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Marcus Samuelsson’s First Atlanta Restaurant Serves Up a New Spin on Southern Comfort

Marcus Bar & Grille is the chef's celebration of comfort food.

Everything Wings Andrew Thomas Lee

Marcus Samuelsson is becoming more prolific by the day.

The chef just opened his first restaurant in Atlanta, Marcus Bar & Grille, only a few months after he debuted Hav & Mar, his first New York City restaurant in more than decade—and he’s slated to open at least one more project this year.

“Atlanta is a world city that people know throughout the world for its great entertainment and culture,” the chef told Eater Atlanta. “I think it’s great that diners are super passionate about their city. We as chefs have to really respect that. I know that I do.”

Hannah's Brisket Over Fries
Hannah’s Brisket Over Fries Andrew Thomas Lee

Down in Georgia, Marcus Bar & Grille is serving up southern comfort food with flavors that Samuelsson has become known for. And while it’s his name on the sign out front, Hannah Young is the executive chef helming the kitchen. She and Samuelsson had worked together at events in the past, and Young had cooked at the restaurant that formerly occupied the Marcus Bar & Grille space. Alongside her, the new spot’s team is majority female, and the sous chefs are all women of color.

“With Harlem and Red Rooster, we were really focused on putting Black and Brown chefs in hospitality in leadership positions,” Samuelsson said. “I know that that was something that was important and meaningful for Hannah.”

Young had a hand in crafting the menu, too. Her love of barbecue resulted in dishes like smoked beef brisket over fries and dry-rubbed pork ribs with berbere barbecue sauce. Other updated classics include fried chicken and cornbread waffles with chili butter, deviled eggs with chicken cracklings, and shrimp and grits with chorizo gumbo. Pescatarians need not worry, though: Samuelsson’s Old Bay crab crakes make an appearance, as do a shrimp ceviche appetizer and a miso striped bass entrée.

Shrimp ceviche
Shrimp ceviche Andrew Thomas Lee

The beverage program, meanwhile, is being led by Isaiah Kelsey, who’s dreamed up cocktails like All the Smoke (mezcal, pineapple, jalapeno, lime) and Southern Belle (vodka, citrus, elderflower, prosecco). Plus, the by-the-glass wine list and beer options are plentiful, with a number of local brews available.

“This is about joy and celebration and people coming to the restaurant for a great time,” Samuelsson said. “The menu’s a celebration around comfort food.”

Click here to see all the photos of Marcus Bar & Grille.

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