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Marcus Bar and Grille_fried chicken and cornbread waffle.jpg Andrew Thomas Lee

Chef Marcus Samuelsson opens his first restaurant in Atlanta

Marcus Bar and Grille is serving comfort food favorites cooked on a woodfired grill

Marcus Samuelsson — the celebrity chef behind Red Rooster in Harlem, regular fixture on television, and multi-time author — is expanding his restaurant empire.

Over the past decade, he’s opened restaurants in Newark, Montreal, Miami, and the Bahamas, and he’s also involved with several concepts across Scandinavia. In Nov. 2022, Samuelsson opened Hav and Mar, a seafood-focused restaurant in New York that draws inspiration from the two countries that shape his cultural identity: Ethiopia and Sweden.

On March 18, Samuelsson debuted his latest project: Marcus Bar and Grille in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

“Atlanta is a world-class metropolis of Black culture and a city I have long-loved through its music, film, arts and, of course, food,” Samuelsson said in a statement. “Being able to now join this community in Old Fourth Ward is an incredible honor.”

Marcus Bar and Grille takes over the space that was formerly occupied by Adele’s. The restaurant seats 120 people in the dining room and 40 more on the patio. There’s also a private dining room that seats 24.

The space is fun and quirky, with design elements pulled from local history and Atlanta culture. One wall is adorned with roller skates, and the exposed brick bar features shelves and record crates filled with old audio equipment. The private dining room is fashioned like a recording studio and is decorated with vintage art and albums covers.

Samuelsson chose Hannah Young, who previously cooked at Adele’s in Nashville, to serve as executive chef, and they worked together to create the menu. The culinary team is composed primarily of women, and the sous chefs are all women of color. They work in an open kitchen with a wood-fired grill and hearth and serve what the restaurant describes as “elevated comfort classics and ambitious signature dishes.”

The restaurant was initially open just for dinner, but then expanded to Saturday and Sunday brunch service in April.

The dinner menu is broken into shareables, salads, mains, “from the grille,” and sides. Shareables ($8 - $36) include oysters on the half shell, Old Bay crab cakes, shrimp ceviche and wings. Mains ($24 - $29) include fried chicken and a cornbread waffle, pan seared king salmon, miso striped bass, shrimp and grits, and a Carolina whole hog barbecue plate. King of the South ($78) serves two and combines rice and peas, grilled shrimp, barbecue brisket, fried chicken, beans and salsa verde.

The “from the grille” section ($24 - $38) features flame-kissed pork ribs, jerk cauliflower, and a 12-ounce ribeye with chimichurri and truffle butter. There’s also a smoked beef brisket served with smashed herb potatoes.

Stop in for brunch, and you’ll find a few holdovers from dinner. But the brunch menu ($8 - $28) adds lots of new items to the mix, including biscuits and dirty gravy, crab benedict, French toast, ribeye and eggs, and vegetable shakshuka.

General manager Isaiah Kelsey leads the drinks program, which is stocked with local beers, wines and creative cocktails, including a few zero-proof options.

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