Mary Mac’s Tea Room: Midtown

posted on July 3, 2007 at 12:46 pm
Mary Mac's Tea Room: Midtown
I always cringe when I watch television and see the South denigrated by people who have not spent much time here. I like to consider myself a cosmopolitan gal and feel that life in Atlanta is pretty fulfilling. Yes, we are no New York or Paris, but the South is alive with color, history, and more energy than you can shake a stick at. I sometimes forget that I am in the South because Atlanta is growing so fast. Just look at how much the skyline has changed over the past couple of years. With all this growth, it is sometimes nice to return back to our Southern roots and visit a place where time stands still. Mary Mac’s Tea Room is that kind of place. It is where I go when I want a home-cooked Southern meal without all the muss and fuss. I am never blown away by the food—there are plenty of restaurants with better Southern/Soul food in the area—but the service and atmosphere is what keeps me going back for more. It the kind of place where you’d lose track if you tried to count the number of times your waitress called you “baby.” The walls are lined with photos of celebrities and dignitaries, but you don’t have to be famous to feel at home here. Anyone is welcome.
Mary Mac's Tea Room: Midtown
The sinful bread basket full of hot cornbread, yeast rolls, and cinnamon rolls. I dare you to try and stop eating these before your meal arrives.

Mary Mac's Tea Room: Midtown
The fried green tomatoes appetizer was pretty good. The tomatoes were expertly prepared. I think they use fresh bread crumbs because the breading was very flaky. The only downfall was the horseradish sauce. It needed some salt and a bit more texture. That did not stop me from eating more than my share.

Mary Mac's Tea Room: Midtown
Fried chicken breast with squash soufflé and hoppin’ john (black-eyed peas with white rice). Pretty darn good fried chicken with the right amount of crisp (I like my fried chicken). The sides could have used more salt, but I think they do that for the patrons watchin gtheir salt intake. Still really satisfying.
Mary Mac's Tea Room: Midtown
My sister got the
fried pork chop with collard greens and macaroni and cheese. The pork chop was very tender and not greasy at all (something surprisingly hard to find at many local eateries). The collard greens, which I happen to think are the best collards in Atlanta, had the perfect amount of fat. The mac and cheese, which is normally my favorite, had a bit too much egg and cheese, but they were still pretty good.

Verdict: An Atlanta institution. Great service and atmosphere. Average to good food, but it has lots of personality. I would be sad to see it close. Stick with any fried or roasted dish and you will be good to go.

224 Ponce De Leon Ave Ne
Phone: (404) 876-1800

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  • Re: Mary Mac’s Tea Room: Midtown
    posted by: Leiha · July 3, 2007  8:11 PM

    Hi BG,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and decided it was time to post to let you know how much I enjoy it. I moved to Atlanta in Sept of last year and have been amazed by the amount of vietnamese and korean restaurants here and love that you are a fan of them too.

    I also love the pictures you take of your food and will hopefully one day take as pretty pictures.

    I’ve been meaning to try Mary Mac (I love friend chicken and have never eaten as much as I have since I moved here, LOL) and your post has definitely moved it up my list of places to try.

  • Re: Mary Mac’s Tea Room: Midtown
    posted by: Lori · July 4, 2007  7:20 AM

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for the past year as I prepared to move back to the Atlanta area after 20 years. We’re here now (hooray!), and I was glad to read your post about Mary Mac’s. Back then, my study group and I made weekly visits to MM’s for takeout before going to a friend’s apartment in midtown to hit the books. Mmmm, brain food…

    While visiting Atlanta last year,I took my two teenagers to MM’s for a visit down memory lane. They enjoyed it, and was glad to see it hadn’t changed much. I purchased a Mary Mac’s t-shirt for my daughter, which she loved wearing to school “up north” (which garnered lots of questions from her friends and teachers).

    Thanks for the great blog, we’ve already been to Tasty China (delicious!) and plan to try El Rey
    very soon.

  • Re: Mary Mac’s Tea Room: Midtown
    posted by: Sudhir · July 5, 2007  6:19 AM

    This raises the question: what is the best cheap, authentic Southern food place in Atlanta (thereby eliminating places like Watershed, Canoe and Eugene)? I really have no clue. I suspect many of the best places are off the foodie radar.

  • Re: Mary Mac’s Tea Room: Midtown
    posted by: The Blissful Glutton · July 5, 2007  6:22 AM

    I’d have to say Busy Bee Cafe on MLK. That is my fave when the craving strikes.

  • Re: Mary Mac’s Tea Room: Midtown
    posted by: Anonymous · July 7, 2007  9:53 PM

    I agree Busy Bees is really really good. I must confess…I still enjoy eating at Folks sometimes, its cheap! What about the Colonade on Cheshire Bridge?

  • Re: Mary Mac’s Tea Room: Midtown
    posted by: Anonymous · July 9, 2007  5:52 AM

    The Colonnade has extraordinary chicken, pork chops, etc. Sometimes on the weekends when the wait of close to an hour and a half, it isn’t perfect, but generally, the food and waitstaff couldn’t be nicer.

  • Re: Mary Mac’s Tea Room: Midtown
    posted by: Coast rats · July 17, 2007  4:52 PM

    Carvers grocery

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