The interior of Southern Belle.
Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee
Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee

Former Gunshow chef Joey Ward’s Southern Belle opens today in Poncey-Highland

An Atlanta chef who has served in one of Atlanta’s most celebrated restaurants is branching out with his new eatery. 

Joey Ward, who previously served as executive chef at Kevin Gillespie’s Glenwood Park restaurant Gunshow, opens Southern Belle today in the Plaza on Ponce development in Poncey-Highland in the former Island Flowers & Gifts space. Georgia Boy, an adjoining concept, is slated to open next week.

Ward, a Georgia native, “aims to celebrate the diversity of his home state’s arts, culture, food, and people” with his menus, according to a press release.

Named for Ward’s wife, a former beauty queen, Southern  Belle will feature a beverage program focused on “the stories and passions of Southern distilleries,” with a selection of cocktails, local beers and biodynamic wines, alongside dishes “committed to embracing hyperseasonality, local farms, and the multicultural flavors of the New South.”

Ceviche Like in Peru from Southern Belle.
Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee

The cocktail list was curated by Greg Best and Paul Calvert and the bar team from their Krog Street Market restaurant Ticonderoga Club, a 2019 James Beard finalist for Outstanding Bar Program. 

Along with Ward, Southern Belle’s team includes Spencer Gomez as chef de cuisine, Billy Cole as pastry chef and Cate Hatch as general manger and sommelier. 

Southern Belle connects through a secret bookcase-turned-passageway to Georgia Boy, which will contrast Southern Belle’s “plush, homey feel with sleek, minimalist interiors” and a 10-course tasting menu experience for 16. An outdoor patio features picnic bench seating for an additional 40 people.

Smoke + A Pancake at Southern Belle
Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee

Both spaces were designed by Atlanta-based Square Feet Studio. Southern Belle’s interior features exposed brick walls, tufted furniture, salon-style art, and the historic building’s original historic tin ceiling. Also look for a petite 

curved bar and overhead soffit, along with a neon blue sign with “Bless Your Heart” meant to complement blue lacquered tabletops, high gloss trim, and blue milk glass accessories. 

Other design elements include opal globe lights and wall sconces; patterned wallpapers; velvets and mohair; and gallery walls curated by Ward.

By contrast, the experience at Georgia Boy starts in a small private lounge area, where the first two courses are served. Guests then enter Georgia Boy through a bookshelf that swings open into a private dining room, which features 

chiaroscuro painting, an open kitchen and large concrete and steel dining tables. 

Southern Belle will be open from 5-10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday. When it opens, Georgia Boy will have seatings each night at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

1043 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta.

Scroll down to see the full menu for Southern Belle:


More intown Atlanta dining news

More new metro Atlanta restaurants

Read the AJC Fall Dining Guide: The Noodle Edition

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. Atlanta. News. Now.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. Atlanta. News. Now.

About the Author