Located on the Square in historic downtown Marietta, GA, Willie Rae’s opened in May of 2000.
Offering a bright, fun atmosphere with a funky, eclectic collection of local art, Willie Rae’s is a favorite local gathering spot for many of Marietta’s movers and shakers. The warm and welcoming staff encourages you to come as you are and stay as long as you like.
Willie Rae’s menu items pay homage to owner Ben Lyman’s Southern coastal roots in Mobile, Alabama, with numerous Cajun and Creole influences sliding over from New Orleans. Several Southwestern dishes are featured throughout the menu, as well. With his experience from some of the top restaurants in the Southeast – including Atlanta restaurants Indigo Coastal Grille, Bone’s, and Blue Ridge Grille – Lyman is always finding inspiration for new dishes. The fish tacos were featured on the menu as the result of a trip to San Diego in 1991, where he was first introduced to them. Serving some of the first fish tacos in the Atlanta area in 2000, they remain a staple on the Willie Rae’s menu.
Hailing from Mississippi, Jimmy Johnson – or “JJ” as he is known – has worked with Ben for over 20 years at six restaurants. His influence comes through with some of our most popular menu items, including the gumbo, southern vegetable plates, catfish, and pasta jambalaya. For your sweet tooth, try “JJ’s Whim.” With offerings such as banana pudding and New Orleans style bread pudding, you’ll find yourself always leaving room for dessert.
But what’s with the name? Willie Rae’s is named after the owners’ twins, Will and Rachel. They were four years old when the idea was hatched and are now 17. Lyman’s wife, Shana, grew up in Marietta and met Ben when the two attended Auburn University. The couple returned to Marietta in 1995. And the whole town is glad they did.