As you drive down Jimmy Carter Boulevard, there’s a notable shift as you go from Norcross into Duluth. The signage starts to change languages, from English letters to Korean ones. You’ve officially entered Gwinnett County, Atlanta‘s Korean neighborhood.
Cities like New York and Los Angeles are known for their communities, but most don’t consider the Southern city’s Koreatown. As a lifelong resident of the city, it took me nearly three decades to find it myself.
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The Korean Businesses
The city’s Korean population first began to rise in the 1980s and 90s. Since then it’s become five times what it once was. Businesses catering to these newly arrived Atlantans popped up, including churches and grocery stores like Super H Mart. Korean beauty products can also be purchased at Super H Mart.
Jeju Sauna opened to offer traditional spa services for Koreans, including steam rooms, hot pools, and massages. It’s open 24 hours and each of their saunas is made of different materials known for healing properties.
Nearby is Georgia Spa Land & Sauna, a new Korean spa that is also open 24 hours. They have traditional Korean heat therapy, hot and cold tubs, and saunas.
Gangnam Sauna in Norcross is another top-of-the-line Korean spa with clay, salt, and jade saunas. Acupressure, scrubs, and massages are a few of the offerings. They also have an in-house restaurant.
Duluth also has Korean-style karaoke bars open late into the night for singing and revelry. DoReMi, AGIT Lounge & Karaoke, and Gang Nam Style Karaoke are all karaoke bars in this area.
Korean Restaurants in Duluth
Most locals know about Buford Highway, a multicultural wonderland that runs from near Brookhaven north into Gwinnett. Here you’ll find a restaurant for every country, including Mexican and Vietnamese. But Gwinnett is home to the most authentic Korean food in the city.
Jang Su Jang is a traditional Korean barbecue restaurant, named for the Korean words for “The Meeting Place.” They serve soft tofu, kimchi, and seafood pancakes. Diners can order more items using a buzzer next to the table.
The Stone Grill Korean BBQ and Grill is a more modern restaurant with in-table grills for your brisket and pork belly. Here you can have soju and watch K-Pop videos on the televisions.
Breakers Korean BBQ, Honey Pig, and Iron Age are a few more of the highly recommended Korean barbecue establishments in the Duluth area. At each, you’ll find meats and vegetables you can cook tableside.
If that’s not enough, Masterpiece is one of the city’s top Sichuan restaurants, located in this neighborhood. VeGreen Vegetarian Fusion Restaurant is a vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Duluth. O4W Pizza gained a cult-like following for its pies, even after the move to Duluth.
Korean Coffee Shops and Bakeries
Finish your meal with something sweet as Korean-owned coffee shops and bakeries are also plentiful. Mac Lab Bakery & Cafe has made a name for itself because of its unicorn macarons. Tree Story Bakery & Cafe is another favorite, offering delicious cakes and pastries as well as Counter Culture coffee. Sweet Hut Bakery & Cafe has multiple locations in the city with pastries, popular cakes, and coffee.
Between Gwinnett County’s six main cities, there’s no shortage of activities to keep you busy. But if you’ve come to Atlanta’s suburbs with an open wallet and empty belly, Duluth should be one of your first stops. You’ll find out why they call it the “Seoul of the South.”
Looking for a place to stay in Atlanta’s Koreatown? We loved the Sonesta Gwinnett, but Embassy Suites and Hyatt Place are also good options. Explore the restaurants on your own or take the quarterly Seoul of the South tour.
Explore Gwinnett assisted with the research of this post but all opinions are our own.