This is a very upscale restaurant serving very down-home Southern soul food on chic Melrose Avenue. It was opened in 1993 by NBA star Norm Nixon (of the Lakers and Clippers), the Roxbury's Brad Johnson, record producer Lou Adler, and a crowd of celebrity investors ranging from actors Denzel Washington ("Courage Under Fire") and Eddie Murphy ("Dr. Doolittle"), to basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to singer Connie Stevens.
It's hard to walk
into Georgia without finding it filled with Hollywood celebrities
such as John F. Kennedy Jr.,
director Ron Howard
("Ransom"), actor Wesley
Snipes ("Murder at 1600"),
actress Julia Roberts
("My Best Friend's Wedding"), Sharon
Stone ("Basic Instinct"),
Raquel Welch ("The Three Musketeers"), singer Stevie Wonder, opera superstar Placido Domingo, choreographer Debbie Allen ("Fame," wife of co-owner Norm Nixon), Sharon Stone ("Basic Instinct"), legend Sidney Poitier, director Spike Lee, Donna Mills ("Knott's Landing"), actor-director Robert Townsend ("The Parent 'Hood"), basketball great Magic Johnson, Brenda Vaccaro ("Midnight Cowboy"), former British Prime Minister John Major, NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, actress Vanessa Williams, and of course its many famous investors. Liz Smith reported seeing Barbra Streisand and Roseanne at the same table. Nancy Sinatra likes their fried chicken & catfish.
So at Georgia, you can chow down on sweet potato pie and black-eyed peas alongside the stars.
On the evening that O.J. Simpson was acquitted after "the trial of the century," Johnnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, and the other "Dream Team" lawyers celebrated at Georgia. A few weeks later, O.J. himself showed up here for his first post-trial public appearance at an L.A. restaurant, at a birthday party for a member of Boys II Men.
The surrounding center was also reportedly seen in the TV series "Beverly Hills 90210", as a mall where Donna and Kelly's boutique "Now Wear This" was located.
This Melrose restaurant is a handsome, dimly-lit supperclub, with mahogany floors and shutters, glass table-tops, rattan chairs, and a palm-filled patio which reminds some of Jamaica. The fashionable crowd (loaded with industry types) provides a noisy setting while enjoying the basics of Southern cooking: fried chicken with macaroni & cheese and collard greens, smothered pork chops, candied yams, fried catfish with grits, cornbread stuffing, meatloaf, peach cobbler... all from a New Orleans chef, Richard Hughes. But the menu also lists a few contemporary American dishes.
This may not be the best soul food you can find in L.A. (Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch and Maurice's Snack & Chat are both in the running for that title), but it's definitely the fanciest room in which to enjoy this cuisine, and the most popular spot right now for stars and trendies to sample a little down-home cooking; and service is certainly pleasant. In short, it's a scene.
Open for lunch Monday-Friday, from noon to 3 PM, and for dinner, daily from 6:30 PM until 11 PM.
Prices are moderate for the neighborhood, but high for this kind of cuisine. With entrees running around $10 to $24, expect to pay about $70 for dinner for two.
Getting there: Georgia is located on the south side of Melrose Avenue, near Alta Vista. Valet parking. From Hollywood & Vine, just take Vine Street south to Melrose, turn right and go west about a mile and a quarter.
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