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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

30 Restaurants in 30 Days: Mary Mac’s Tea Room

marymacsignBefore we even get to the vegetables (fruited Jell-o, pickled beets, chicken-less dumplings) at Mary Mac’s Tea Room, may we stop and admire the cocktails?

It’s such a perfect pick-your-poison list: Mint Julep, Hurricane, Martini, Bloody Mary, White Russian, Mimosa, “Georgia Peach.” Or, if you’re a teetotaler, you can get a cool glass of buttermilk. Not me. One of these days I will go to Mary Mac’s, get tanked on White Russians and wander the dining room reciting lines from “The Big Lebowski.” Until that day comes, I will eat my, um, vegetables.

I have to admit that during the 12 years I’ve lived in Atlanta, I have only been to this 62-year-old classic once. Why? I don’t know. There’s something about feeling like a tourist in your own town that’s a turnoff, and for whatever reason, Mary Mac’s has always seemed just a teensy bit like an Epcot Center restaurant.

marymacmenuMaybe it’s the carpeting, or the antique-ish sideboards, or the endless mullions, or the gift case, or the loudspeaker that calls guests to the front desk, or the way you actually have to write out your own order on a chit with a pencil and show a preference for yeast rolls or cornbread.

But we are all guilty of being blind to interesting things in plain view, and Mary Mac’s is a very interesting thing, indeed. We could just stop with the White Russian, the buttermilk and the Jell-O, throw in a fried chicken leg or two and have a meal of indisputable character.

But before we get to any of that, we must sample the potlikker. “Have you not had it?” the waiter will ask as soon as he approaches the table. It’s our specialty, he persists as he brings you a complimentary cup.

marymacpotlikkerThe potlikker — salty, oily and cloudy with mysteries of flavor, with a stray collard leaf floating within — comes alongside a miniature cracklin’ corn muffin.

Crumble it into the cup, the waiter instructs, and release your inner Rhett. But first, try a bite of the muffin by itself and appreciate the porky goodness imparted by the sticky bits of rendered fat and skin. This is a soulful starter.

But now you must turn your attention to your chit, your pencil, and the bodaciously long menu, with its “Tearoom Favorites,” “Grill Menu,” and side dishes to leave you wringing your hands with indecision.

If the waiter marks you as a newbie or a tourist, he will pull out his decision-making semaphores and direct you to the inviolate menu of bad-for-you stuff that everyone surely craves here: fried chicken, sweet potato soufflé and mac and cheese.

Ordering at Mary Mac’s can remind you of the Chinese restaurant where you want to explore the menu but the waiter seems bent on making sure you get the meal he has planned.

Mary Mac chopsAfter many questions, I end up with these tasty fried pork chops — slices of loin, actually, that fry up so crisp the coating actually puffs away from the meat like it would for a properly made wienerschnitzel. I loved the simple preparation, though in an ideal world the frying oil would have tasted fresher.

The side of collard greens was excellent — the greens soft and velvety in that fine potlikker.

The other side — tomato pie — was the single scariest thing I’ve ever eaten in my life. With its Ritz cracker crust and cream cheese filling, I knew it was up to no good. I just wasn’t expecting it to be swimming in grease.

You think I’m exaggerating? You want proof? Watch this video, if you dare:

My friend orders the smothered chicken, and I’ve got to say this dish isn’t a looker. Again, proof:

marymacchickenYet this fried and then gravy-glooped bird tastes just right — the meat damp and firm, and somehow all the more chickeny for it. On the side are fried green tomatoes (mostly breading with very little tomato tang for counterbalance) and the famous green beans that the menu boasts are hand snapped in the kitchen. Alas, they seem to have gone through a flavor-stripping machine soon thereafter.

We finish with a slice of peanut butter pie, which seems on the verge of morphing into peanut butter cheesecake. I think I may have cottoned to it better had not the tomato pie scared me off of cream cheese for the foreseeable future.

Be that as it may, I am happy to have rediscovered Mary Mac’s Tea Room. The next time I have out-of-town guests, I’m going to bring them here for smothered chicken, potlikker and White Russians.

marymacpieSomehow, I can think of few meals that would say “Atlanta” better.

Did I miss anything good on the menu? What should I order next time? And can anyone step forward and defend the tomato pie?

178 comments Add your comment

Mother Teresa

November 4th, 2009
11:13 pm

You’re an idiot. It was juice from the tomato.

bill jones

November 4th, 2009
11:16 pm

I’m a Southerner born and bred and love Southern food and can cook it. Mary Mac’s is highly overrated.

