Best Soul Food Restaurants in the U.S.

Best Soul Food Restaurants in the U.S.

Having originated in the South, soul food has quickly become an American tradition, winning the hearts of people all over the country and beyond. Fried chicken, collard greens, catfish, Hoppin' John, neckbones, waffles, apple cobblers, grits, banana pudding - they are all delicious and are a real treat. The country offers great many places where you can savor all these foods and much more, but we have narrowed down some of the best soul kitchens in America that serve truly amazing foods.

Gladys Knight's Chicken & Waffles (Atlanta, GA)
What to order: The Midnight Train (four large chicken wings paired with one waffle)
Atlanta is a center of soul food and trying a couple of Gladys's chicken wings is a must. The restaurant also offers braised oxtail, fried tomatoes, as well as collard green spring rolls which taste excellent when paired with one of Gladys's signature cocktails. This dining establishment features live soul music that helps create a truly special atmosphere.

Sylvia's Restaurant (New York, NY)
What to order: Sylvia's World Famous Bar-b-que Ribs & Chicken
This dining venue was opened in Harlem in 1962, and since that time it has been serving great food that is known for its ability to act as a common ground. For a truly special experience, consider coming here for Sunday Gospel Brunch to savor chicken & waffles and steak & eggs in a religious setting thanks to Bloody Marys and Hail Marys, live gospel musicians.

Willie Mae's Scotch House (New Orleans, LA)
What to order: Fried chicken with red beans & rice
This dining establishment is located in the city's less crowded Fifth Ward. Willie Mae's is so popular that volunteers helped renovate it after Katrina, so they could continue enjoying the country's best chicken, along with crispy catfish, flaky cornbread, and more.
Soul Food Restaurants in the U.S.
Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles (Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ)
What to order: KK's (three pieces of chicken, two waffles, grits, eggs, cheese)
This is the place where you can eat the most authentic Southern fare, and Lo-Lo's loyal customers say that it can even beat its Harlem and LA competitors. Indeed, the place serves the delicious Belgian bird combo, large and refined, with grits, greens, and other foods on top. Other specialties worth trying include catfish & waffles and chorizo.

Dooky Chase's (New Orleans, LA)
What to order: Everything you see in the menu
Since 1941, Dooky's has been luring gourmets with its legendary lunch buffet, which serves changing daily specimens of mouthwatering creole cooking and soul-warming fare. Make sure you visit this place on Friday to enjoy their shrimp & lima beans. Also we recommend ordering po' boys, gumbo, and iconic fried chicken.

Fish & Chicken Inn (Columbus, OH)
What to order: Combo #2 (three wings, four jumbo shrimp, greens, and yams)
This is definitely one of the best places to feast on shrimp, perch, catfish, and other fish. Also their simple chicken wings are a great example of the culinary art. Make sure you try their chicken gizzards and the hush puppies that taste great as a starchy meal all alone.

Hoover's Cooking (Austin, TX)
What to order: Chicken-fried steak
Opened in 1998, Hoover's is located near Longhorn Stadium. The place is really famous for serving locally grown produce, but mostly for its chicken fried steak, a large hunk of beef with white country gravy on top.

Gus's (Memphis, TN)
What to order: Half a fried chicken with cole slaw
Even though the city is famous for its BBQ, Gus's has done a lot to popularize fried chicken across the state. For over 60 years Gus's has been offering its specialty fried chicken the recipe of which keeps changing. Consider pairing it up with a whole jalapeņo, or Gus's signature cole slaw.

Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles (Chicago, IL)
What to order: Mark's Big Boy (two waffles topped with half a chicken, gravy, and onions)
Nothing can compare to delicious Sunday brunch at CHCW. Their waffles are served with catfish and are best paired with grits, creamy mac n' cheese, and signature rice & gravy. From Thursday through Saturday the guests can also enjoy live jazz.

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room (Savannah, GA)
What to order: Whatever is served, from fried chicken to beef stew
The restaurant opened by Sema Wilkes serves home cooked meals that change daily. Now the place is run by her children but customers can still try her legendary chicken, meatloaf, and stew, as well as candied yams, rice & gravy. The place is extremely popular and those guests who have had too much of baked beans can book a room in the historic building.

