Mary Mac’s Tea Room set to reopen under new ownership

Beloved Midtown dining institution Mary Mac’s Tea Room is set to reopen under new ownership on Nov. 2 after closing in March due to the pandemic.

The restaurant will still be serving up its menu of “meat and three” traditional Southern favorites such as its famous fried chicken, country fried steak, meatloaf, collards, macaroni and cheese, peach cobbler and, yes, those addictive yeast rolls.

While the menu will remain largely unchanged (including the complimentary cup of pot likker and cornbread muffin served to each first-time diner), the restaurant will reopen with rigorous COVID-19 safety precautions. There will also be convenient online ordering and curbside pick-up for customers who want to enjoy their menu favorites at home.

Mary Mac’s will reopen on Nov. 2 for to-go orders only and then will reopen for in-person dining the following week on Nov. 9. The restaurant is encouraging guests to plan ahead and place holiday bulk orders online.

The caretaker of “Atlanta’s Dining Room” will be new owner Harold Martin, Jr., a local businessman and experienced restaurant operator. Martin was chosen by previous owner, John Ferrell, who after owning the restaurant for nearly 26 years, sought to find a buyer who shared his commitment to preserving the legacy of Mary Mac’s.

In addition to Martin, the new ownership group will include Bryan Rand of Atlanta, as well as restaurant industry luminaries Michael Bodnar and John Michael Bodnar. Day-to-day operations will be led by Chad Reynolds, who will serve as Director of Operations, and guests can look forward to reconnecting with the same beloved Mary Mac’s staff as the new ownership group plans to retain the entire staff of over 100 team members.

“I’ve been eating at Mary Mac’s for over 20 years, ever since I moved to Atlanta,” says Martin. “As a longtime customer, I understand what makes Mary Mac’s special, and I look forward to working with our team members to maintain those traditions. Southern food represents family, and Mary Mac’s always makes you feel like family. Mary Mac’s traditions are the fabric of what Atlanta was built on; a place where we survive the test of time, where all are welcomed with open arms, and where each guest feels at home each time they return. We’ll be using the same recipes that Mary Mac’s has been using for decades and offering the same made-from-scratch dishes guests know and love, served up by the same staff who have become a part of our families over the years.”

Sadly, Mr. Martin will reopen the restaurant without his favorite server, Ms. Ellen, who initially welcomed him to Mary Mac’s over 20 years ago and recently passed away. As a tribute to Ms. Ellen, one of the six dining rooms at Mary Mac’s will be renamed “Ms. Ellen’s Room” in her honor.

Mary Mac’s opened in 1945 in the aftermath of World War II near Peachtree Street on Ponce de Leon Avenue. At the time, it was one of 16 tearooms in Atlanta and seated 75 guests. Today, Mary Mac’s is the only original tearoom that remains.