Jeff

November 4th, 2009
11:46 pm

Good Lord, John… since when does a guy under the age of 80 worry about cream cheese, dessert or a little grease with a meal? Geez, you sound like freakin’ Barbara Walters on The View! (I’m sure it’s your favorite show!) As Chaps, Dixigoddess, BreezyATL, etc. all said, this is SOUTHERN comfort food that is best loved and appreciated by SOUTHERNERS. I have been up north before and I had a lot of Greek food and northern “stuffing” (not dressing) and rutabagas and stuff like that… I didn’t really like it, but I didn’t complain and I sure didn’t write any reviews about it in those local newspapers!

Mary Mac’s may not be perfect, and there are some things better than others, but as a rule, Southern comfort food is best understood, cooked and appreciated by native Southerners (and those Yankees who come with an open mind!) Stuff like mac ‘n cheese, fried anything, food with gravy, dressing, cheesy stuff, some salty items, sweet tea and lots of desserts… those are our Southern staples, and i love ANY restaurant that serves those!

I’ve only been to Mary Mac’s a few times, but I’ve enjoyed it every time… and it’s like the Varsity, an Atlanta original. That’s part of the reason that many of us like it so much!

P.S. If you’re worried about the cheese and desserts and some grease, go put in a good workout the next day to work it off! A couple of hours of tennis or basketball or good, hard yardwork will work that stuff right off!

deep south girl

November 5th, 2009
12:23 am

Mary Mac’s is disgusting. Like others who’ve commented, I get dragged there by visitors and regret it every single time. If that’s your comfort food, have at it, but the rudeness in these comments is more un-Southern than the intrusive backrubs or the clammy, sticky fried chicken.

Give me Scott Peacock’s cooking any old time. Watershed is where I take guests who appreciate good regional food that tastes like my mama’s and my grandmama’s.

Rebecca

November 5th, 2009
1:15 am

Just like everything else in the South and everywhere else i suppose, “If ya doesn’t like it, ya doesn’t have to go”. I personally like Mary Macs, I like Matthews in Tucker, I like The Collonade, I like the Varsity. It’s just a matter of opinion and taste. Born and raised in the South…..

Pat

November 5th, 2009
1:16 am

My mama was a true Southern lady. She made her own homemade jam, pies and cobblers, and always had fried chicken, turnips or collards, fresh rolls and assorted vegetables ready on Sundays right after we got home from church. Her casseroles were regular fixtures at dinner on the grounds at church, Sunday night potlucks or at the homes of bereaved friends and neighbors.

But good Lord, the woman was an AWFUL cook. Sadly, she was probably one of the worst cooks in our neighborhood, congregation, heck, probably the whole town. She boiled her vegetables to mush, turned pancakes into vulcanized, syrup-topped, rubber discs, rolled biscuits that sat in your stomach like shot puts for hours, and baked a mean cornbread – and I do mean “mean” – so heavy, leaden and hard, you could knock someone unconscious with it, even without the cast iron skillet she cooked it in.

My point? Food can be authentically “southern,” and still suck. But while mama’s terrifying crimes against cuisine were a source of family humor, we’d have all probably been deeply offended if the obvious had been pointed out by outsiders.
When Mama brings people a pie and they say, “Oh Margaret, you shouldn’t have”, they really MEAN it.

In Atlanta, where everything gets torn down every three or four years, people develop a deep fondness for what’s survived for years – the comforting and familiar – especially a restaurant that cooks like a beloved relative. Flavor, freshness and quality ingredients just aren’t that important to some. Like a sweet old maiden aunt who absent-mindedly puts salt into the sugar cookies, Mary Mac’s way past her glory days – but most Atlantans defend it vigorously with a never-ending benefit of the doubt.

Rex in Jax

November 5th, 2009
3:35 am

Well friends and neighbors, having grown up(and out) on southern delicacies,I must say MM is a great substitue for the real thing. Grandmama has gone on to her reward and Mama has taken to using Splenda in her Red Velvet Cake! I guess some things just can’t stay the same.My last at MM was on New Years day and it was wonderful! We ate like hogs! The food was good and my friends from Jacksonville were astonished. After moving here (to Jax) I can understand why! These folks just cannot cook! They wouldn’t know a real Red Velvet if it rode rough-shod over them! I’ll still take mama’s first (Splenda not with standing), and then Mary Mac’s anyday of the week! Ya’ll come to see us!

matt

November 5th, 2009
3:37 am

‘Yankee this!’ and ‘Yankee that!’ – Insulting southern food is apparently high treason in these here parts. This read was like a time machine ride through America’s more divisive past.

tom shoupe

November 5th, 2009
3:41 am

DO NOT EAT AT MARY MAC'S

November 5th, 2009
8:57 am

The food is horrible at Mary Mac’s and it tastes like grease. I ate there once and my tastebuds were offended. Save yourself the trouble you can get a better meal at your local Cracker Barrel!

