(ThyBlackMan.com) The South is a hotbed for cooking. You’ve got lowland cuisine, Creole, Cajun, soul food, Caribbean—and those splinter off depending on the state and city. It just goes on and on. You can have the same cuisine in the same state and have different spins on the same thing. Then factor in the older, established restaurants and newer places with fresh spins on dishes we grew up on. Here are ten of the best Black-owned restaurants in the South.
Magic City Grill (Birmingham, AL)
I’ve got to start off the list with a hometown favorite. The Magic City Grill serves up soul food. Nothing fancy, you won’t see anything that will make your eyes widen but they’ve got some very filling food. You can get yourself plate to carry out or enjoy the buffet.
The establishment somewhat small so don’t expect a large spread in there. Their dressing, yams, and cube steak are extremely good. Magic City Grill is one of those places that won’t break your wallet in Birmingham.
Old Lady Gang (Atlanta, GA)
Now this place has some good dishes available! OLG is a restaurant that grew very quickly to having three locations throughout Atlanta in a very short period of time. It also has national exposure behind it having appeared on Bravo’s popular Real Housewives of Atlanta.
As for what’s on the plate, I love rib tips, they’re hard to mess up and there’s Mama Joyce again, putting her spin on them. Also, they come with two things I tend to have trouble finding when I want it: banana pudding and bread pudding—and they are delicious.
True BBQ (Myrtle Beach, SC)
This South Carolina establishment has quite the back story with co-owner Joseph Evans’ career through the restaurant industry after doing some time in hospitality. Some might say having humble beginnings make food taste better while others are practical and say that knowing how to cook does the job.
Either way, True BBQ has incredible ribs, so it lives up to the name. Prices are fair depending on what size ribs you’re getting. Personally, I dug the pulled pork sandwiches. The restaurant also has a bunch of different sauces you’ll want to try out.
Kookie Haven (Dallas, TX)
This is an unusual one for the list. Kookie Haven is a bakery that focuses on cookies and I dig it! They have a particular thing that they do and they excel at it. There’s a variety of cookies here and they even have something for vegans. My favorites are the Muddy Nutty Buddy and the Double Dutch. I can’t even get started on their cakes. Try the Oreo, banana, and the German chocolate!
House of Wings (Miami, FL)
Man, this place. Most people go to Miami for the weather, nightlife, and tourism but I really wanted to go for the House of Wings. Number one, the name undersells this place. It’s more like Palace of Wings. Sixty flavors. Outrageous! Obviously, I couldn’t sit there and try all sixty flavors. I probably would’ve been there all day—which isn’t a bad thing.
If there’s a flavor you enjoy and most places don’t serve it in your area, the House of Wings’ got it and for good prices whether it’s just wings or a combo.
Ray’s BBQ Shack (Houston, TX)
Upfront, if you like fish and chicken, Ray’s BBQ Shack has it. The chicken is especially good and I suggest the sausage as well. But let’s talk about those ribs. They’ve got whole slabs, half slabs, and my favorite—rib tips. On top of that, you can get burgers and brisket.
Their sides are pretty good, I enjoyed the mac and cheese. When it comes to BBQ places, you have to try their mac and cheese and potato salad. I’m not a big fan of potato salad in general but Ray’s was fine. The main events for sides here were the fried corn on a cob and their Jake Fries. I think I ate like three of those fried corn on a cobs.
As for desserts, get the banana pudding or the peach cobbler. In Birmingham, there’s a thing about certain desserts being available on certain days—something I never cared for. My favorite place, Rib-It Up doesn’t have banana pudding every day so I have a tendency to get it regardless of where I go just because.
Dreamland BBQ (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Every state has its BBQ places that are “must go” places. It’s very rare that you’ll find some who can whittle it down to one. In Alabama there a few but three of them are throughout the state: Rib-It Up, Full Moon, and this list’s sole Alabama BBQ entry, Dreamland.
The ribs from this place give Rib-It Up—my preferred BBQ place here—a run for its money. They’re so well-known for their meat that they’ve served presidents during their visits to the state and they will deliver their ribs and stuff out of state! Dreamland is serious business in Alabama. Plus, their pecan pie is no joke.
Chicken & Watermelon (New Orleans, LA)
As you can see, I’m a fan of chicken places. They’re my favorite. Chicken & Watermelon might just be my favorite outside of Birmingham. There are twenty flavors dry and wet with a mix. Like if you ask, they will hook you up. Chicken & Watermelon also has fish if that’s your speed but chicken is the star of the show here.
You can get fries, waffles, a slice of watermelon—they really go all out for a chicken place and operate like a chicken place. Go to the counter, place your order, pay up, and wait. No touch of class or gloss—which I love. The sleeper here is that fried twinkie. Fried snacks and cookies are a weakness and this place has fried twinkies. The decadence.
Foxx Original Jamaican Restaurant (Atlanta, GA)
Before I set foot into Jamaican restaurants I have to make sure they make plantains. It’s really rare that you’ll find a Jamaican restaurant that doesn’t but I’ve been surprised. Just walk into the place, look at that menu, check “Sides” and if it isn’t there, we’re finding another place. It’s a shame on my part because the place might have some dope patties and chicken.
That said, Foxx Original Jamaican Restaurant doesn’t disappoint. The menu doesn’t have too much going on which is perfect. Like a Chinese place that serves chicken wings, there are only a few things people come for, so keep it short. Foxx does offer tofu options here which I think is a nice touch but I was here for three things: jerk wings, curry chicken patties, and plantains.
Slim & Husky’s (Nashville, TN)
This pizza joint is one of the newer ones to burst on scene and has really made waves in recent years. Earlier this year, they won a National Cheese Pizza Day competition on Good Morning America. I didn’t even know National Cheese Pizza Day was a thing. National Pizza Day, sure but a day for cheese pizza? At any rate, the trio of brothers who run the place won it.
They offer a mix of traditional pies you’ll find in most pizza places as well as some modern spins on them. Their prices are good and they’re looking to expand so be on the lookout for a Slim & Husky’s in your city. Their Cee No Green and P.R.E.A.M pizzas are definitely worth picking up.
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.