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Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta’

Ever been to a drive-in restaurant that had a multi-level parking garage? If you answer yes that must mean you’ve visited The Varsity in Atlanta GA – the world’s largest drive-in restaurant. According to their website:

“Our Downtown Atlanta location is on more than two acres and can accommodate 600 cars and over 800 people inside. On days when the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets are playing a home game, over 30,000 people visit The Varsity.”

Yikes!

The Varsity Drive In Exterior(I’ve got a photo of myself in front of this very entrance, from 1998 – if I can find it I promise to post it!)

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Though we were not dressed to fit in with the church crowd, we absolutely loved our Sunday dinner at Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta GA. Since 1945 folks in these parts have enjoyed the southern cooking and hospitality at this landmark restaurant. And so did we!

Mary Mac's Tea Room Neon Sign Atlanta GA(Their cool neon sign didn’t hurt their chances of making it on the RetroRoadmap either!)

I was excited to visit Mary Macs as I have loved most “southern cookin'” that I’ve had (mmm biscuits, nom) and it was a good opportunity for me to try some of the more unusual things that you don’t get at restaurants up north. And the “Tea Room” name? According to their website:

Mary Mac’s Tea Room doors first opened in 1945 when Mary McKenzie decided to use her good Southern cooking to make money in the tough post-World War II days. In those days, a woman  couldn’t just open up a restaurant, so many female proprietors used the more genteel Southern name of “Tea Room.”

Mary Mac's Tea Room Midtown Atlanta 1945

The restaurant is no longer owned by Mary Mac (was she all dressed in black? With silver buttons down her back?) but is flourishing under the ownership of  John Ferrell who was hand picked by the last owner to take over the business. And by the crowds we encountered he’s doing it right!

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One of the best breakfasts we had on our Retro Road Trip was at The Silver Skillet in Atlanta GA. Homemade biscuits and country ham now, please!

The Silver Skillet Atlanta GA Restaurant Exterior

Opened in 1956 and purchased in 1967 by George Decker, the restaurant is still family owned and operated by his daughter Teresa and her husband Jeff. Here’s a photo of what the Silver Skillet looked like some years ago from Flickr pal Julie Wilson.

As you can see from our photo below they have not really changed the decor in all those years – which is a wise move! Not only because it’s RetroRoadmap Worthy but their “period decor” has made them a location for movies, commercials, videos, and print ads.

Dining Room Silver Skillet Atlanta GAWe had no idea we were in the midst of such fame when we sat down at our boomerang Formica table, but later learned that Diners Drive-ins and Dives had stopped by the Silver Skillet to sample their biscuits and country ham (two of my fave things!) –

You can even see glimpses of our seasoned and sassy waitress in the DDD video – I swear she called RetroRoadhusband hon, sweetie, darling more than I do! Ah, those Southern belles.

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Here are some quick tips for vintage and retro roadmap worthy places in Atlanta GA – we wish we could’ve spent more time with ’em – but check them out for us next time you’re in the area!

The Majestic Diner
The interior of the Majestic has been recently re-done and the food was standard, but no one can deny the allure of their wonderful vintage neon signage and chasing lightbulbs.
Majestic "Diner" Neon Signs - Atlanta GA
The Majestic “diner” has been serving “Food That Pleases” since 1929, and is open 24 hours a day, every day, ‘cept for closing on Christmas eve. They reopen the day after Xmas at 6am.

Majestic Diner
1031 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 875-0276

Starlight Six Drive-In Movie Theatre
The Starlight Six is Atlanta’s only remaining drive in movie theatre and I’m grateful to the folks at Drive-Ins.com for providing the background on The Starlight.

Starlight Six Drive In Theatre Sign Atlanta GAIf it weren’t for them we would not know that the Starlight opened in 1949 as a single screen DI and stayed that way ’til the 80’s when it went  to a 4, then a 6 screen outdoor cinema. As you can read on the marquee they have flea markets during the weekend days.

Starlight Six Drive In Movie Theatre
2000 Moreland Avenue Southeast
Atlanta, GA 30316-3250
(404) 635-1087

The Fabulous Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre is in the heart of Atlanta and on the Register of Historic Places.

Fox Theatre Marquee Atlanta GABuilt in the pre-crash 1920’s the 4000+ seat Fox has managed to survive in part because of the citizens of Atlanta who rallied to save it from demolition in the 1970’s.
The Fox Theatre and My Keds Atlanta GA
I encourage you to read the interesting history of this classic venue here on their website or on the Fox Theatre’s Wikipedia page. Even if you don’t read a word of it, do yourself a favor and check out the Fox’s schedule if you’re ever in the area and see a show at this grand old theatre.

The Fox Theatre
660 Peachtree Street Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 881-2100

Just because we didn’t get to spend enough time in Vintage Atlanta doesn’t mean you can’t – now that we’ve given you a head start you can plan your fun around these great old time places! And of course we’ve added them to the RetroRoadmap to make it easy peasy to find ’em next time you’re in ‘lanta.

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As we make plans for our retro road trip to Austin TX next month I can’t help but compare the process to what it used to be waaaay back in the 90’s when I took my first road trips out of the North East. Books, maps, guides and payphones have been replaced by the internet, GPS and social networking, and I think it makes the process even more fun!

Planning a Retro Roadtrip - Old SchoolI’ll still be referring to my books, but I also want to take advantage of the internet – where I can shout out “Does anyone know of a good place to eat in Jackson MS?” and perhaps I’ll get a local person who will give a recommendation that I might not have been able to find with the limited resources of days of yore.

That being said, anyone know of a good hotel/ motel /restaurant / vintage business / classic sign / old theater / cocktail lounge / drive in / dive bar / BBQ joint / ice cream stand / bakery / roller skating rink / diner / souvenir stand / tourist trap / roadside attraction that we should not miss on our journey?

How about a bologna factory?! We’re pretty much game for anything along our route!

Seltzer's Lebanon Bologna Palmyra PA 1996

Here is the plan so far:

We’ll be heading from PA to Austin via 81 /77 / 85 with a stop in Atlanta so Retro Roadhusband can play some gigs, and we can eat at The Varsity and Mary Mac’s Tea Room.

From Atlanta we’ll head through Birmingham AL and Jackson MS – neither of which state is represented on the Retro Roadmap! Whaddaya got?

We go south from Jackson, taking the coastal route west, with Baton Rouge LA and Houston TX being the biggest dots on the map before we head to Austin, where we’ll be for a few days for the SXSW music convention. (While we’ll be oh-so-close to New Orleans, I want to save that for its very own trip later this year)

Then when we leave Austin we’ll be hitting such high points as Graceland in Memphis, Hatch Show Prints in Nashville, Wigwam Village #2, The American Sign Museum and the home of Fiestaware, before we reluctantly swing east across PA to head home.

While we’ve got these pins in our map already please let us know if there are any places to eat, visit, photo, people we should meet, regional foods to eat, souvenirs to buy along the way. If we can cram it into this trip we’ll do it. And if we don’t get it all done, that means we need to take another trip!

I look forward to any suggestions that you have, and promise to share the trip with “y’all” while we’re on the road and when we return.

Thank You in advance,

Mod Betty & RetroRoadhusband

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