Chrissy Lee, a south Florida native first came to Macon in the early 2000's to attend Mercer University.
“Then, I don’t think I was very interested in Macon, to be honest,” she says about her time in college.
A lot has changed since then.
Lee is now a major player shaping downtown Macon's restaurant landscape.
After opening New Orleans-style eatery Parish on Cherry in June 2015, Lee has since acquired three established downtown businesses.
Lee, along with co-owners Vincent Kelly and Cody Jones, owns Parish on Cherry, Fatty’s Pizza and they will soon add Roasted Cafe & Lounge on Second Street to the list.
She wants all of the coffee shop’s fans to know that despite a few possible upgrades, everything will stay intact.
“It’s already amazing, so there’s no point in changing it,” Lee said.
The current owner Nick Rizkalla has been there for over six years and Lee says he does a great job with the place.
Lee says she is sad to see him go, but the restaurant will have the same staff and remain serving its current specialties. The team also plans to bring back the night life that was once prevalent at Roasted.
“It is a staple in downtown and I think it’s an honor that he would be willing to not only sell us the space, but it’s an honor to have somebody say ‘you can have the name,’” Lee said.
Parish is the first restaurant her team brought to downtown Macon.
“I left Macon, and I came back to try to get a specific restaurant to come downtown and they said 'No, Macon wasn’t ready for them and it wasn’t good enough.'”
Lee says she took the encounter personally and that’s when she and Kelly set out to prove that the area was ready for something new.
First, they set out to find the perfect location, which took research and getting ahold of Macon’s plans for five and 10 years down the road.
“Second street was originally our go to,” Lee said about making the final choice of location. “Something between Mulberry and Poplar.”
After a few obstacles, the team found the building on Cherry Street to call Parish home and they knew it was meant to be. The restaurant serves New Orleans-style cuisine and has been going steady since it opened in June 2015.
The original plan was to simply open a restaurant, but things escalated quickly.
Now, Lee loves the city and is raising her daughter here. Her biological family is in South Florida, but she calls her team here family now, too.
Keeping the momentum going, the team purchased and reopened what was previously Main Street Pizza on Second Street in July 2016. They renamed it Fatty’s Pizza.
Additionally, they purchased and are in the process of restructuring what was formerly known as Bourbon Bar. She could not disclose much information about the planned new restaurant, but they're giving the unit a total makeover.
“What people want that’s what we’re going to give to them …I can say that it will be open seven days a week--lunch, dinner and late night.”
The team has big plans for the reopening of the location and the downtown area as a whole.