveted spot in the Michelin Guide? Or when Black chefs were continuously overlooked for that elusive Michelin star, even in Atlanta, where the Black community is a significant presence? Where were they when Black people experience the vile racist and discriminatory practices in restaurants all around the country? None of these topics seemed worthy of national attention, but the allure of uncovering the less favorable aspects of the Atlanta food scene and using a Black man as the poster child for these issues proved too tempting for them to resist.
The glaring lack of equitable coverage of Atlanta’s Black Food Scene, as well as similar phenomena across the nation, by major media conglomerates has not gone unnoticed. Countless Black writers and culinary experts have raised their concerns, yet their pleas seem to fall on deaf ears. This discrepancy becomes particularly evident when examining the difference in how various cultural issues are reported. While other cultures’ public matters are handled with restraint and respect, the same cannot be said when the subject pertains to Black America.
In contrast, the media often disregards discretion, balance, and respect, leading to an unbalanced portrayal. This issue has reached a tipping point, exemplified by the recent situation involving Keith, who found himself unfairly portrayed as if he were entering a business war zone. This was a gross misrepresentation of his intentions.
Keith had no intention of inviting major media outlets to exacerbate a situation that requires resolution, not sensationalism. These outlets, unlike truly concerned Black consumers, seem more interested in generating clicks, views, and advertising revenue at the expense of entrepreneurs like Keith, and innocent restauranteurs who were negatively impacted based off the sheer proximity of problematic establishments reviewed. Collateral damage of the war machine which is this nation’s mass media. It is important to emphasize that Keith does not deserve this treatment, and it is high time for a more equitable and respectful approach to be taken in the coverage of the Black Food Scene and similar cultural matters.
The changes needed within the food scene are not only desired by us, the customers, and genuine patrons of these establishments, but they are also desperately needed to enable us to dine with dignity and respect. Therefore, let’s not solely focus on the underwhelming, hyped-up eateries, but also shine a light on the establishments that embody the spirit of Black excellence, which Atlanta has historically represented. We have compiled an outstanding list of both 10 new and newish Atlanta eateries that merit your time and financial support:
Oreatha’s at The Point
2287 Cascade Rd, Atlanta, GA 30311
Contact: (404) 228-4852
Atlanta’s culinary landscape boasts a true gem in the form of Oreatha’s at The Point. Chef Deborah VanTrece, the undisputed Queen of Atlanta’s food scene, continues to astound food enthusiasts with her culinary prowess. Her latest venture focuses on an elevated menu, featuring the favorite recipes of moms from around the world, with modern twists by Executive Chef Christian “Lucke” Bell. The beverage program, curated by Kursten Berry, draws inspiration from motherly figures worldwide. Named after Chef Deborah VanTrece’s mother, Oreatha’s interior exudes a warm, inviting ambiance reminiscent of home.
Che Butter Jonez
757 Cleveland Ave SW Suite E, Atlanta, GA 30315
Contact: (404) 919-4061
Have you ever experienced the delight of a lamb burger? If not, your taste buds are in for a treat at Che Butter Jonez. Located at 757 Cleveland Ave SW Suite E, Atlanta, GA 30315, this hidden gem served up a mouthwatering lamb burger, distinctively pastoral and earthy, setting it apart from the conventional beef counterpart. Each bite promises a memorable flavor enhanced by special mayo or aioli. The menu seamlessly blends Middle Eastern authenticity with soulful accents, offering a culinary journey of flavors right in the heart of Atlanta.
Grits and Eggs Breakfast Kitchen
3205 Cumberland Blvd SE #105, Atlanta, GA 30339
Contact: (770) 693-2695 (Multiple locations)
The Grits and Eggs Breakfast Kitchen welcomed Atlanta’s brunch scene with open arms, presenting a menu that masterfully combines farm-to-table principles with intentional artisanal creations. Low country and Creole flavors unite in an epicurean southern fusion that beckons diners to return time and time again. With multiple locations to choose from, this is Atlanta’s breakfast destination.
Triple Jay’s Pizza
1020 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
Contact: (678) 712-8400
Triple Jay’s Pizza Bar serves up a delectable New York-style pie that won’t disappoint. Their pizza, with its fresh ingredients and perfectly crafted house-made dough, offers the quintessential foldable slice. Whether you opt for pepperoni or veggie toppings, the balance of flavors is impeccable, earning it a spot as a must-visit for pizza enthusiasts seeking a well-constructed pie.
72 Georgia Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
Contact: (404) 907-4245
Chef Duane Nutter, a culinary rock star, has returned to Atlanta to introduce an exciting elevated eatery, Southern National. The globally-inspired menu features dishes prepared with the freshest, regionally-sourced ingredients and the utmost care by Chef Duane Nutter himself. Don’t miss the pork chop – it’s a truly unforgettable culinary experience.
Delilah’s Everyday Soul (Inside The Chattahoochee Food Works)
1235 Chattahoochee Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
Contact: (470) 827-4567
Delilah’s Everyday Soul offers an array of delectable dishes, from amazing fried chicken to comforting mac and cheese. Nestled inside a bustling food hall, it’s the perfect spot for a quick bite or a shared indulgence with friends and family. A must-visit for that well-deserved cheat meal.
2317 Cascade Rd, Atlanta, GA 30311
Contact: (404) 343-1342
La Panarda stands as Atlanta’s only Black-owned authentic Italian restaurant. Founded by Chef Deborah VanTrece, this culinary haven presents traditional Italian dishes with a creative twist, incorporating local and seasonal ingredients. The restaurant’s name draws inspiration from an Italian folklore story, offering fresh and robust flavors that tantalize the taste buds.
Augie’s Cafe (Multiple locations)
1540 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30310
Contact: (678) 974-7338
Augie’s Cafe has carved a niche in Atlanta’s thriving scene of Black-owned breakfast and brunch spots. Indulge in delightful entrees, such as fried catfish served over grits smothered in a creamy, spicy parmesan cheese sauce with seared shrimp – a truly remarkable culinary experience. The omelets and in-house sauces harmonize to create bold and diverse flavors, making this spot a must-visit for those seeking a distinctive Creole-style dining experience.
Toast On Lenox
2770 Lenox Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30324
Contact: (404) 748-4594
Toast On Lenox captures the essence of Atlanta’s food scene, offering a nostalgic ambiance with celebrity sightings and a vibrant crowd. As a Black woman-owned establishment, the menu exudes homeliness and decadence, featuring crave-worthy dishes like lobster and waffles, salmon, shrimp, sweet potatoes, and the crowd-favorite shrimp and grits.
Atlanta Outskirts Tour at Southern Fusion (Formerly Heaven Cafe)
656 Peeksville Rd, Locust Grove, GA 30248
Contact: (678) 272-8688 (Jonesboro location also available)
While not in the heart of Atlanta, the Atlanta Outskirts Tour at Southern Fusion in Locust Grove showcases incredible culinary delights that are not to be missed. From fluffy, buttery pancakes and biscuits, to fresh-made cinnamon rolls and delectable eggs, this hidden gem deserves a spot in the top 5 breakfast and brunch spots, even alongside the city’s popular establishments.
AB Cookie Company – The Best Cookies in Atlanta
Order at https://www.abcookiecompany.com/ or call (404) 391-3270
AB Cookie Company is the go-to destination for the best cookies in Atlanta. Bite into their house-made oatmeal pies, and you’ll find yourself addicted to their irresistible flavor. Don’t just take our word for it – try them out and experience the culinary magic for yourself. This is Atlanta’s sweetest delight.