Mary Mac’s- the early days
Growing up in a restaurant was quite an interesting experience. And as this was happening in the sixties, my childhood was obviously very unconventional.. Most families in my neighborhood were the typical 1960’s family- dad went to work, mom stayed home, etc.
So to have both parents working was not the “norm.”
But, the women in my family were never “normal” women.They had worked for generations due to many different circumstances so I always thought women worked.
When Mother bought Mary Mac’s in the 60’s, the restaurant sat 50 people. I do not know how many she served in those first years but as business grew and she continued to take over the next shop front in the building on Ponce de Leon (there were 3 or 4 others), the restaurant grew to 375 seats and she was serving 2000 meals a day at the height of business! That’s a lot of turnip greens and fried chicken.
Back to those early sixties. Remember, this was the South and segregation was a major issue in Atlanta. Sit ins were happening in other restaurants. In what I feel was one of my mother’s most wonderful and courageous business decisions, she instructed her waitresses that they would serve African Americans. As she said, “their money is the same color.” She proceeded to tell them that if they had a problem with this then they did not stay at Mary Mac’s.
This set a foundation for Mom’s “dining room” being open to all which created a fascinating place for me to grow up and experience life.