GA Peach

November 5th, 2009
9:36 am

I have to agree with the individuals who were NOT impressed with Mary Mac’s. I have been only once with my family and it is definitely not the place to go for southern cooking. MM does not represent the best Atlanta has to offer in Southern cooking. I have definitely had better tasting, better quality food.

island transpant

November 5th, 2009
9:58 am

i went to Mary Mac’s this summer for the first time…and i’m sorry to say i could not see what the big deal was about….the mac and cheese was gross oily, i just did not like it and will not go back…sorry….

kinderbabe

November 5th, 2009
10:36 am

i too went to mary mac’s once years ago and found it awful. my grandmothers and aunts are fantastic cooks. the only people i could see being impressed by mary mac’s were those who don’t cook or were deprived of good, homestyle, soul-stirring southern cooking when growing up. lol

John Kessler

November 5th, 2009
11:07 am

Pat: LOVE your post. I think you hit the vulcanized biscuit on the head.

John Kessler

November 5th, 2009
11:08 am

Mother Teresa: Not even Monsanto could figure out a way to engineer a tomato with that, um, “juice.”

reality

November 5th, 2009
11:55 am

Mary Macs Sucks.

JIMBOB

November 5th, 2009
12:18 pm

Haven’t been to MM in a while. More of a fan of Greenwood’s. Quinnies is actually good too, although lacking in ambience (and the cornbread is really dry).

Southern Deb

November 5th, 2009
12:20 pm

This 57 year old native Atlanta girl still likes Mary Mac’s! I love the baked chicken & dressing, sweet potato souffle’, collard greens, and those wonderful yeast rolls. Wouldn’t want to leave out the cinnamon rolls,…Yum! I’ve always enjoyed Ms Jo’s back rub and conversation, too!
Honey, maybe you just haven’t been here long enough to know good southern food! Don’t give up, try it, again.

KCV

November 5th, 2009
12:34 pm

I’ve lived in Atl for 9yrs and everytime I think of going to Mary Mac’s I talk myself out of it for the reasons u stated…seems like it’s a tourist destination that may have good “southern/soul” food to those who don’t know how to cook “southern/soul” food and always thought I would be disappointed. After reading the review and repliess, I will give it a try so I can formulate my opinion. There is a place in New Orleans (my home town…Who Dat!) named Mothers (as well as Dookey Chase) that most tourist and confused locals LOVE… but is also just a place that serves tourist style red beans and rice with a lot of salt and grease and call it southern soul food…u can get better at smaller neighborhood restaurants or my grandmothers house ; )

wolfman

November 5th, 2009
12:58 pm

Brings back memories of my weekly visits when I was a student at GA Tech… Go Jackets!

Joel six pack

November 5th, 2009
1:03 pm

Mary Macs is the kind of place Paula Dean and her ilk must love. It is crude, defiantly unchanging, greasy and it makes you fat and lazy.

danny williams

November 5th, 2009
1:12 pm

I’ve been the mary macs several times and I enjoyed the tom-pie. I also enjoyed other items on the menu. I have to say if you enjoy southern cooking mary macs is the place to go

Blackqueen1

November 5th, 2009
1:18 pm

Mary Macs is all hype, if you are looking for some serious southern flavor go to The Busy Bee on MLK next to the old Paschal’s hotel, little place but the food has big flavor. Also nobody has mentioned the Smith House in Dahlonega Awesome food.

KCV

November 5th, 2009
1:21 pm

I have to say, Busybee has been recommended several times, only problem is they are not open on weekends!?!?!? I have to say, any restaurant/donut shop that makes it’s own hours, must be good cuz they’re obviously not starving for $$$! I may get in the car and head that way now…..

A

November 5th, 2009
1:29 pm

As a lifelong southerner I always get a laugh when people start talking about ‘yankees’ not appreciating southern food. It’s food, people. It’s nice food, sometimes too greasy, sometimes startlingly good (thank you Edna Lewis). But it’s not a thing to get all het up about-I feel sure that people from the north are capable of judging the merits of southern food accurately. And Mary Macs is awful-the last time I ate there I was under the impression that all the food came out of cans. I didn’t realize that one could get a drink there-might have made the whole thing easier to bear.
As far as this ‘yankees don’t get it ‘ thing goes: remember your southern hospitality. We do not openly criticize our guests. We wait till they’ve left.

