The OWN hit “Greenleaf” chronicles the drama and faith of a fictional Memphis megachurch, but the careful viewer will notice that the city of Atlanta stars in the series alongside actors Keith David, Lynn Whitfield and Oprah Winfrey.
The show, which premiered in June 2016 with 3 million overnight viewers (the second strongest ratings for a new scripted show that year), is produced for OWN by Lionsgate, which also shoots “Step Up: High Water” and “Dear White People” in Atlanta.
When Season 3 premieres on August 28 and 29, numerous Atlanta locations will form the backdrop for the Greenleaf family's scandals. The return of Pastor Grace, played by Merle Dandridge, promises to unleash turbulent forces and the addition of new cast member Patti LaBelle will likely break the internet.
While casting calls for extras are regularly spotted on casting sites, shooting locations often remain secret until the very last minute. Filming at Juicy Joint in Decatur, for example, was especially secretive: "We didn't find out until the day before the shoot that Oprah would actually be on location and were sworn to secrecy," co-owner Wendell Robinson told On Common Ground News.
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"She came in, greeted us and got right to work."
Being selected as a shooting location made a real impact, Robinson said. "
Atlanta has tons of bars and we are honored that they chose a small bar like ours. It is so uplifting to have an opportunity like this come to our neighborhood, where homelessness and re-gentrification run rampant. I think that says a lot about the potential of our community."
In addition to her role as producer, Oprah Winfrey appears in the series as Mavis McCready, the sister of Lady Mae Greenleaf and a close confidante of Grace, the bishop's estranged daughter. Mavis runs a nightclub that might look familiar to Atlantans: Cigar City Club was the location for club shots.
Before Season 3 debuts in August, keep an eye out for these eight Atlanta locations:
6205 Best Friend Road, Norcross
All three seasons of Greenleaf have been filmed at Eagle Rock, according to location manager Patrick Rofoli.
"We have a portion of the Greenleaf Mansion built on stage, along with the offices and hallways of the churches, including an amazing coffee shop that we added this season to the church set."
The parsonage and various swing sets are all also shot on various Eagle Rock stages. "Both Norcross and Gwinnett County are film-ready communities with great support from the citizens and the government," Rofoli added.
4650 Flat Shoals Pkwy, Decatur
This huge, beautiful church has featured in all three seasons as lead character Bishop James Greenleaf's home church, Calvary Fellowship. Organized more than 138 years ago as a Sunday School and prayer meeting group, it now ministers to five generations under the leadership of senior pastor/teacher Dr. E. Dewey Smith, Jr.
2075 Market St., Duluth
For now, we'll have to guess what brings the series' characters to this large music venue in Episode 303. Ordinarily, the site hosts concerts like the Farruko World Tour on July 6 and the Cosculluela Tycoon Tour on Aug. 23.
2900 University Pkwy, Lawrenceville
Someone is aparently going to jail in Season 3 of “Greenleaf” (and someone else will probably visit them there for a very dramatic conversation). Scenes for Episodes 307 and 308 were shot at the Gwinnett County Jail. Operated by the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, it has the capacity for more than 2,700 offenders.
1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville
The upcoming season of Greenleaf will involve the fictional Thompson Casket & Funeral Service, filmed at the family-owned Wages & Sons Funeral Home, which has served metro Atlanta's funeral and crematory needs for more than 50 years.
Locations include 53 Born St. and 390 Wingo St.
Memphis will look a lot like a Norcross neighborhood in the later-season episodes that feature Percy, Coralie and Grace in home settings.
2595 Sugarloaf Club Drive, Duluth
This exclusive golf course outside the Atlanta suburb of Duluth will be transformed into the fictional Sommer Gate Assisted Living facility in Episode 309.
5260 Peachtree Pkwy, Peachtree Corners
If you want to dine like the characters in “Greenleaf,” check out Noble Fin. But don't expect Memphis-style barbecue! In real life, this Episode 313 location is best known for its oysters (they even have an Oyster Happy Hour) and its chef-driven fine dining.
Summer Guide OTP edition is a seasonal series from The Atlanta Journal Constitution that highlights some of the best dining and outdoor experiences taking place outside of Atlanta’s perimeter.