Meet 19 LGBTQ foodies cooking up Atlanta’s next great meal

Living well is the best revenge to all those naysayers who are really just envious that you live in Atlanta. One of the reasons is our bevy of local eateries, from hip to happening to haute cuisine. 

Of course, queer chefs and LGBTQ restaurateurs are on the frontlines of those dining options, so in this week’s special edition, photographer Russ Youngblood met 19 people at 10 places that you absolutely must try or revisit if they’re not already on your queer agenda.

Keep scrolling to see their portraits and find out what they have to say about themselves, their eateries, their customers and what you can expect.

Photos by Russ Youngblood

 

 

Leslie Cohen

Firepit Pizza Tavern

519 Memorial Dr SE

firepitatl.com

Delicious. Welcoming. Hip.

Favorite Thing:

Bringing a community together and building lasting relationships through our incredible dining experience and delicious food.

Quote-Unquote:

“I am proud to say Firepit is a restaurant that opens its doors to everyone. I truly appreciate all the support that the LGBT community has given me.”

 

Juan & Gee Smalls

Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar

3721 Main St, College Park

virgilsgullahkitchen.com

Loving. Affirming. Fun.

Favorite Thing:

Meeting new people and introducing them to the oldest black culture in America, Gullah - Geechee.

 

Maureen Kalmanson

Campagnolo, Henry’s

980 Piedmont Ave NE

campagnoloatl.com

132 10th St NE

henrysatl.com

Diners Feel:

Happy, Appreciated, Recognized

Favorite Thing:

Being a part of the guest experience and the fun derived from making people happy. 

Quote-Unquote:

“A heartfelt thank you to the very supportive LGBTQ community. Your continuing support of Henry’s and Campagnolo is a huge part of our success, and we are most grateful.”

 

Carlton Brown

Occasional Occasions By Carlton 

occasionaloccasionscatering.com

404-963-6857

Customers Are:

Pleasantly Surprised. Relieved. Happy.

Favorite Thing:

Interacting with the guests during the event. It’s rewarding to see how guests respond to our attentiveness and creativity.

Quote-Unquote:

“We are the premier LGBT caterer in Atlanta with gorgeous decor presentations, customer service, creative menu options and our attention to detail at a cost friendly price point. We understand the desires and needs of our community, and we deliver every time.”

 

Oscar Alfredo Valdivieso

Las Margaritas

1842 Cheshire Bridge Road

lasmargaritasmidtown.com

Ultimate. Authentic. Bienvenidos.

Favorite Things:

Touching so many people adding diversity to Atlanta by mixing cultures and communities, making all feel welcome. We also pride ourselves in being able to give back to our community, sponsoring different groups. This is not just our business, but it’s our passion to serve you and have such an eclectic clientele.

Quote-Unquote:

“Be you! Be proud! Lead, don’t follow! You're not just a member of the LGBTQ community. You're one of the most beautiful unique magical unicorns, so make happiness a priority in your life and share this happiness with all the humans around you.”

 

Walt Bilinski & Steve Mitchell

No Mas! Cantina

180 Walker St. SW

nomascantina.com

Authentic. Colorful. Unique.

Favorite Things:

Engaging with our clients, working with our diverse staff and traveling to see indigenous artisans in Mexico who make the hand crafted art we curate.

Quote-Unquote:

“We welcome you to visit us in Castleberry Hill. You will feel comfortable and at home. In fact, you may even feel like you are in Mexico!”

 

Kathleen McQueen and Michele Tompkins

Urban Foodie Feed Store

3841 E Main St, College Park

urbanfoodie-eats.com/

Homey. Friendly. Pleased. 

Kathleen’s Favorite Thing:

People. There's always a running joke that I'm the unofficial mayor of College Park. I've always learned from everyone, every walk of life.

Quote-Unquote:

“As business owners we work hard to get ourselves known. Having the support of the LGBTQ community is an express train to that. We are very loyal and word of mouth advertisers, so that's the most appreciative way we can say thank you.”

 

Troy Meyers, Sebastian Romano, David Barton

Guac y Margys

661 Auburn Ave NE #120

Atlanta, GA 30312

(On the Atlanta BeltLine)

guacymargys.com

Lively. Spirited. Fun.

Favorite Thing:

The GyM FaM! Our staff plus all of the people who make Guac y Margys possible, including our regulars.

Quote-Unquote:

“Thank you to the LGBTQ community in Atlanta for supporting this crazy dream of ours. We welcome and love everyone, and we’re proud that our GyM FaM and guests reflect that.”

 

Johnny Martinez and Brandon Ley

Joystick Gamebar, Georgia Beer Garden

427 Edgewood Ave SE

joystickgamebar.com

420 Edgewood Ave SE

georgiabeergarden.com

Joystick:

Surprising. Unique. Absolutely Fabulous.

Georgia Beer Garden:

Radically inclusive. Laidback. Delicious.

Favorite Things:

Seeing the look on the faces of our guests when they realize we have both amazing cocktails and video games at Joystick. Wearing our politics on our sleeve and being a gathering place for a multitude of different groups at Georgia Beer Garden.

Quote-Unquote:

Joystick Says: “Get some friends who don't look like you and stop getting the same haircut as your friends. 

GBG Says: "If you like Atlanta United, be sure to reach out to the All Stripes - United's only LGBTQ+ supporter's group."

 

Missy & Kristin Koefod

The James Room

661 Auburn Ave NE

thejamesroom.com

 

Happy. Interesting. Delicious.

Missy’s Favorite Thing:

Working with my wife is by far my favorite thing about running our businesses. We are so lucky to get to work together!

Quote-Unquote:

“I moved here 20 years ago from Michigan and was so in awe what a warm and welcoming Atlanta environment was and still is for LGBTQIA+ people. I still feel very lucky to live in a place where I don't even have to think about the fact that I am an LGBTQ biz owner because it is so accepted here. I wish everyone got to live work and play in such a welcoming and open environment.”

All photos by Russ Youngblood. This feature originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the full issue online here:

Pick up a new edition of Q each week at queer and LGBTQ-friendly venues around town.