GA Girl

November 5th, 2009
1:30 pm

Mary Macs okay not as good since Mary Mac died and the place was sold to another person. I was told the cook did stay though. Try Bobby and Junes a Great place very small have been in their location over 50 years. Way better than Mary Macs and cheaper.

Cubanamama

November 5th, 2009
1:33 pm

Ok, yeah, Kessler was asking for it by taking a less-than-worshipful stand on MM’s (something no Yankee could do with impunity), but I must admit he’s not off base. I have to say that all of y’all that are making a hue & cry about MM’s must not have been to Busy Bee which (all due respect to Cold Sassy), is simply THE best Southern/Soul food in town. Period. Love!

Midtown Residing

November 5th, 2009
1:35 pm

Please forgive me, but I’ve lived in Atlanta for 19 years and I still wonder what is so special about the South. I don’t like Southern Hospitality any better than I like California Hospitality (at least they have great wine), or anyone elses hospitality. Why does the South think they have a corner on the hospitality market. Most of the time I just see it as being nosey. Now the food. Excuse me? Boiled greens, overcooked veg and cornbread? I would much rather have a hot dog from a street vendor in NYC, or a great burrito at a no-name place in LA. I don’t get it. Oh, and I’m not from “the north” and I’m not a yankee.

My Two Cents - Southern Style

November 5th, 2009
1:38 pm

If you transplants don’t like our southern food there are plenty of restaurants that will serve you half cooked food so visit them. One problem with you Yankees is you want to change us to your way of thinking. Please don’t try as we enjoy our vittles the way we were raised….good southern home cooked food.

J

November 5th, 2009
1:43 pm

I’ve been living in Texas for 2 years now, and I’m CRAVING Mary Mac’s home cookin’ now! I know the FIRST stop I’m makin’ once I get off I-20 and head for home.

Gordon M.

November 5th, 2009
1:44 pm

All of your comment’s are understandable. The thing is, taste is an individual thing and the way you may expect things to taste is the way you were brought up with and adjusted to as children (Nobody can beat grandma’s cooking). We all have our favorite’s and some resturant’s are the best, while the worst to other’s. The taste of food changes when the cook’s change. Certain resturant’s I will go to only when certain cook’s are working. So, all in all, JK’s column is written with his style and taste as a guide and they are used as a guide which may interest you in trying the establishment. We all read these article’s to get an idea of new places we would like to try. So just sit back, enjoy and not get so rough on someone’s opinion. Place your own finding’s, but enjoy the columm.

PS… I am an Atlanta baby and turned 63 today. My favorite place is gone, but the Yellow Jacket Inn, Frank Gordys place before The Varsity, put the Varsity to same. The food was not greasy and the onion rings were to die for, “in my opinion”. (Grin)

shaggy

November 5th, 2009
1:47 pm

In 1977, Mary Macs kept me from starving. I was young, experimenting with many substances, and one day, my friend looked at my skinny, emaciated 6′0″ frame. He said, “Dang, (he really said something the AJC wouldn’t print. come to think of it, we said stuff like that a lot, plus things like )you don’t look too good. Maybe eating something would be a good idea.” Since we never could manage to drive when we were having the deep and intellectual “dang, far out, and what a rush” discussions, we walked to one of two places – Mary Macs was one, and Krispy Kreme was the other. Plaza Drugs and The Magestic were just too far, never make it.
Anyway, Mary Macs never turned a hippie with a little money away, and I think the kindly waitress took a look at us and knew we were an emergency, calorie intake priority, with little time left. She used to sneak us a few extra pot likkers and swore it would rejuvenate us. She was right, and that’s how Mary Mac’s kept me from starving in 1977. I don’t care if they have changed a bit, what hasn’t?

F-105 Thunderchief

November 5th, 2009
1:54 pm

John, you were fair, yet kind in your criticisms and warm in your praise. I like that in a food writer.

