Celebrity-Owned Restaurants You Should Know

Because Grammys are nice, but making a winning bechamel is like EGOTing.
Celebrity-Owned Restaurants You Should Know image

photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker

Before we earned the title of Hollywood of the South and opened immigration to the multiverse of Marvel characters, the Atlanta celebrity scene had largely been homegrown (or actually home-based). So when the city supports a celeb, it’s more in the vein of showing love to our successful second cousins.

Rappers who write verses about “dripping sauce” and “cheffing in the kitchen” can absolutely take those aims literally and open a restaurant. We’ll support it. Former NFL MVPs can turn the P in the acronym to proprietor. We’re here for it. And reality stars, who we’re unclear on what the f*ck they did before fame, can now affix IRL restaurateur. Put us down for a table for two. And while it's hard choosing favorites in the fam, it's our job, so here are Atlanta's favorite celeb-owned restaurants.



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Celebrity: Lil Baby

Lil Baby's new seafood restaurant on MLK is all over the place. You have a takeout shop upfront that’s already filling with hungry locals, a dining room wallpapered in imagery of the ATL skyline and music icons, and a downstairs lounge with hookah. Faulty bathrooms and uneven service cause pause, but a decently priced menu of steamed (well-seasoned shrimp) and fried catches (golden whiting) saves the day. Still, snow crabs dipped in jerk butter are the flavor-bursting star of the show.

photo credit: Barbara Kraft Photography



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Celebrity: Robert De Niro  

As the only non-Atlanta-based celebrity on the list, Robert De Niro probably knew his Nobu chain at Phipps would attract a company/party/colony of celebrities (what’s the group name for celebrities, btw?). Like the others, A- to Z-listers come out for $30 sashimi, $50 small plates, and sleek interiors that mix textures like wood and onyx. When we’re done identifying the who’s who of people who walked in with Jermaine Dupri or that person in the corner fake-trying to lay low in her fur coat and humongous Dior sunglasses, we’re ordering the iconic sweet miso-glazed cod, which barely needs chewing. Make the most of your meal (and money) by skipping the sushi and sticking to the hot and cold plates near the front of the menu, where you’ll find the most flavor.

Celebrity: Cam Newton

There’s a lot going on at Castleberry Hill’s Fellaship. You’ll notice a stylish bar, a cigar room, a hotel-inspired area with a book wall, and a members-only club upstairs. But c’mon, would you really expect anything less from eccentric NFL quarterback Cam Newton (who also owns Smokey Stallion)? Somehow, though, food makes it all come together. The interesting spins on everyday wings (the 404 sauce’s subtle heat is amazing) and grilled salmon (a respectable cut sits atop a bed of flavorful wild rice, carrots and broccoli) prove to be some of the best dining decisions we’ve made recently. Couple all of that with stellar cocktails and the occasional star sighting (Wait, is that Judge Mathis?) and we see why this place stays packed.

Celebrity: Kandi Burruss (and Mama Joyce)

When we want to pretend that we’re actually part of Mama Joyce, Aunt Nora, and Aunt Bertha’s fam, we head to Old Lady Gang. We can’t help but feel like kinfolk when a plate of juicy baked chicken doused in a thick brown gravy hits the table. This Castleberry Hill spot serves up other Southern favorites like hot cornbread topped with brown sugar and shrimp and grits with a vodka sauce that should absolutely be in every dish since it’s that good. While you may not see Kandi, who also owns Blaze, it’s not unusual to see an OLG member patrolling the casual dining room asking how your meal is. Just offer them a playful “bravo,” and then happily go back to eating and humming to the joint’s R&B-heavy playlist.

Celebrity: Ludacris

When Ludacris dropped Chicken-N-Beer back in 2003, we’re guessing he didn’t know the phrase would still come up 20 years later in more food discussions than album debates. One of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s tastiest destinations, Chicken + Beer in Concourse D pays homage to its co-owner’s prolific past with CD plaques and murals on the wall, but luckily for travelers, its primary focus is serving bar standards, southern staples (catfish, ribs), and good brews. Try the three plump whole wings covered in a spicy Hotlanta sauce that tickles long after you’ve finished your IPA. We’re still dreaming about the fluffy maple butter biscuit that comes on the side. The dish is so good you’ll want seconds, but by then, you’ll have to literally “roll out” of Luda’s restaurant.

