The Gullah and Geechee is one of the oldest surviving communities of South Carolina, of the oldest surviving African-Americans culture in the USA. The initial plan was to open Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen and Bar in Midtown, but a change in plans brought, Gee and Juan Smalls to Main Street, Atlanta. They thrilled the crowds with the opportunity of scooping up rice-based recipes of famous James Island, where Gee was brought up by his father. The restaurant’s logo, too, holds the appearance of Gee’s father’s face in the blue mural.
Adding quaint charm to the overall theme of the restaurant is the menu, written in the cultural Creole language, but also literal enough to decipher. So if you read ‘shawk bites’ on the menu, it actually means real shark. The ‘poke’ fried, is made with pig and not cold tuna. The crab rice, too, is what it says i.e., pure and authentic. One bite of the food from Gee’s kitchen and you’ll regret not having been eating it for long.
Also, once you take a bite of the chuck-town chewy brownie, sweetened with light brown sugar and topped with pecans, powdered sugar, and served with caramel salted ice cream, you won’t be able to stop eating it.
Gullah and Geechee are descendants of West African and Central African people and have preserved their heritage more than any other US black Americans. They were imprisoned together as slaves on an isolated sea. This isolation brought about a great deal of interactions between different groups of different languages and settings. In time, a unified language, called Creole, was created as a common mode of interaction with each other. This union ultimately gave birth to the glorious cuisine of the Gullah Geechee people.
Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen and Bar have been named after Gee’s late father. It pays tribute to owners’ heritage and roots. All of the dishes here are a creation out of the Virgil Family recipes and are presented with great pride.
The restaurant is most known for its mouth-watering rice dishes paying homage to their ancestors who belonged to Sierra Leone and other rice-producing countries.
The mantra followed at Virgil’s is to maintain a space where people can enjoy great food, top-notch service, and a dining experience filled with love by the owners and their impressive team.
To experience the Gullah Geechee culture firsthand, you must try out all you can from their A La Carte menu. Some of their bests are described below:
- Shawk bites- tender shawk meat, seasoned, lightly battered and fried to golden perfection
- Gullah eggrolls- stuffed with vegetarian red rice, vegan fried cabbage, and white shrimp
- Fried oysters- golden fried and topped with pickled jalapenos and geecheeboi sauce
- Cucumba and watuhmelon salad- cucumber and mixed greens, tossed in a dressing of herbs with spiced pecan, goat cheese, and pickled shallots served on a watermelon slice.
From the Rice Fields
- Vegan red rice- tomato sauce cooked rice, peppers, onions, and diced tomatoes
- Crab and shrimp gravy- white shrimp cooked in a gravy of crabs, served over steamed rice
- Red rice- cooked in tomato sauce with smoked sausage and bacon
- Vegan okra perloo (pilaf)- Rice cooked with onions, okra, peppers, and vegetable broth
- Crab rice- rice served with crab meat and Gullah seasonings.
From the Yard and Water
- Fried poke chop- lightly battered, seasoned, and golden friend. Served with brown gravy
- Sautéed shrimp- white shrimp seasoned and then sautéed in delicious Gullah BUTTER SAUCE
- Jam up wings- Marinated with seasonings and drizzled with Gullah gal sauce( baked or fried)
Some Gullah sides
- Seafood pasta salad- shrimp and pasta mix, crab meat mixed with house dressing.
- Okra soup- Fresh okra stewed with corn, tomato, and smoked turkey.
Virgil’s Kitchen and Bar goes a long way in showering its diners not just with an abundance of love and warmth but also surrounding them and keeping alive the core cultural traditions of the beautiful community. The gift of its divine flavors is something you can’t afford to miss in this lifetime.