Several family-owned and operated restaurants offer locals and visitors a taste of their own version of home in the ATL Airport District. From a British-style pub with a Southern twist to Gullah Geechee soulfood to authentic Thai cuisine, we’re proud to share the vibrant tapestry of families and food that bring the flavor to the District.
1. Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar
3721 Main Street, College Park, GA 30337
Owners: Gee Smalls and Juan Smalls
Black-owned and operated by husbands Gee and Juan Smalls, Virgil's Gullah Kitchen & Bar opened in 2019 in Downtown College Park with the goal of creating a welcoming and inclusive space for the everyone, particularly Black gay men. Named after Gee's late father, Virgil, the eatery serves as a love letter to the Gullah Geechee culture, serving up signature cocktails and traditional dishes inspired by family recipes passed down through generations. Gee also serves as executive chef, ensuring each dish is packed with flavor and authenticity.
2. The Breakfast Boys
3387 Main St College Park, GA 30337
Owners: Gee Smalls, Juan Smalls and Lorenzo Wyche
Building on the success of Virgil's, the power couple Gee and Juan Smalls teamed up with seasoned restaurateur Lorenzo Wyche to open The Breakfast Boys in 2021. The trio, A.K.A. 'the breakfast boys,' opened the all-day breakfast/brunch restaurant to establish a daytime gathering spot where friends and family can socialize while enjoying breakfast-focused cocktails like passionfruit mimosas and inventive classics, such as jerk chicken & sweet potato waffles, chicken sausage & French toast, and more.
3. Aye Tea Elle
3755 College St. College Park, GA 30337
Owners: Don Bratton, Scott Corbin and Jovan Dais
Whether it’s a first date, anniversary, birthday celebration, or simply a girls’ night out, Aye Tea Elle is the place to be. This chic restaurant boasts a sleek and inviting atmosphere, complete with a baby grand piano, mood lighting, a premium sound system, and an outdoor patio perfect for plane watching with one of their signature cocktails in hand. Owned by Don Bratton, Scott Corbin, and Jovan Dais, three lifelong friends and 'brothers from another mother,' Aye Tea Elle offers a diverse menu of culinary treats, including the fried lobster tail & mac, jumbo lump crab cakes and other surf-n-turf specials. With a wide selection of well-crafted cocktails like the ‘Smoked Old Fashioned,’ ‘Ladies Night,’ ‘Black Girl Magic,’ ‘All Da Smoke,’ and more, Aye Tea Elle promises to elevate any occasion. Two of Jovan's daughters contribute to the family business working in the restaurant to serve guests as well as supporting the marketing efforts of the restaurant.
4. The Corner Grille
3823 Main St. College Park, GA 30337
Owners: Julian and Annette Nabaa
The Corner Grille opened in 2011 in the historic building formerly known as St. John’s Episcopal Church, founded in 1906, and still boasts its original hardwood floors. Julian and Annette, a husband-and-wife team with ties to Louisiana, drew inspiration from their favorite home-cooked meals to craft a delightful lineup of dishes that blend traditional American cuisine with flavorful Cajun influences. The restaurant features an ever-changing menu using fresh and seasonal ingredients, with sauces and dressings made from scratch, as well as hand-cut fries and steaks. A Southern-style brunch with classic delights like chicken & waffles is available until 4 p.m. on Saturdays, or you can indulge in local favorites like the Cajun seafood pasta for lunch and dinner.
5. Manchester Arms Pub
1705 Virginia Ave., College Park, GA 30337
Owners: Will and Kristi Warren Evans
Open Monday through Friday, the Manchester Arms Pub is a real home away from home for locals and tourists alike. Originally a historic College Park home nestled in the heart of the neighborhood, the venue was transformed into a charming English pub in 2005. In 2020, husband-and-wife duo Will and Kristi Warren Evans purchased and revitalized the restaurant and operate the pub today. Complete with many repurposed items, such as a British Naval Union Jack that flew over the Salcombe town hall in Southern England more than 100 years ago and a bar top made from reclaimed boxcar timbers from the Western and Atlantic railroad, the neighborhood eatery offers a classic English pub experience.
Enjoy a delightful fusion of dishes, ranging from traditional favorites like fish and chips to Southern comfort food staples such as their renowned pork chop, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes. Or savor a pint with your mates on its large and shaded patio - cheers!
6. JPresso Cafê
407 N. Central Ave., Suite B, Hapeville, GA 30354
Owner: Christine Ahn
Inspired by her lifelong dream since her family’s move from Korea to Hapeville in 1984, Christine Ahn opened JPresso Café in March 2020. Growing up, Christine's parents owned a store in the same shopping plaza where JPresso stands today. The name ‘JPresso’ cleverly combines ‘espresso’ and the three special men in her life – her husband and two sons who all have names that begin with J. As a loving mother, Christine extends her warm and caring nature to her customers, ensuring that everyone feels welcome and at home. Meanwhile, her husband, an interior designer, keeps the café's ambiance funky, cozy and personable. JPresso offers a wide range of coffee options and an impressive selection of 30 all-natural syrups to satisfy all your caffeine cravings. Adding to their family's connection to the shopping plaza, Christine's sister owns Sombreros Mexican Cantina right next to JPresso.
7. Paper Plane
816 South Central Ave, Hapeville, GA 30354
Owners: The Suteeluxnaporn Family
The Suteeluxnaporn family gradually migrated from Bangkok, Thailand to the States, where they ventured into the restaurant business as a family. Building on the success of their East Atlanta Thai restaurant, Spoon, they opened Paper Plane in Hapeville In 2021. Featuring an incredible bar with an impressive whiskey selection and local brews on tap, the establishment offers authentic Thai dishes through a co-op menu with Spoon for take out or sit down service in their modern dining room or alfresco on one of three inviting patios. Their authentic and flavorful cuisine is inspired by their mother’s home-cooked recipes. The middle sister of the family, Aim, is a culinary graduate and takes on the role of head chef. Chef Aim’s husband runs the Paper Plane website, while Wind, the youngest of the three siblings, manages the bar with his wife. The eldest sister, Sujaree, serves as the business manager and her husband, an interior designer, helped bring their vision to life. Paper Plane boasts a private dining space and is also available for a full buyout for events.
8. Hapeville Corner Tavern
573 N. Central Ave., Atlanta, GA 30354
Owners: Mike and Melanie Rabb
Husband-and-wife team Mike and Melanie Rabb were determined to reopen the Hapeville Corner Tavern following a January 2022 fire. The neighborhood rejoined when they were finally able welcome locals and visitors alike back into the relaxed space this past June following extensive repairs and renovations. The inviting outdoor area is complete with lawn games, picnic tables and more. The kitchen serves home-cooked style food every day until midnight, complemented by local brews and cocktails to sip at your table or while shooting a game of pool. You can build your own burger or choose between one of the five specialty options, such as the delicious Truffle Burger or Super Smash Burger. The tavern also offers brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday!