In case you haven’t heard the sad news, the parent company of Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is in trouble after filing for bankruptcy. And while Snoop Dogg has stepped in with a promise to buy the chain, there’s no guarantee that the Los Angeles soul food restaurant will stay open for its many customers. So if you haven’t had the chance to taste the magic that is one of California’s most famous restaurants, it might be time to take a road trip.
And Roscoe’s isn’t the only soul food restaurant that belongs on your foodie bucket list. These world-famous soul food restaurants around the United States are some of the most famous (and delicious) around. If you want to taste what they have to offer the next time you’re in these states, these are the places that are too good to miss.
Did we forget to add any of your favorite soul food purveyors? Let us know in the comment section.
Florida Avenue Grill
Washington D.C.’s Florida Avenue Grill claims to be the “oldest soul food restaurant in the world.” Not only does it serve up good soul food, but it’s also steeped in history. It has been in the same spot since 1944 and survived the U Street Corridor riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
And it’s also visited by a long list of the who’s who on Capitol Hill, including Vice President Joe Biden most recently.
Speaking of soul food history, the Friday lunch buffet at Dooky Chase’s in New Orleans is the stuff of legend. And every day they have a line out of the door full of hungry soul foodies who are dying for a taste of delicious fixings made by Leah Chase — the inspiration behind Princess Tiana from the Disney classic, The Princess and the Frog.
The Busy Bee Cafe
Atlanta’s Busy Bee Cafe recently popped up on national radars when rapper Killer Mike and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders sat down to hash out the political issues of the day at the restaurant.
And while you’re taking a selfie in their historic seat, be sure to order the crackly fried chicken that makes this soul food spot so popular, you might have to share a table.
The Breakfast Klub
Houston’s Breakfast Klub almost always rocks a line way out of the door, but you’ll thank yourself for getting up early or stopping by after church to dig into soul food breakfast classics just like grandmama used to make.
Everything from grits to fried catfish to chicken and waffles is served in portion sizes so big you’ll need a long nap before you plan on going back for seconds.
The Breakfast Klub isn’t Houston’s only claim to fame. Beyoncé is always singing about Frenchy’s for a reason.
Frenchy’s does one thing to perfection: fried chicken. And they do it so well that you’ll have to stand in line for a long time to get a taste — but you’ll be back before you leave Texas for your next soul food destination.
This Harlem fixture is a must-visit for soul foodies. Tourists come by the busload from all over the country to enjoy Sylvia’s famous food and even the locals recommend it.
Pearl’s Place in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago is packed so full of the after-church set on Sundays that you know it has to be delicious. But what you won’t expect is that the food at Pearl’s Place is spicy too. The spicy jerk chicken and pepper-spiked cabbage and greens will have you guzzling water (or sweet tea), and we’re sure you’ll be a fan of their famous peach cobbler and sweet potato pie.
My Two Cents
For a twist on soul food, and yes you can sometimes find Pharrell stopping by, check out My Two Cents in Los Angeles for a delicious and modern twist on soul food classics like braised greens and pecan-crumble crusted sweet potatoes.
Another way you can tell a soul food restaurant is good? When its only open on the weekends. But when Madea’s does open its Fort Worth, Texas doors, customers come piling in to taste food that is delicious every time, no matter what you order, from neck bones (a must) and chicken and dumplings to okra and black-eyed peas.
This Nashville classic has been serving up soul food to locals since 1954, and the same family has run it ever since. This cafeteria with its homestyle soul food is so famous that it’s even frequented by Bobby Flay.
Miss Robbie Montgomery, the owner of St. Louis’ famous Sweetie Pie’s (and a Mississippi native) was a backup singer for the Ike & Tina Turner Revue back in the day. And now she’s famous for her cooking, which is so good that the restaurant has found itself the unlikely star of a reality series on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Willie Mae’s Scotch House
Most of what you need to know about Willie Mae’s in New Orleans can be seen in the line that wraps around the restaurant come rain or shine.
This Fifth Ward establishment has fried chicken so good that residents helped to rebuild it after Hurricane Katrina just to make sure their favorite soul food spot could continue serving its staple food.