Mary Mac’s Tea Room will reopen under new ownership on November 2, serving up its “meat and three” traditional Southern fare for to-go only initially. The iconic restaurant’s dining room will welcome guests again starting November 9. Mary Mac’s has been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Harold Martin, Jr., a local businessman and restaurant operator who in recent years acquired the Taco Mac chain and acts as the company’s CEO, now owns Mary Mac’s, according to a press release Wednesday. John Ferrell was the previous owner of 26 years. The restaurant turns 75 on November 3.
“I’ve been eating at Mary Mac’s for over 20 years, ever since I moved to Atlanta,” Martin said in the release. “As a longtime customer, I understand what makes Mary Mac’s special, and I look forward to working with our team members to maintain those traditions. Southern food represents family, and Mary Mac’s always makes you feel like family. Mary Mac’s traditions are the fabric of what Atlanta was built on; a place where we survive the test of time, where all are welcomed with open arms, and where each guest feels at home each time they return. We’ll be using the same recipes that Mary Mac’s has been using for decades and offering the same made-from-scratch dishes guests know and love, served up by the same staff who have become a part of our families over the years.”
In addition to Martin, the new ownership group will include Bryan Rand as well as Michael Bodnar and John Michael Bodnar. Day-to-day operations will be led by Chad Reynolds, who will serve as Director of Operations. The new ownership group plans to retain the entire staff of over 100 team members. “Sadly, Mr. Martin will reopen the restaurant without his favorite server, Ms. Ellen, who initially welcomed him to Mary Mac’s over 20 years ago and recently passed away,” according to the release. “As a tribute to Ms. Ellen, one of the six dining rooms at Mary Mac’s will be renamed ‘Ms. Ellen’s Room’ in her honor.”
Mary Mac’s opened in 1945 in the aftermath of World War II near Peachtree Street on Ponce de Leon Avenue. At the time, it was one of 16 tearooms in Atlanta and seated 75 guests. While the menu will remain largely unchanged (including the complimentary cup of pot likker and cornbread muffin served to each first-time diner), the restaurant will reopen with “rigorous” COVID-19 safety precautions. Additionally, Mary Mac’s will introduce online ordering and curbside pick-up.