Some describe Soul Food as the down-home cooking that has been passed down from generation to generation in the South. But it is a bit more than that. Chit’lins, pig’s feet, turnip greens, black-eyed peas, collards, fried chicken and such are mostly what we think of when we hear the term Southern food or soul food. Originally, soul food referred to offal, the parts of the animal that, years ago, the poor had to make due with. Because these parts of the animal are not necessarily appealing, they were typically battered and fried to make them palatable.
Today, soul food restaurants are very popular, especially in Atlanta. They remain relatively inexpensive, no frills places that serve mostly in cafeteria style. They are busy at lunch, and because they are rather small, long lines can form. Most of the city’s soul food restaurants offer a meat plus two sides and perhaps cornbread or a biscuit. Popular items include fried chicken, ribs, turkey wings or meatloaf. Collards and mac n cheese are popular sides.
There are several more fancied up soul food restaurants in the city, should you be in search of something upscale. Try Gladys Night and Ron Winans’ Chicken and Waffles located downtown or Mary Mac'sTea Room in Midtown. Ironically, one of the most popular soul food restaurants in the city- Soul Vegetarian- doesn’t serve meat at all. A visit to Atlanta would not be complete without stopping by one of the many soul food restaurants in the city.