Joey Ward

Years of Participation

Joey Ward is the Executive Chef and Owner of Southern Belle and Georgia Boy in Atlanta, GA. Originally from Powder Springs, GA, Joey set his sights on becoming a chef at an early age, drawing inspiration from his grandfather – a former cook in the U.S. Navy – who served as a father figure for Joey. He spent his childhood Saturday mornings watching the cooking shows that followed children’s cartoons on PBS, and he’s been channeling his creativity into inspired culinary creations ever since.


Joey spent his formative years working in the kitchen of Atlanta’s celebrated Cherokee Town & Country Club and earned his degree in Culinary Arts Management from the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY in 2005. He returned to the South to begin his career as the Sous Chef on the opening team of the St. Regis Atlanta before moving on to work under Woodfire Grill’s former Executive Chef and Bravo “Top Chef” alum, Kevin Gillespie, who would go on to become his mentor. After two years of guidance under Gillespie, Joey moved on to become the Executive Chef at H. Harper Station before returning to Gillespie’s side to open Gunshow in 2013. For six years, Joey served as Executive Chef at Gunshow, where he showcased inventive flavor combinations, a keen eye for presentation, sharp attention to detail, and a true passion for creativity in the kitchen.


He now brings this expertise to Southern Belle and Georgia Boy, his first solo restaurant ventures, which opened in November 2019. His menus at both concepts aim to celebrate the diversity of arts, culture, food, and people of his home state. At Southern Belle, a cocktail-forward restaurant, Joey and his team offer a curated selection of spirits and cocktails that highlight the stories and passions of Southern distilleries alongside dishes that embrace the multicultural flavors of the “New South.” At Georgia Boy, connected to Southern Belle via a secret passageway, Joey presents an intimate, reservation-only, multi-course tasting menu experience for 16, where guests are welcomed to explore Southern cuisine as viewed through his inventive, colorful lens.


When he’s not in the restaurants, you can find Joey spending time with his dog, Louis, and his wife, Emily, a spirited Southern belle for whom the restaurant was named. He lives in Midtown Atlanta.