U nexpected Atlanta Tours & Gifts offers #1 rated Atlanta walking tours, rated #1 by Tripadvisor, Yelp, and National Geographic. We are Atlanta experts, passionate storytellers, and home-grown Atlanta natives. That’s not just marketing fluff: we have *literally* written the award-winning book on Atlanta’s culinary history. We know all of the secret nooks and crannies in this city that you can only discover through deep research and a whole lot of living and eating here.

We are THE Atlanta pros. Our company is a member of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and Food Tour Pros certified. Our executive team has spoken at Arival and the Global Food Tourism Conference, the premiere conferences on tourism, about our inclusive and visionary storytelling. The Atlanta History Center and Historic Oakland Foundation call us when they want someone to talk about Atlanta.

There’s a reason we have more 5 star reviews than any other Atlanta walking or food tour: we love our city and can’t wait to share Atlanta with you.

I came for the food tour but was enchanted by the history of Atlanta! This was a great way to tour Atlanta and get to know more about the city’s history while getting to enjoy some amazing food!

Laci SoileauTrip Advisor Review

The food was terrific but the added bonus of Joy's energy and knowledge of the history of the city, MLK and the civil rights movement, put it over the top. Would definitely recommend!

Cheryl BowmanTrip Advisor Review

I recently took my whole team (about 30!) out with Joy and Martha on this delightful walking tour. The food was awesome, as was the history and the things we saw. Everyone had a great time.

CarolTrip Advisor Review

Meet The Team

Operations Assistant

Brandy Bart

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: Cabbage Town
Drink of Choice: Kir Royales
Preferred French Fry: No favorites! She'll even eat bad ones (that's how much she loves fries)

Brandy loves EVERYTHING about food. Brandy is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana so food is her reason for being.
She likes most about Atlanta that it turned her into someone who constantly searches for flavor. Growing up back in New Orleans, she was used to foods with flavors that would punch you in the face so when she moved to Fayette County, Georgia in 1993, it was a shock because people didn't even use salt, true story. Since she doesn't eat out much, she enjoys finding and executing rich recipes that challenge and expose me to new ingredients and techniques.
Aside from eating, Brandy loves to travel so that she can eat what those places have to offer, surprise! In 2011, Brandy went to school in Paris, France to learn the art of French pastry, and she operates a home-based bakery in Atlanta in addition to working as the Unexpected Atlanta operations assistant.

Storyteller

Marcy Breffle

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: East Atlanta
Drink of Choice: Margarita at Taqueria del Sol
Preferred French Fry: Garlic fries at Noni's

Marcy has been a history nerd and amateur foodie since she was a kid growing up in Atlanta. At 10 years old, she applied to be a Colonial Williamsburg interpreter so she could learn how to make her own butter and cheese. Even though Williamsburg didn’t work out, Marcy’s love of history and food continued to shape her life. She studied history at the University of Georgia (Go dawgs!) and spent a lot of her time exploring the Athens culinary scene. After graduating, she moved back to Atlanta and started a career in museums and historic sites.
To further explore Atlanta’s diverse food scene and step outside of her culinary comfort zone, Marcy and her friends started a monthly food club. From barbecue to Bangladeshi food, you can expect a solid restaurant recommendation for any neighborhood and accompanying trivia from Marcy.

Storyteller

Leigh Elion

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: Cabbagetown
Drink of Choice: Wisconsin-style Old Fashioned
Preferred French Fry: Leon's frites (mainly for the smoked tomato mayo)

Leigh has eaten her way through much of the US, having lived in New England, Wisconsin, NorCal, and SoCal. Atlanta's food scene was a huge draw in her decision to make this city her home. By day, she directs the Writing Center at Emory's Oxford College and conducts research on the rhetoric of gentrification - in other words, how people communicate their hopes and dreams for their neighborhoods. Her job as a Storyteller allows her to share her love of Atlanta's communities while always getting to see the city through new eyes.

