We do love us some fried chicken and a biscuit, y’all. And what else could be better than trying all those delicious Southern comfort foods right from the source?
While gallivanting ‘round the American South, putting your best food forward during a line dance, getting drunk at a rodeo, and shopping for a pair of authentic cowboy boots, we urge you not to forget about true Southern soul food. Here are the top ten hangouts born to satisfy your food needs and turn yourself into a bit of a (curvy) Southern belle.
Empire State South, Atlanta, Georgia
Best for: Po-Boy for lunch
Head to Empire State South for authentic Southern dishes with a modern twist. The lunch menu is just as enticing, if not a little more casual than the dinner menu. We suggest you start your evening off with the GA Shrimp and the Farm egg and then move onto the Sockeye salmoncatfish cake, don’t forget to add a side of roasted squash. For breakfast we suggest the fried chicken biscuit and the spicy chicken Po’boy for your lunch munchies.
999 Peachtree Street NE
Scott's Bar-B-Que, Hemingway, South Carolina
Best for: Pulled Pork
For thirty years, only a stone’s throw away from Myrtle Beach, Scott’s Bar-B-Que has (famously) been serving up hand-pulled pork. Owner Rodney Scott slow cooks whole hogs overnight on a home-built wood-burning pit. Ask for a side of crispy skins and the family's secret sauce. Locals, love it, critics love it, and we love it too.
2734 Hemingway Hwy
Clary's Café, Savannah, Georgia
Best for: Hot Griddle Cakes and Hoppel Poppel (yeah, that’s a thing)
Everything you’d expect from a Southern eatery. You can literally start here for breakfast and end with dessert for dinner. From burgers, grits, soups, pastries, salads, pies, milkshakes, sundaes, waffles and beef briskets – you name it, they got it. First established in 1903, the place is quite legendary and the food is rather delish.
404 Abercorn St
Franklin Barbecue, Austin, Texas
Best for: Brisket
Even if you get here at 7am, you’ll find a queue stretching around the corner (the restaurant doesn’t open till 11am). The only person to have ever skipped the wait was President Obama – even old mate Kanye was asked to get in line #lol. But, those who flock to Franklin’s know, waiting and queuing are part of the experience, and believe us the light (read: food) at the end of the tunnel (read: queue) it so worth it. Some items might sell out by the time you reach the counter but if you can get your greedy paws on the brisket, ribs, pulled pork and sausage plus pecan pie dessert, then we strongly advise you do so. Oh yes!
900 E 11th St
Cochon, New Orleans, Louisiana
Best for: Cajun cuisine
Set in a renovated warehouse, the restaurant blends contemporary chic with rustic flair – and serves up wonderfully rich Cajun dishes. Chefs Link and Stryjewski use locally sourced pork, fresh produce and seafood to create authentic flavours. Try the Louisiana Blue Crab rice, Smoked pork ribs with Watermelon pickle, the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo and end on a sweet note by ordering the Skillet blueberry pie with Creole cream cheese ice cream #YUM
930 Tchoupitoulas Street
Willie Mae's Scotch House, New Orleans, Louisiana
Best for: Fried Chicken
While you’re in New Orleans, we suggest you stop at Willie Mae’s Scotch House to sink your teeth into some of the best fried chicken you’ll ever have. To start, order America’s Best Fried Chicken (yep, that’s the name of the dish), then, order a side of mac n cheese, cornbread muffins and fried okra before washing it all down with a sweet ice tea.
7457 St. Charles Avenue
The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee
Best for: Southern favourites with a fine dining take
A mere 15 miles from Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park, you’ll find Blackberry Farm. Here, you can eat yourself into a coma and then spend the night at the luxury resort. The Barn, a turn-of-the-century structure, houses the farmstead’s fine dining experience. The seasonal tasting menu blends Appalachian ingredients with farm products harvested from the property.
1471 West Millers Cove Road
Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous, Memphis, Tennessee
Best for: Ribs
For over 60 years, the Vergos family has been serving their signature dry rub ribs in the alley basement famously known as Rendezvous. The cosy restaurant is stuffed with Memphis memorabilia and serves a wide range of meaty dishes. For the ultimate experience, try the pork ribs and brisket combination with beans and slaw.
52 S. Second Street
Acre, Auburn, Alabama
Best for: Hearty Southern meals with a contemporary twist
Acre dishes up Southern-inspired comfort food with a modern take. You can find anything from Fried green tomatoes, Brisket burger, Grilled Hereford ribeye steak and even Pecan fried florida frog legs on the menu. Try the Naughty Toddy from the cocktail list or pick one of the many, many wines from the drinks menu.
210 East Glenn Ave.
Crook’s Corner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Best for: Pie and all the cheese grits you can eat
Once described as the “sacred ground for Southern foodies” by the New York Times, Crook’s Corner welcomes with delicious food and a casual-relaxed vibe. You’ll find Southern classics such as shrimp and grits, the Hoppin John and of course cornbread and okra on the menu. But it’s the Atlantic beach lemon-lime pie that had us throw out all our bikini body goals. Pie is life.
610 W Franklin St
This article originally appeared on 7 Travel.