Restaurant brings unique taste of the coast to metro Atlanta

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We all know that Metro Atlanta is a true melting pot, which means it’s easy to find restaurants catering to just about every style of cuisine. But folks looking for an authentic taste of the coast – specifically the Gullah and Geechee cultures of South Carolina and Georgia – haven’t had many local options.

That has now changed, thanks to Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar, a brand-new restaurant in College Park owned by Juan and Gee Smalls. The restaurant is named after Gee’s late father, and features a menu described by the owners as “Gullah Geechee-inspired soul food” created from family recipes. 

So…what exactly is Gullah Geechee cuisine and culture?  It derives from the enslaved Africans who were brought to the South Carolina and Georgia coasts, and who developed a unique language and culture that’s still kept alive in the region today. 

You can read more about the history of the Gullah Geechee people on the website of Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission.

Now…to the food. Expect a lot of rice-based dishes (including red rice and okra and rice) and seafood, much of which is sourced from the Gullah Geechee region. 

Menu items include fried oysters, fried okra, and shrimp & crab gravy.               

Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar is located at 3721 Main Street in College Park. 

The restaurant is currently open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays, and 3 p.m. to midnight on Sundays.