Why is it called a tea room? In 1945, when Mary Mac's Tea Room first opened, the restaurant business was a difficult world for a woman to compete in. Mary McKenzie, the original proprietor of this Southern joint decided that tea room sounded a little more refined (and less suspicious to those Don Draper types). **Side note: Girl power!
Do they serve tea? Uh...it's the table wine of the South.
Do they take reservations? Everyday except Sunday.
You know how you go to hotspots in different cities and they'll have plaques and junk that say stuff like, "Sister Hazel Ate Here." Well, Mary Mac's is like that too. The walls are loaded down with pictures of famous patrons like His Holiness, The Dali Lama. THE DALI LAMA! People, that is intense!
So obviously, Mary Mac's is well-known. Making reservations is a good idea. And if it's your first visit your waiter will bring you some cracklin' cornbread and hot pot liquor. Yum!
On our most recent visit to Mary Mac's, I decided to go with the vegetable plate. I chose black-eyed peas, whipped potatoes, fried okra, and vegetable soup. All were excellent, especially with a dash of hot pepper sauce. My cousins, La (Lauren) and Elisabeth both ordered the veggie plates as well. We were all very pleased with our selections.
Josh ordered the chicken and dumplings (and had yet another chance to explain the difference between this dish and something North Carolinians like to call chicken pastry). He also had a piece of pecan pie (which he pronounces peeee-can*) and he said it was almost as good as my Grandma's. He also kept saying, "I feel like I'm in Grandmama's (his grandmother) kitchen!"
All in all, our meal was pleasant. The service was great, the food was tasty, and the laid-back atmosphere was nice. I hate when waiters try to rush you through meals and in my experience that's not an issue at Mary Mac's. So the next time you find yourself in Atlanta with an hour or two to spare, stop by Mary Mac's for some yummy Southern delights.
*How do you say pecan? I personally say puh-can. Josh says peeeee-can which just sounds plain nasty.