Celebrity: Karlie Redd and Ne-Yo

Open until 11pm (and 1am on Friday and Saturdays), we can lean on Johnny’s in College Park for a good meal and a good time after a late flight when everything else near the airport is closed. With loud hip-hop tunes on the speakers and strong cocktails like their three-rum Brunch Punch, there’s always a group here celebrating something. Just ignore the “Best Mac & Cheese” and “World Famous Chicken” superlatives touted on the menu since the all-day brunch spot doesn’t quite clear that bar. But we acknowledge soul food combos like crispy fried chicken and flavored waffles or seasoned seafood and grits are above average. The barebones diner doesn’t give off celebrity hang, but you’ll probably catch an occasional reality star sighting, and specifically Karlie Redd, who co-owns the spot with Ne-Yo.

Celebrity: Skyzoo

If you’re inside the perimeter, it’s a hike getting to this plaza burger joint in Douglasville. But there are good reasons to trek out to rapper Skyzoo’s new spot. For starters, there’s a great chance you’ll actually see the rapper dropping sacks of potatoes off to the kitchen. And secondly, the Bistro’s burgers, thick patties caressed by the grill and hugged by brioche buns, are bangin’. On top of that, Sky concocted his own sauce for the wings, and the sweet-tangy results are a hit. Lemon pepper-sprinkled salmon strips also show a creative culinary mind who has a place at the stove whenever he stops making heat in the recording studio.

Celebrity: T.I.

If you’re into long pat-down lines and $40 self-parking lots, then by all means hit up T.I.’s Trap City Cafe off Northside Drive on the weekend. We might reserve a table on Wednesday’s comedy night, so we can hookah and holler in slightly more chill conditions. Come then and you might score a table near the dimly-lit makeshift stage, grab a $19 cocktail, and peruse a menu of playfully-named items (Shawty Lo Lamb Chops, anyone?). But all jokes aside, there’s a sophistication to the tangy but terrific blackened salmon sliders. And the chicken egg rolls provide the sort of kick you’ll happily want to come back to.

Celebrity: Emily Saliers

Started in 1993 with investment from Indigo Girls bandmate Emily Saliers, this brunch classic is now all over the Southeast but is still very much cherished by locals who flock to their favorite Flying Biscuit restaurant for their signature creamy grits, oatmeal pancakes, and of, course, their sugar-coated biscuits. Don’t sleep on the apple butter, which harmonizes nicely with the doughy biscuit. Whether you’re a meat eater or vegan, looking for a light bite or something so indulgent that you’ll be set to hibernate the rest of the weekend (eyes on you queso-covered fried chicken and chorizo hash), there’s something for everyone here. Plus, breakfast at all their casual and loudly colorful venues is the perfect way to ease into the weekend.

Celebrity: Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta's Rasheeda Frost

With door security, ‘90s R&B, and faux marble on the tables, Frost Bistro sorta feels like every other Peters Street restaurant. Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta’s Rasheeda and Kirk Frost try to elevate their brunch spot with a courtyard and cabanas, but they’re also serving oxtails with plastic forks, so the messaging gets lost. To their credit, though, the blackened salmon sandwich filled with turkey bacon and oozing cheese is a winner. We’re just not sure that’s enough for you to ignore the waitstaff taking a hookah break in the next booth.

Celebrity: 2 Chainz

With double-parked SUVs and tight one-ways all around, parking near Peters Street will have you reaching for a painkiller. Esco, from Grammy-winning rapper 2 Chainz, tries to make it all worth the trouble, but it ultimately falls short. It doesn’t matter how nice the waitress is or how well the bartender behind you sings Fantasia’s “When I See U” when tough calamari and bland mac-and-cheese egg rolls hit the table. The Cajun salmon and garlic mashed potatoes are pretty good, but we haven’t had broccoli that mushy since daycare. And if we’re keeping it a buck, sipping $15 cocktails from plastic cups doesn’t help our headache, either.

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