The South-Asian Restaurants in Metro Atlanta Project is a part of the Mapping Project Lab at Georgia State University. Based on the Vertically Integrated Projects model from Georgia Tech, the Lab includes teams of faculty and graduate/undergraduate students at every level, working together over multiple semesters. Our mapping projects focus on Atlanta communities and explore the intersections between data visualization and storytelling. Food being a significant component of culture, it has always been contingent on geography, climate, resources, practices, and the natural and acquired tastes of people living in specific regions. Due to its originality, Asian food and cooking styles have had a tremendous influence around the world. In the last century, the migration of people from South Asia due to geopolitical and economic reasons has created small yet influential immigrant communities and centers in America. Consequently, South-Asian restaurants have mushroomed in both downtowns and suburbs of big cities as viable business enterprise. Using the ATLMaps.org platform, our project creates a restaurant map of the city that detects the influence of South-Asian food and cuisine in the Atlanta metropolitan area. We examine official databases to archive general information regarding these restaurants and investigate articles/blogs/vlogs to analyze their impact on American food culture. We also visit popular restaurants, video-interview owners/managers, and talk to frequent customers to document food narratives associated with South-Asian eateries. Following are some of the questions guiding our work. How do the history of South-Asian demographics, food, and socio-economic and political elements affect the food culture in metropolitan Atlanta? Why is there a hegemony of Indian food among South-Asian restaurants? What are the effects of the covid pandemic on the income and management of these restaurants in the last one year?

Abhik Banerjee is a graduate teaching assistant and a PhD candidate in English (Lit Studies) at Georgia State University. His area of research centers around the confluence of South Asian Diaspora Studies and Trauma Studies, where he examines how Trauma configures the ontology of immigrants. His dissertation examines how “Diasporic Trauma” generated by a change in cultural politics, geopolitics, and economy structures the identity of the Parsee Zoroastrian diaspora in India and the West and the Colored Muslim diaspora in South Africa. He has worked as a research assistant on a UNESCO project on Civil Rights Trail map and has specific interest in assessing culture through maps. He loves to study food culture, watch movies, and play cricket in his spare time.