Leigh hasn't always been the best cook; in college, she once had to call home to ask how to make grilled cheese, and she's set off the smoke alarm every single time she's tried to cook for a date. However, she comes from a family of food-obsessives, so she's constantly challenging herself to try new recipes and learn new skills. When she isn't writing or teaching (in the classroom or on a tour), she loves taking inspiration from innovative local chefs, so you can follow her to any of Atlanta's new restaurant openings or pop-ups. She also always loves exploring on foot, whether that means walking her rescue pup around local parks, running along the PATH trails, checking out new street art, or letting herself get lost in the Buford Highways Farmers Market.

Storyteller

Jennifer Hubbard

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: Westside Provisions
Drink of Choice: Negroni
Preferred French Fry: Bon Ton

Jennifer has taken the advice and encouragement from family and friends to expand her passion for food beyond cooking classes, new restaurant finds and menu recommendations. She’s fully embraced the idea by becoming a culinary storyteller. Usually seen as the adventurous one for her food choices, she enjoys helping others step outside their comfort zone and discover things they never imagined they’d like, or even try.

Originally from Chicago, but having called Atlanta home for many years, the world’s busiest airport makes it convenient for Jennifer to indulge her passion for travel, as well. During the day, she advocates for underserved communities, developing programs that help them gain access to justice. As a food tour guide, she participates in community building in a different way, exposing people to unexpected hidden gems and bringing people together whose paths might not have otherwise crossed. Jennifer loves the fact that a simple meal can often become an experience to connect people and create great memories.

Founder/Atlanta Historian

Akila McConnell

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: Grant Park
Drink of Choice: Dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed olives
Preferred French Fry: Leon’s Full Service Pommes Frites

Akila McConnell is the founder and owner of Unexpected Atlanta and Unexpected Virtual Tours. She is also a travel writer and historian who focuses on the story of Atlanta.

Much to her delight, a lot of people like to call her a “food and travel expert,” including Conde Nast Traveller, USA Today, Yahoo.com, and About.com. She has written for numerous print and online publications, including National Geographic books, Wandr’ly, the Food Traveler’s Handbook, Atlanta Parent magazine and her own blog The Road Forks.

Akila grew up in Alabama and has lived in Atlanta for almost 20 years. In between, she spent three full years traveling across the world. Akila spends most of her free time reading biographies and cooking with her two micro-foodies.

atlanta tour guide
Storyteller

Kennedy Park

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: Grant Park
Drink of Choice: Strawberry Lemonade
Preferred French Fry: Waffle Sweet Potato Fry

Kennedy Park hails from the Georgia-Alabama border, having lived on both sides in her life. On the Alabama-side, she got her degree from the University of Alabama in Theatre. On the Georgia-side, she grew up shucking corn for her pawpaw’s roasted corn business. In those days, her pawpaw would tell her stories of Atlanta where he grew up and of her great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents who all lived in Grant Park for generations before him.

When Kennedy is not acting or eating, she paints landscapes on old windows and sells them across the world. She is an avid runner and often coerces her rescue pup with treats to join her.

Her ancestors were on to something with Atlanta, because Kennedy has fallen in love with its rich culture and diverse food scene. From the graves of Oakland cemetery to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., from galleries to street art, and from food trucks to five stars, Atlanta has everything this history-nerd, art-lover and foodie could ever want.

atlanta tour guide
Storyteller

Emily Pearse

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: Inman Park
Drink of Choice: Penicillin Cocktail
Preferred French Fry: Chik-fil-A Fries

Emily is a comedic actress, originally from Florida. She developed a deep love for the deep south after spending her college years at Florida State University, only 40 minutes from the Georgia border! From there, she moved to the west coast for 3 years to build her acting network in Los Angeles, but the south kept calling. It was something about the southern hospitality and the incredible food that made her want to head back east. (Not to mention Atlanta's booming film and television market!)

From a young age, Emily remembers helping her mother making holiday treats from treasured family recipes, like her grandmother's coveted white fudge recipe. She believes food has a way of bringing people together and making us feel connected with our past. Now she is so excited to share her combined love of theater, comedy, and great cuisine through culinary storytelling with Atlanta Food Walks.

