Mary Mac’s Tea Room opened in 1945. Today it is the last of sixteen tea rooms that once dotted intown Atlanta in the 1940s. We believe we are still here 70 years later because we focus on serving made-from-scratch true southern fare served with genuine southern hospitality.
From the time you come in the door you’re welcomed with open arms and a big smile.
Our location in Midtown Atlanta attracts a vast & varied crowd. When you visit Mary Mac’s 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.
Mary Mac’s has certainly grown over the years. In 1945 we had one dining room; today we have 6 bustling dining rooms and a full service bar.
If it’s your 1st visit to Mary Mac’s, be sure to ask for your complimentary cup of Pot Likker…mmm mmm. And, don’t forget to treat yourself to the Southern classic, Fried Okra.
Some traditions at Mary Mac’s are kept for sentimental reasons; some are maintained because they work so well. We keep pencils on the tables for filling out orders, a practice that Mary McKenzie originally started so if an order was incorrect it would not be the server’s fault. Also, in the era before sophisticated computers, individually written orders were an easy way to keep track of how many customers ate at Mary Mac’s each day. These days we use computers to track sales, but the pencils and guest-written orders remain.
Although famous for our Sweet Tea (“Table Wine of the South”), Mary Mac’s also features a full bar with our famous house specialties that include The Whiskey Lemonade, Mint Julep & Georgia Peach Martini.
Mary Mac’s has also been known for another very unique feature…our very own Goodwill Ambassador, Jo Carter. She would personally visit all of our guests giving her specialty back rubs and genuine southern hospitality. Ms. Jo Carter retired in 2017 but still visits the Tea Room
We even made a T-shirt in Jo’s honor that says “I got my belly filled and my back rubbed all at Mary Mac’s Tea Room”
“We just loved the food and atmosphere. We were visited at our table by Jo Carter, a true Southern example of hospitality. She is a great addition to your business as one can see by watching her flit from table to table and to see the smiles on everyone’s faces.”
Evelyn & Martha have been working at Mary Mac’s over 40 years!
“Martha and I went to school together in Crawfordville, Georgia and when Martha moved to Atlanta and started working here in 1973, she told me how much she liked it. I moved to Atlanta and came to work at Mary Mac’s in 1975, and we are both very popular waitresses these last thirty-five years. We like to make our customers feel good.”
Even our “under a decade” staff members make our guests feel good too…
Mary Mac’s Tea Room doors first opened in 1945 when Mary McKenzie decided to use her good Southern cooking to make money in the tough post-World War II days. In those days, a woman couldn’t just open up a restaurant, so many female proprietors used the more genteel Southern name of “Tea Room.” Ponce de Leon Avenue sported clanking trolley cars, the Atlanta Crackers Baseball team and tents serving ice cold watermelons. There were many ornate movie theaters like the Fox Theatre just down the street. And there were at least 16 other Tea Rooms around intown Atlanta with Mary Mac’s being the only one of them left.
In the early 1960s, Margaret Lupo bought Mary Mac’s and over the next 30 years grew it into a larger restaurant by buying up property next door to it and expanding. She was a hard working business woman who loved Southern cooking and brought Mary Mac’s from a small little Tea Room to one of the South’s best known restaurants. She accomplished all this during a time when there were very few women in business and it would be difficult for any woman to secure a bank loan. Click here to read Serenbe’s Marie Nygren’s blog about the early days of Mary Macs. It contains some great insight and history on Mary Macs. Marie is the daughter of Margaret Lupo.
The current owner, John Ferrell, purchased Mary Mac’s in 1994. He was actually hand-chosen by Margaret Lupo to take over her beloved restaurant. And he has not let her down as he continues a great tradition of Southern cuisine and hospitality. The location has stayed the same, and the food remains nearly identical to what it was over seventy years ago.
Here is a wonderful article on not only John but the history and traditions behind 7 decades inside the walls of Mary Mac’s Tea Room. Enjoy and see ya’ll soon!