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Atlanta: Soul Food on a College Budget

It’s back to School Daze in Atlanta, and for college students in the Atlanta University Center (AUC) that means plenty of block parties, step shows and olive branch socializing (it’s an AU thing) with fellow collegiate brothers and sisters. Savor the good times while you can because it’s all fun and games until that refund check money starts dwindling and you feel home sick. For those of you who have yet to master the art of throwing down a good Sunday dinner on a budget or are looking for a break from the cafeteria meal plan, this piece is for you — the Parlour Fam has your back, young ATLiens. Thank us later for the southern hospitality, this ought to hold you down until you get back to big momma’s house for dinner, holiday hugs and family love. Check out Parlour’s picks on cheap, tasty eats in Atlanta:

The Busy Bee Café
810 Martin Luther King Junior Drive Southwest  Atlanta, GA 30314. (404) 525-9212

Conveniently located mere blocks from good old Club Woody, aka the AUC library, the Busy Bee Café quaint, family-owned and operated establishment has been serving and stuffing students with home-made goodness since 1947. The vittles are so delicious that even after graduating alumni stop in for lunch now and then.

Don’t be surprised if you happen to see Mayor Kasim Reed sitting in booth across from you along with any local celebrities. True to its name this café stays busy, so if you’re between classes, call in your order ahead of time because you will have a small, but well worth it, wait.

Chantrelle’s Restaurant
646 Evans Street, SW, Atlanta, GA 30310. (404) 758-0909

A block or two from the West End and tucked away on the side street is where you will find Chantrelle’s, a neighborhood gem. A menu filled with healthy southern cuisine gives this restaurant an upper hand and though I gave up meat long ago, I still remember the baked rosemary chicken and creamed spinach. Word on the street is this spot is a favorite of Young Jeezy’s.

The Beautiful Restaurant
2260 Cascade Road Atlanta, GA 30311. (404) 752-5931

Nestled in the historic Cascade Heights neighborhood, home to many of Atlanta’s original black socialites, The Beautiful is best known for their amazing breakfast spread. However, for the college student that stays up late cramming, when hunger strikes after the cafeteria has shut down, the doors of this establishment are open to you until 11 p.m. And since some of you will be packing on the freshman 15 – though you can fight it with weekly trips to the gym, cute boys are there too! – you might as well make them count because this real food will feed your soul.

Walter’s Express Soulfood
394 Cleveland Avenue, SW, Atlanta, GA 30315. (404) 761-0001

It’s no easy feat to win every time, ask Michael Phelps. But when you talk about soul food that is consistently excellent, no matter when you wander in, Walter’s Express Soulfood has undoubtedly earned its rightful place on the culinary dream team. And if you happen to catch their coveted steamed steak, which is only available on select Sunday’s, consider yourself lucky and order a plate because it is guaranteed to sell out within hours. There is plenty of other deliciousness to choose from too so it doesn’t really matter what you order because at Walter’s, all they do is win.

Big Daddy’s Café
2284 Cascade Road Atlanta, GA 30311. (404) 758-4000

Big Daddy’s Café has you covered for breakfast, lunch and dinner with big portions that will carry you, and your microwave, a long way. There’s nothing like good food that reheats well and if you’ve got a car or a roommate that drives, you are in business. The only problem left to decide is between Big Daddy’s and their neighbor, The Beautiful and that’s a toughie.

Last 5 posts by Talia Witherspoon