General Manager

Margaret Spencer

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: Kirkwood
Drink of Choice: Wine
Preferred French Fry: Leon's Full Service

Margaret grew up in Minnesota, but her pursuit of a chiropractic education took her to Atlanta in 2010. She’s worked numerous foodie jobs around the city like selling pickles at farmers markets and belly dancing in Turkish and Persian restaurants. When she’s not leading tours or supporting the Unexpected Atlanta team, she’s puttering outside in her garden or walking her two dogs Gryffindor and James Potter. Margaret loves exploring new restaurants in Atlanta’s fabulous food scene and often tries to recreate fantastic restaurant dishes at home. She is happy to call Atlanta home, and appreciates the diversity and progressiveness of this southern city.

atlanta food tour guide
Storyteller

Arielle Stott

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: Summerhill
Drink of Choice: Gin and Soda with a lime wedge
Preferred French Fry: Lloyd's pizza fries

Arielle Stott grew up traveling to historic sights throughout the South and she never stopped being a tourist. Even on her days off you can find her walking around Atlanta neighborhoods trying to learn more about their rich history and current revival. Her background is in art and she's an avid reader. She's always happy to recommend local museums, and nightlife spots. If you'd like to get into some of the creepier and more unusual facts about the city, she'll never turn down a chance to thrill you with an eerie tale.

Storyteller

Kristin Storla

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: Decatur
Drink of Choice: Blackberry Bourbon Smash
Preferred French Fry: Belgian Fries at the Porter

Kristin Storla is a native Georgia peach. Brought up in Marietta, college in Columbus, and now here in Atlanta, Kristin has stayed close to home for the ever-evolving food and entertainment scene. Kristin found the perfect balance of mixing her two passions, good food and even better people, as a Culinary Storyteller. She makes a hobby of exploring the culinary nooks-and-crannies in Atlanta, eating her way through local favorites. Taking those two passions a step further, Kristin has even started a dinner club among friends.
Not just a foodie, Kristin works as a freelance actor and fight director. She’s worked with local companies such as The Shakespeare Tavern, Out of Box, Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare, and The Center for Puppetry Arts BUT her favorite roles have always been ones where she can eat on stage! She can not only tell you where to grab a great bite, but where to catch an amazing performance in town.

Storyteller

Joy Warren

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: Buckhead
Drink of Choice: Mojito
Preferred French Fry: Chik-Fil-A Waffle Fries (dipped in Chik-Fil-A sauce, of course

Joy Warren lives up to her name because she exudes joy in life, food, and people. She is an inspirational author of the inspirational youth book “Kingdom Star”, and singer/songwriter from Virginia where she attended Hampton University. As a musician, she has worked with Grammy Award-winning producers and artists from all over the country. However, she attributes the majority of her passion and growth as a person to her time serving in her family’s church as worship leader and youth pastor. Joy also founded a social activism organization called The iForgive Movement, a movement to help relieve injustice through the simplicity and foolishness of forgiveness.
Joy grew up in Virginia Beach but loves the energy, opportunity, and history of Atlanta. She enjoys meeting new people and making people laugh and feel loved because hospitality is not just a southern thing: it’s a way of life!

atlanta food tour guide
Storyteller

Jamie Weiss

Favorite Atlanta Neighborhood: Castleberry Hill or Midtown Garden District
Drink of Choice: Cold brew and lemonade (Don't knock it until you try it!)
Preferred French Fry: Red's Beer Garden (Get 'em with the Red's Sauce)

Jamie is one of the Georgia Peachiest, born and raised here in Atlanta. Coming from a family of enthusiastic eaters, she has dined her way through Atlanta’s robust culinary scene with no plans of stopping! Jamie is a full-time history student at Oglethorpe University and hopes to become a PhD candidate in the very near future. She genuinely loves learning and picking up any kind of trivia to share every chance she gets. She’s probably the coolest nerd we know!
Jamie prides herself on being well-versed in local dives and hidden gems. When Jamie isn’t studying or leading food tours, she likes to take her dog on long walks down the Beltline, ride her Peloton, or kick-back with some TV or a podcast.

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