Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mary Mac's Tea Room - Old Fourth Ward - Atlanta Georgia

You can find Mary Mac's Tea Room at 224 Ponce De Leon Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 in the area on the edge of Midtown called Old Fourth Ward. Mary Mac's is an Atlanta institution serving food in the Southern style since 1945. Parking is on the street or in the lot in back (but it does get filled quickly so parking nearby and walking may be your best bet).

The exterior storefront lets you know it's there, complete with neon marquee and Southern style windows adorned with white flower boxes and live flowers. The interior is a bit cramped but mostly due to all those waiting to dine with walls covered by Atlanta memorabilia and signed photographs - everybody and their uncle has eaten here it seems, with many celebrities and national chefs. Furnishings are more of the down-home style with table lamps and ladder-back chairs. Staff are in white shirts with dark-red aprons. The rooms themselves extend layer-on-layer as the restaurant expanded and needed adjoining space, even the floors tile up or down to accommodate different floor levels.

Most recently I visited Mary Mac's and yes it's been a while - I don't remember it extending out quite as far as it now does. We had about a 10 minute wait on a Sunday afternoon, and were then seated in one of the far rooms towards the front of the restaurant. All the rooms are named but I don't recall ours (I wasn't paying much attention). Our server promptly came to the table and received our drink orders. Next came ordering from the very traditional Southern cuisine menu - many options to choose from with most sides carefully measured and served in small serving dishes. We all forewent the cocktails and wine to focus on coffee and water.

I went with the Chicken and Gravy on rice with a Broccoli Caserole and Collard Greens. It was quite delicious and very filling - also there didn't seem to be as much salt this time from what I remember from previous visits - a slight but significant change that to me improves the food.

My wife had the Turkey and Dressing with Fried Potatoes and Cream Corn - all was quite good with the corn being exceptional (I should have remembered that and ordered it myself!). As usual, not enough cranberry sauce - make sure you ask for extra.

My mother-in-law ordered a veggie plate with Orka and Tomatoes, Cole Slaw, Macaroni and Cheese and a Squash Casserole - all very tasty.

My sister-in-law ordered the Chicken Fried Chicken with Green Beans and Squash Casserole - this is indeed some exceptional fried chicken.

The service was very good with plenty of butter on the table and those little corn muffins that are so good. It did take quite a long time for our food to arrive, at least 20 minutes which seemed a bit excessive even when expected due to the after Church crowd. It also took a bit of time to pay up and leave, so make sure you factor that in if you're on your way to a show or similar. In all a very good late lunch with plenty of selection. This is indeed the classic Southern cuisine emporium!

-- John

(also posted in shorter form to Yelp)
Mary Mac's Tea Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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