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Welcome To College Park, Where Black-Owned Restaurants Are Thriving

By Parker Diakite

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Welcome to College Park, GA, where across the county, black-owned businesses are doing more than surviving: they’re popping up and thriving.

A recent study conducted by the small business financing company Guidant Financial and the online credit marketplace LendingClub Corporation found that Black businesses grew by more than 400% in 2018 compared to 2017.

In another report, minority-owned restaurant businesses are steadily on the rise with more recent data revealing Black-American-owned restaurants shot to 49 percent since 2007.  

And there’s one area in particular where these studies intersect.

Located on the southern boundary of the city of Atlanta in College Park, is a trio of Black-owned restaurants on Main Street creating what Atlanta Magazine calls “the newest hotspot for thriving Black-owned restaurants.”

According to the publication, Real Milk & Honey, an all-day brunch spot,  Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar, serving fried oysters, jam up wings, and more,  and Soul Crab ATL, has transformed the once-quiet strip into an “Instagram-ready destination.”

Instagram| @virgilsgullahkitchen

It’s a sight that resident Thomas Nichols thought he would never see. 

“I been in that area since the 60s …there were no Black-owned eateries or restaurants,” he stated.  “I welcome the change and glad to hear Black ownership in the area.”

The restaurant owners attribute their success to various factors, including community enthusiasm and the fact that people are looking for multiple dining options in close proximity.

Beyond College Park’s Trio

A report titled Black Dollars Matter: The Sales Impact of Black Consumers revealed that while African-Americans make up just 14% of the population, we are responsible for approximately $1.2 trillion in purchases annually. 

In other words, there’s enough money to go around.

Other Black-owned Restaurants To Support In College Park

Urban Foodie Feed Store – Since 2003, the restaurant has provided a twist on southern cuisine with global influences.

The Corner Grille Casual – a brick-walled grill serving Cajun takes on American favorites, including shrimp n’ grits and Cajun seafood pasta.

Nouveau Restaurant & Bar – a lively casual dining experience combining simple and American fare.

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