Last week, one of the other editors and I traveled to Atlanta. While there, we got to dabble in many southern dishes, but the restaurant that stands out the most is Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint. Located at 200 Peachtree St NE, this southern gem is downtown and just a stone’s throw away from AmericasMart Atlanta.

Juke joints were created after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. They became a center for rural laborers to unwind after a hard day at work. They popped up all over the Southeast because Jim Crow laws forbade African-American workers from convening in white establishments. Juke joints were known for their rowdiness and their moonshine. Despite being frowned upon, they gave African-Americans a place to loosen up and eventually helped them gain a voice. One of the most influential aspects of these southern watering holes was their music. Ragtime and dance music of the late nineteenth century began in these establishments. Soon after that, the blues, barrel house, and the slow drag dance music of the rural south began to emerge. Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint brings the city a place to relax while enjoying live entertainment and exceptional cuisine.

The music-centric restaurant also features a wooden dance floor, stage for live music, and state-of-the-art video screen for guests' entertainment. It’s spacious private dining room offers guests a view of the stage and live musical performances.

The soul food offerings at Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint are both vast and delicious. Guests are encouraged to start their dinner with Crawfish Bruschetta, Crispy Crawfish Tails, or one of the other southern appetizers. The Crawfish Bruschetta is flavorful crawfish stew served on thick herb butter toast. Three slowly smoked meats are offered; wings, pulled pork, and a St. Louis pork rib rack. A number of other evening plates can also be found on the menu. Try the Jambalaya Pasta for a spicy kick or the Shrimp and Grits for a hearty, flavorful dish. Whatever you order, make certain you come hungry (servings are big) and be certain to try the Seafood Gumbo.