College Park Georgia Main Street’s Restaurant Opening: Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar

a rose made of sweetgrass, next to Virgil’s cocktail menu

“Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar is bound to become a celebrated eatery in the Atlanta metropolitan area. On Friday June 21, the same night as the summer solstice, Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar opened its doors with a bar only option. They were scheduled to open their kitchen the following day. The first thing I noticed was the ambiance. Dark oak wood tables, bar top and trim throughout the entire restaurant. Drop lighting fixtures that seemed to float above the bar like fireflies in the night. And a wait staff that was engaged, attentive, and seemingly enthusiastic about working at one of the newest locations springing up along a vibrant College Park, Georgia Main Street.

wall dedicated to the late Virgil F. Smalls

Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar is owned and operated by co-founders of The Gentlemen’s Foundation, Juan and Gee Smalls. Gee shared that he was born in Prince George’s County, Maryland but only lived there until he was 3 months, when he was then moved to Charleston South Carolina. Charleston is where he spent his early life immersed in Gullah culture. Juan and Gee decided to open a restaurant inspired by the Gullah recipes that Gee had experienced since childhood. Gee and Juan named the restaurant after Gee’s late father Virgil F. Smalls. Juan said he believes Gee’s late father Virgil is helping to guide their steps and feels he is delighted that the two named the restaurant after him.

fried oysters and fries

Virgil’s cocktail menu includes a great variety of drink options. Juan was kind enough to show us their food menu Friday night. After seeing the menu and not that we needed much convincing, the following day we went back to experience the food. Those dishes seemed to be made with the ancestors on the backs of those working in Virgil’s kitchen. I ordered oysters fried hard, fries, red rice, and greens. The seasonings, texture, and temperature all came together to taste like an ode to Gullah cuisine. I highly recommend adding Virgil’s to your places to dine list.

Ali’a of VisitBlackHistory.com talking with Virgil’s co-owner, Juan

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