Martha Lou's Kitchen (Charleston, SC)
What to order: Smothered pork chops For 30 years, Martha Lou's has been a real gem of Charleston's culinary scene. It is known for offering some of the South's most soul-warming cuisine. Among the popular specialties are turkey wings and beef stew, along with the golden-fried pork chops soaked in gravy.
Soul Food Restaurants
Bully's Restaurant (Jackson, MS)
What to order: Smothered oxtails The soul food offered by Bully's can be classified as down-home cooking you are unlikely to be served at most other places. Of course, you can always have fried chicken but you had better try something different. For 40 years, the place has been treating its guests with such old-school favorites as tender oxtails, the neckbones and pigs feet that can be paired with fried corn, okra & tomato stew, and fried green tomatoes.

Motor City Soul Food (Detroit, MI)
What to order: The pork chop sandwich and the two-piece chicken
When in Detroit head to this awesome place to have one of the best meals in your life served in a casual friendly environment. The restaurant specialties include collards and turkey wings, fried and baked chicken, and meatloaf. For dessert, we recommend ordering banana pudding which is the best in the country.

Kountry Kitchen Soul Food Place (Indianapolis, IN)
What to order: Smothered pork chops
Kountry Kitchen's regular menu features choose-your-meat combos that include chicken-fried steak, meatloaf, and chops, plus catfish, shrimp, and whiting. The dining venue is just ideal for communal eating, as families will be served large portions with all their mainstays. For the dessert try delicious Ms. Jessie's caramel pound cake and homemade cobblers. Learn how to use groupon in restaurants here

Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles (Los Angeles, CA)
What to order: House Combo #21 (mac & cheese, greens, cornbread, and two thighs)
In addition to offering great chicken & waffles this place also cooks one of LA's best baked mac & cheeses, as well as incredible grits. Make sure you try their brunch that includes a killer liver omelet.
Soul Food Restaurants
Eagle's Restaurant (Birmingham, AL)
What to order: Neckbones
Every day Eagle's offers a different line-up. The cafeteria-style eatery features some of the purest and most delicious soul food in the area, such as tender pig neckbones, au gratins, fried chops, cube steak, oxtails, fried chicken, and more.

Sweetie Pie's Kitchen (St. Louis, MO)
What to order: A whole catfish and ribs
The restaurant is owned by Robbie Montgomery, a former backup singer for Tina Turner. Sweetie Pie's two locations offer traditional soul foods, such as oxtails and turkey wings, Jack salmon and roasted duck, in addition to some of the best neckbones in the area.

Casey's Buffet (Wilmington, NC)
What to order: Everything. Casey's is a great place where you can get fresh and hot tasty meals. A soul food-lover's dream come true, the dining establishment boasts really gourmet dishes like fried chicken, chitterlings, fatback, chops, okra, to name just a few. If you visit the place at lunch time you will get the freshest food possible.

Hattie B's Hot Chicken (Nashville, TN)
What to order: Hot chicken
Make sure you try Nashville's signature dish, the most delicious in the city. Consider pairing it up with pimento mac & cheese, another poplar Southern treat.

Amy Ruth's (New York, NY)
What to order: Waffles with smothered chicken
What makes this Harlem restaurant stand out among numerous other places serving chicken & waffles, is a variety of amazing soul food offered here. Of course, you can always order chicken and waffles, which are really great, but why not savor something like the Gabrielle Union (fried pork chops) or the popular Al Roker (beef short ribs). Two sides are offered with the main dish, so consider getting the candied yams and cornbread.

Dub's St. Johns (Portland, OR)
What to order: Fried chicken and rib tips
Head to Dub's to enjoy some of the best fried chicken in Oregon. Dub's is also famous for its incredibly delicious ribs. Even though the former building burned down because of arson, the restaurant revived like phoenix, adding even more mouthwatering dishes to its menu.