Stuart

November 5th, 2009
1:56 pm

I was born in and have lived in the south my entire 49 years, have lived in Atlanta about 30 of those 49 years, and have loved and enjoyed good, southern cooking for most of those 49 years. (I don’t count my early, nursing years since my mother didn’t breast-feed.) I had one grandmother who made fried chicken and fried-apple pies almost every day of the week that would bring a crowd almost every day of the week. And you could have all you wanted as long as you ate it at her table. She also always kept a pint of whiskey in her pantry in case she had a cold, or a toothache. I had another grandmother that didn’t believe in cooking anything without at least a cup of lard. “If it needs heat, it needs lard.” And being a good Baptist, she didn’t believe in cooking on Sunday. You could heat things up on Sunday, you just couldn’t cook them. (I never found that passage in the bible, but you didn’t dare question my grandmother on religion or cooking.) So on Sunday, pretty much everything tasted like flavored lard. Green bean-flavored lard, chicken-flavored lard, shoepeg corn-flavored lard, etc. Having said all that, I’ve been to Mary Mac’s once.

BurpinChunks

November 5th, 2009
2:24 pm

Try the Alka-Seltzer… a can’t miss!

Cranberry

November 5th, 2009
2:27 pm

The meatloaf!!!!! I would never prepare like that myself, but it is FAB-U-LOUS.

Junior Samples

November 5th, 2009
2:27 pm

I’ll have to join in with the “love the sinner, not the sin” crowd. As in, I do enjoy the fact that Mary Mac’s is still there as an institution, but I do not admire the food there greatly. It’s not awful; the kitchen is just showing it’s age. But for a true experience in overrated Southern awfulness, one could have visited that vile Paula Deen’s Mother and Son’s place in Savannah, before they moved on to ladle ersatz Southern culture onto an unsuspecting (and apparently highly credulous) viewership. Big lines, high prices, endless gastric distress following a swim in Paula’s grease lap pool. It really stunk, and makes me give Mary Mac’s an E at least for effort. I do declare, I would surely enjoy delivering a nice stiff left hook right into Miz Paula’s mush-munching piehole…

Cranberry

November 5th, 2009
2:29 pm

The meatloaf! FAB-U-LOUS!

Mary Huf

November 5th, 2009
2:35 pm

Hey, those of you criticizing John Kessler are the ones who should take Delta outta town. Y’all, this is a food CRITIC: his job isn’t to be nice. I read restaurant reviews for a living and Kessler’s are like an art form. He’s won awards and definitely knows Southern food – he’s eaten his way through Augusta and other Southern towns. Best of all, we have him to thank for pointing out the true gems along Buford Highway and other great non-Southern finds that we’re too scared of to try on our own. Anyone who had a Southern grandmother cooking great food for them knows that the Colonnade eclipsed Mary Mac’s years ago for taste, service and huge menu. Now, the Mac and Cheese at MM’s is really good – even when served at a catered event like the Atlanta Press Club’s Gorilla Ball! And the pot likker – you can’t get it anywhere else.

Fred

November 5th, 2009
2:41 pm

Good catch Mr. Kessler. Don’t be bullied by these moe-rons with no taste. I ate ONE TIME at Mary Mac’s on a Sunday and that was more than enough for me. I usually five a place 3 tries before I say it’s crap, but there was no hope for Mary Mac’s. I dunno what THESE yankees up north here in Atlanta call Southern cooking, but me and anybody else I know form the REAL south would be ashamed to serve the crap I had there at our houses. I’ve had tastier food at the dining room in an old folks home.

You hit the nail on the head, the “emperor” truly has no clothes. Maybe 100 years ago or something there was a decent meal served there but it ain’t happened in my tenure in Atlanta. But being an “icon” no one is allowed to say the emperor is nekkid as a jaybird. I have actually found a good use for Mary Mac’s, if someone tells me about a “good” restaurant, i ask them what they think about Mary Mac’s. If they say it’s great I know one of 2 things, either they know nothing about Southern cooking or they are idiots with no taste buds who follow the herd to whatever is “trendy.” In either case, I don’t take their opinion on a good place to eat.

WCMIII

November 5th, 2009
2:47 pm

Everybody knows you should eat your tomatoes sliced.

Junior Samples

November 5th, 2009
2:51 pm

PS- Some years ago whenever a friend or business associate came into town wanting some Southern cookin’, we went straight down to visit the late great Deacon Burton. After his untimely passing (God rest his stovepipe chef’s hat and poetry fit for Howard Finster’s garden) we would head over to Son’s. Neither of those places can be surpassed for the real Southern deal in all it’s fatback goodness.

The Deacon would have told Paula Deen to get her big ol’ butter tail off to church and leave the cooking to someone who knows something about it…

crackbaby

November 5th, 2009
2:54 pm

Mary Macs fell from grace in the late 80s. Just like Buckhead. Their food hasn’t been “homemade” quality for about 20 years. Rather, food preparation is on par with convention center meals – blechhhh. I guess that passes for good in downtown these days.

