I am always looking for the next restaurant that threatens to awaken my taste buds. A few weeks ago a friend invited me out to Sweet Georgias Juke Joint located in the heart of downtown Atlanta-a city filled with a deep culture of good food, people and music. When I think of “Juke Joint”..my mind harkens back to the early 1900s, a time when folks wore well tailored suits and sat around sipping sweet tea while enjoying the simple things in life.
Upon entering the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was a center stage filled with artists performing songs from the 1940s-70s, painted murals depicting the southern culture, the smell of southern food, and the laughter of patrons as they danced the night away.
After taking in the scenery , I reviewed the menu and ordered the Peach Glazed Salmon with Garlic Potatoes. You can choose to either have it grilled or blackened. I went with grilled! I like my salmon to be flaky and tender. I must say, I enjoyed. Another sweet treat that grab my attention was the mason jars: cold, ice beverages served in mason jars. It is just something different about drinking beverages out of a mason jar.
I look forward to returning very soon to try their Shrimp & Grits dish.
The entire experience made me feel at home. It reminded me of my childhood growing up in southern Georgia. It took me back to the moments when I stood in my grandmother’s kitchen watching her as she hurried to prepare Sunday dinner for immediate family and closest friends. She would always have Aretha Franklin or Tina Turner playing in a distance.
My experience at Sweet Georgias Juke Joint taught me that amongst the hustle and bustle of life, it is important to slow things down and enjoy the simple things that it has to offer. I was pretty impressed by the music, food and the people that I wanted more. I reached out to the owners to gain insight on what inspired Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint and this is what they had to say.
Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint is the culmination of a deep history of music, food, drink and socializing in the South. Located in the former Macy’s building, in the heart of downtown Atlanta at the iconic 200 Peachtree address, Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint brings the city a place to relax while enjoying live entertainment and exceptional cuisine. Historically, juke joints originated in the rural outskirts of many southern towns to give African American communities a place to kick back and unwind after a long week of work. Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint offers a dining and musical entertainment experience in downtown Atlanta, representing diverse culture, featuring music across all genres and popular hits throughout American history. An imaginative menu makes Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint a staple in Atlanta’s downtown restaurant scene, and the allure of traditional juke joints is showcased in the restaurant’s design.
The design of Juke Joint is the modern day incarnation of the environment that gave birth to the “raucous and raunchy” music known as “boogie-woogie.” The tadpole and lily-pad inspired design pays homage to the often low-lying wetlands where historic juke joints once stood. The décor includes a nostalgic wall of period photos, historic artifacts, and walnut wood accents and cabinetry. Local artist Stacy Brown designed the 18-foot custom mural which hangs in the main dining room.
What is your signature dish and why that particular dish?
There are so many favorite dishes at the Juke Joint. We have people that come in every week and know what they are ordering before they walk in the door. One of our best sellers and favorites is the Juke Joint Fried Chicken, which comes with two of our signature sides (Juke Joint recommendation: tried the Southern Mac + Cheese and the Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey). Another favorite is the Shrimp & Grits, made with our signature jumbo sautéed shrimp and parmesan cheese grits, topped with tomatoes and crispy Vidalia onions.
What role does Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint play in the culture of Atlanta?
The Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint concept celebrates a time when life was slower and sweeter, when music and food was at the heart of social gatherings. Inspiration for the restaurant came from a centuries-old word, yuka, derived from a West African word that means to make noise. African Americans brought this notion with them to the Old South and created juke houses, house-taverns established for fun and music. Juke Joint strives to capture some of the merriment of those old juke houses and has been created especially as a place for you to sit back, relax, and have some fun.
Through strategic community involvement and charitable giving, Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint prioritizes actively getting involved in order to have a positive impact on the community. Annually, they donate tens of thousands of dollars and time to local programs that focus on social, economic, environmental and educational issues. All of the programs they support instill a sense of hope in those they touch while using creative problem solving to instigate change.
Finally, Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint is devoted to celebrating the music culture of Atlanta. It is a gathering place. A place where people can come and enjoy good food and libations while listening to the smooth, relaxing sounds of a jazz band (almost at all times of the day). The music-centric restaurant also features a wood dance floor, stage for live music, and state-of-the-art video screen for guests’ entertainment. Juke Joint’s spacious private dining room offers guests a VIP view of the stage and live musical performances, and is the perfect location for any type of special event.
If you want to learn more or want to travel back in time, visit Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint.
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