Back in 1945, Mary MacKenzie opened Mary Mac’s Tea Room near Peachtree Street on Ponce de Leon Avenue. In those tough days right after the end of World War II, enterprising women in search of a living, some of them mothers widowed by the war, were establishing restaurants all over Atlanta. At the time, a woman couldn’t just open up a restaurant, so many female proprietors used the more refined Southern name of “Tea Room.” Mary Mac’s Tea Room was one of 16 tearooms in Atlanta and seated 75 guests. Today, Mary Mac’s is the only original tearoom that remains.
Southern Tea Room
Mary Mac’s originally opened with one dining room; today, we have 6 bustling dining rooms and a full service bar. The restaurant has expanded to 13,000 square feet, occupying several storefronts, and is one of the city’s five-largest restaurants. Though our restaurant has grown over the years, it’s still 1945 in the kitchen. We still do things the way Mary MacKenzie and her successor, renowned owner, Margaret Lupo (1962-1994), did things. Every morning, we shuck bushels of corn, hand wash our carefully selected greens, and snap fresh green beans by hand. We bake our own scrumptious breads and desserts, like old fashioned banana pudding, coconut cake, and fresh Georgia peach cobbler, and brew up the best sweet tea - “Table Wine of the South”.
Mary Mac’s traditions are the fabric upon which Atlanta was built; a place where all are welcomed with open arms and where each guest feels at home each time they return. Traditions are important at Mary Mac’s, and not many things have changed since we first opened our doors in 1945 – down to the pencils and order forms at each table and the complimentary cup of pot likker and cornbread muffin served to each first-time diner. Some traditions at Mary Mac’s are kept for sentimental reasons, while others are maintained because they work so well.
Generation to Generation
Mary Mac’s attracts a vast & varied crowd. When you visit, you can’t help but notice the pictures adorning our walls with the celebrities & famous faces that make dining with us a part of their visit to Atlanta. Over the years, Mary Mac’s has welcomed many famous visitors, including Dalai Lama, Congressman John Lewis, James Brown, Beyonce, Senator Hillary Clinton, Alan Jackson and President Jimmy Carter. We welcome the generations of Atlanta families: Mary MacKenzie served their grandparents; Margaret Lupo served their parents; and now we welcome a new generation to Mary Mac’s. From the time you come in the door, you’re welcomed with open arms and a big smile.
Today, the tradition of Southern cuisine and hospitality continues. We have a few people still serving and cooking at Mary Mac’s who have been employed with us for over forty-five years. The location has stayed the same, and the food remains nearly identical to what it was over seventy years ago. We were recently honored by the State of Georgia and the House of Representatives with a special resolution for providing authentic Southern fare, always served with a side of Southern graciousness, and we were officially named "Atlanta's Dining Room". We look forward to serving you soon!