Try these 5 Black-owned restaurants in Macon, GA

Black-owned businesses have long supported Macon’s economy and diverse food and dining scene.

Whether it’s a taste of Mercer Gold smothered over legendary wings, a vegan dish that looks like the meat it’s named after or fresh fish cooked to order from one of Bibb County’s first Black-owned restaurants, there’s plenty of offerings to tempt the palate.

You can eat at these restaurants anytime, but it’s especially important to highlight their menus to celebrate Black History Month in Middle Georgia.

Here are five Black-owned restaurants in Macon to get you started:

Ma Duke Southern Cookin’

Teresa Cohen, owner of Ma Duke Southern Cookin’, tosses garlic salt in a pan of turkey wings at the restaurant March 2. Jason Vorhees [email protected]

Known for her turkey wings sprinkled with her own special seasoning, a pinch of garlic salt and a dab of pepper and then cooked for an hour until golden brown, Teresa Cohen has been cooking since she 7 years old.

A Macon native, she was raised by her grandparents and learned to cook by helping her grandmother.

Cohen worked in restaurants for years before opening the former Creative Home Cooked Meals in Warner Robins in 2008. Two years later, she moved to Covington and opened a restaurant. But that didn’t work out.

About three years after returning to Macon, Cohen opened Ma Duke at 1530 Rocky Creek Road in August 2019. She’s overcome adversity, including losing her son, her business partner and struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Customers can expect a variety of Southern food offerings, including baked and fried chicken, meatloaf, Salisbury steak, beef tips, baked spaghetti, jerk oxtail, chitterlings, pig feet, neck bones and catfish along with a variety of vegetable dishes such as collards, lima beans and macaroni and cheese.

Ma Dukes Southern Cookin’ at 1530 Rocky Creek Drive in Macon. Jason Vorhees The Telegraph

Francar’s Buffalo Wings

Carl Fambro dips wings in Mercer Gold at Francar’s Buffalo Wings. Jason Vorhees [email protected]

A graduate of Central High School and Mercer University, Carl Fambro opened this popular restaurant known for its wings and nearly 40 different sauces at its original location on Log Cabin Drive in 1993.

About six years later, he moved the restaurant to 1365 Linden Ave. in Mercer Village.

Based on a suggestion from a student, Fambro created what has become the restaurant’s most popular sauce he calls Mercer Gold. This honey-mustard based sauce is a mixture of 16 ingredients, including black pepper.

Although Fambro branched out with other food offerings, including salads, seafood, sandwiches and burgers, his wings remain the restaurant’s mainstay.

Francar’s Buffalo Wings located at 1365 Linden Ave. in Macon. Jason Vorhees The Telegraph

Memaw’s at LG’s

Alfreda Lockett, center, daughter of Filmore Thomas cracks a smile after cutting the ribbon during a ceremony to dedicate Filmore Thomas Park in this 2016 Telegraph file photo. Jason Vorhees [email protected]

Carrying on the tradition of the late Alfreda “Memaw” Lockett with recipes passed down from generations, this thriving restaurant at 4254 Mumford Road is operated by her family.

Customers can expect the same Southern favorites, from oxtails to fried chicken to smothered pork chops, that have been served up since the restaurant first opened in 2014.

Lockett, who learned to cook from her mother, also earned a culinary degree from Helm’s College in Macon. She was one of the first Black students at the then all-girls Miller High School, graduating a year before court-ordered integration. Her late father, Filmore Thomas, was once known as the mayor of Bellevue.

Memaw’s At LG’s Restaurant located at 4254 Mumford Road in Macon. Jason Vorhees The Telegraph

Southern Vegan Soul Cafe

The Barbecue Bacon Mac Attack at Southern Vegan Soul Cafe. Jenna Eason [email protected]

What began as a desire for a healthier lifestyle for Jessica Mack has grown into a successful restaurant.

Mack started out cooking vegan dishes for her family, then selling baked vegan goods at pop-up markets and next got a food truck, the Gourmet Goody Box. A need for a commercial kitchen led her to open her restaurant initially within the Macon State Farmers Market before moving the restaurant to its current location at 3348 Vineville Ave.

Boasting meaty names like “fried chicken” and “pulled pork,” Mack’s vegan dishes are “all about spices and texture.” She often uses jackfruit with its stringy texture in her dishes such as her “Pull BBQ Quesadilla.”

Southern Vegan Soul Cafe located at 3348 Vineville Ave. in Macon. Jason Vorhees The Telegraph

Saleem’s Fish Supreme

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An employee removes a piece of whiting from a fryer at Saleem’s Fish Supreme. Jason Vorhees [email protected]

Everything is cooked fresh and made to order at this popular restaurant that was among the first Black-owned restaurants when it opened in its original location in 1978.

Offerings include whiting, shrimp, mullet, catfish, tilapia, catfish, trout, flounder with side choices of fries, coleslaw, okra, onion rings, hush puppies and potato salad.

Located at 2198 Pio Nono Ave., the restaurant is owned by Wadee’ah Saleem, who was among the first Black girls to attend Miller High School and was the first woman to work in the front of the mayor’s office for then-Mayor Ronnie Thompson.

She met Abdur Saleem, who also worked for the city, and they married. He opened Saleem’s Kosher Fried Fish & Sandwiches at 2196 Pio Nono Ave. The restaurant moved to its current location in the 1980s, and Abdur transferred ownership to Wadee’ah under the new name Saleem’s Fish Supreme. The couple also helped start a mosque in Macon.

Saleems Fish Supreme located at 2198 Pio Nono Ave. in Macon. Jason Vorhees The Telegraph

Telegraph archives were used to compile this report.

This story was originally published February 10, 2022 2:29 PM.

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