If you’ve watched Kandi Burruss’ new The Real Housewives of Atlanta spinoff, Kandi & the Gang, then you’re probably dying to visit the restaurant in person and see if the cast shenanigans are anything close to what’s on the show.
I am here to tell you from firsthand experience, that it is and all for good reason. From the moment you enter the doors of the southern eatery on Peters Street in Atlanta, you’re entertained.
On the show, viewers are introduced to the colorful and sometimes not the most professional staff of the five-year-old venture from Burruss.
The concept of the restaurant was birthed from Burruss’ own family tradition of cooking, with mouth-watering generational soul food recipes at the center. The menu has everything you expect from in a soul food joint: fried chicken, grits, macaroni and cheese, corned bread, sweet tea, and more. There are also lighter options on the menu for those who don’t want something as hearty, such as salmon and lollipop lamb chops. All of the menu items are named after a beloved member of the now-famous family, such as Riley’s Shrimp & Grits after Burruss’ eldest daughter, and Aunt Sharon’s Fried Chicken after Burruss’ aunt and one of the three faces of OLG.
On the show, fans have become familiar with the staff and Burruss has kept many of them around, bad reviews and all, because of their loyalty to the business
There’s Shawndreca the hostess who can run the restaurant with her eyes closed but doesn’t have the best rapport with customers, Dom’Unique the bartender/professional dancer who admittedly takes extended leaves of absence to tour with hip hop artists like Rick Ross, Brandon the manager who was caught on camera kissing his bartender/girlfriend Dom’Unique, Brain the former bartender turned server who has his own line of soul food-inspired egg rolls that he promotes and keeps customers laughing with his wit and wigs, Torrin the event planner, Chef Melvin the Kitchen Manager/Burruss’ cousin and godson, and Patrick the OLG Parking lot manager who is also Burruss’ cousin. Much of the cast from the show was working the day we stopped in. And as my sister put it, it’s great to see that the cast is their real staff who performs real work and it’s not contrived for the show.
Unlike on the show, we didn’t have to wait three hours in line. We arrived around 1 pm on a Thursday and were instantly seated and placed our order within 10 minutes. The place was packed but there’s plenty of room as there are upstairs and downstairs seating in the dining room areas. There is no hostess downstairs, however, which is something I suggest is considered as there’s a downstairs entrance.
Brandon was one of our contacts, and we were seated and served by Brian to our delight. Sans his wig, Brian came with a smile, bedazzled denim jacket and matching hat, and french tips on his nails. He let us know immediately that the restaurant wouldn’t have any fried devilled eggs or salmon bites ready until 1:30, which were the two items we had scouted. There was also no Rosé, which is my personal wine choice. But Brian was great at providing drink options. My sister and friend had the spike sweet tea, while I opted for the Pinot Grigio.
Thankfully, they were ready before the estimated time and we ordered those in addition to the OLG wings. Instead of wingdings, they served us four whole wings with their special sauce. The sauce was great, with hints of hot sauces, spicy seasonings, and maybe barbecue sauce.
The salmon bites were also great and well seasoned, and the portion was large enough for the three of us to share. It was my first time having fried deviled eggs and they were quite tasty though I am not a fan of bacon bits sprinkled across any and everything and could have done without. Otherwise, the appetizers were worth it, and actually filling.
For the entrees, I had the lamb chops with mashed potatoes and collard greens, my sister had the fried chicken and french toast, while my friend had the salmon with mac and cheese and grits. All entrees also came with a side of corned bread. I must say, the lamb chops were some of the best I’ve had and it shocked me due to it being a soul food restaurant. Typically at soul food restaurants, you stick with the basics: mac and cheese and anything fried. But the lamb chops were highly recommended by Brian and were topped with a honey soy glaze that gave both a sweet and savory flavor. They were tender and meaty, which is more than I could ask for.
Brian was attentive, constantly checking in on us, making sure were satisfied. He was also personable, told us about his expanding egg roll business (which is now available on Door Dash by the way for all in Atlanta), and was kind enough to take pictures with anyone who asked.
We also got a peek at Chef Melvin, the Director of Operations Phillip, and the lovely Aunt Nora who was at the hostess stand when we were leaving.
Final rating - B+
The ambiance of the restaurant is inviting and familiar. It definitely feels like a home away from home with great food. To be transparent, I was expecting my visit to go a lot differently. Google reviews on the food and service are mixed. And with the addition of the reality series, I assumed things could have been a bit more chaotic with longer waits and subpar food. I was happily surprised to be proven wrong.
I’d definitely return, and if I lived in Atlanta, OLG would definitely be a regular hangout spot. My only complaint was that my friend complained about her grits being a little too salty. The mixed cocktails were also not well received by my sister and friend. However, those are easy fixes.