Dixie Darling

November 5th, 2009
2:58 pm

Agree with comments on OK Cafe — however, if you can face the traffic race track on the Interstates and get to the fringes of Atlanta which merged into the great Metro-Atlanta area, you will find some really great southern eating places. Driving even futher out, one of the best is Oakwood Cafe in Dalton — yeah I know it’s a tad stretch of getting out of Atlanta — but that is where you get out of the touristy places. And downtown Rome GA has another great southern food place which I think is called the Black-eye Pea Cafe. Please don’t knock the Picadilly cafeterias which have some good soul food to offer — and they are mostly found in the Atlanta area.

I used to cook Southern but due to medical reasons, need to do different. No wonder the South lost The War — we couldn’t get our soul food on the battleground. But to get back to southern food, like it or not — nothing loves you like a plate of warm biscuits covered with real butter served with deep-fried chicken, mashed potatoes swimming in real butter, those tiny field peas cooked with okra, and sweet potatoes, creamed corn. Yummy — guess I had better go gas up and drive to someplace for some southern cooking before I perish!

Brown-Eyed Girl!

November 5th, 2009
3:04 pm

I’m a original “Ole GG” (Georgia Girl). For you Oakland people, my mother was born and raised in Tybee, Georgia…no not the island. I never went to Mary Macs because I never heard anything good about it from any people I knew. To tell you the truth, I never went to restaurants to get true Southern food. For me, “Southern food” was “Soul Food” and I had it all the time at home. My mother made greens (collards, mustards, turnips, kale, polk salad), beans (any kind you can think of), chicken and dumplings, roast, fried chicken, potato salad, sweet potato souffle, short ribs and gravy, cube steak and gravy, oxtails and even fish head stew.LOL My fondest memory was her making turnip greens and making white cornmeal dumplings and dropping them over in the turnips to cook. I must stop, I am making myself hungry. She is 80 years old and lives in Macon, so if you want to really get your southern eat on, head further South.

Dave in Marietta

November 5th, 2009
3:17 pm

It really gets quite tedious listening to some Southerners whine like little kids when someone comments negatively on one of their precious institutions. I have lived in Alabama and Georgia all my life and I never let a Yankee’s opinion bother me. I’m glad John wrote his review because I’ve never been to Mary Mac’s and now never intend to now. From all the other comments, it sounds like a place whose glory days are long passed.

Michigander

November 5th, 2009
5:47 pm

I live across the street from Mary Macs and just don’t get why people go back. I agree with the blogger who said “Swanson Dinner.” It was truly awful. Cold, gummy mac and cheese. Spongy brown sweet potatoes. Not to mention their vegetarian plates are not vegetarian friendly, as all their greens are dredged in pork fat before being overcooked to an icky shade of grey. For me, Southern food is decidedly ethnic, and Carver’s Country Kitchen is a much better representation.

suzy

November 6th, 2009
11:13 am

John, I love reading your blogs. MM’s certainly has some emotional responses. After several visits to my daughter in ATL she realized she had not taken me to MM’s so off we went. Great fried chicken livers, fried okra and sweet potato souffle. Not that my health would allow me to eat that on a regular basis but a nice treat for a change. I’m looking forward to my next visit to ATL soon and trying some of your other recommendations.

georgian

November 6th, 2009
3:59 pm

Mr. Kessler’s initial impression when entering Mary Mac’s is precisely the way it appears now. As a child, I ate there many times with my parents; everyone loved it, including my food snob father. After moving to Denver, I was away from the restaurant for many years, but always yearned for it. Upon relocating to Atlanta in 1985, I immediately dragged my new husband there and was thrilled that it was still in existence. I found it virtually the same, but Mary Lupo was still there at the time. Then,during the time my old favorite was changing hands, closing and then re-opening we moved from Atlanta to Decatur and left it behind. Finally, a few weeks ago, I returned and found it had, to my dismay, morphed into a tourist spot, with a strangely complicated and pricier menue. Saddest of all, though, was the decline in the quality of some of the standard dishes. But, I do agree that the fried chicken livers were still fine.

John Kessler

November 6th, 2009
4:23 pm

Amazing story, Shaggy.
F-105 (and everyone else): thanks! I thought my comments were charitable. This really has been an interesting discussion. Who’s coming to the Varsity for some O-rings and a Frosted Orange?