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The Best Southern
and Soul Food in Philadelphia

Where to find the best southern and soul food in the City of Brotherly Love

Nothing’s more satisfying than a plate of down-home eats. Thankfully, Philly’s dining scene is steeped in southern and soul flavors, rich in catfish, jerk chicken, macaroni and cheese and more.

Whether it’s a gourmet spin on turkey wings, a zesty bowl of jambalaya or a slice of sweet-potato pie, hearty goodness abounds at the region’s soul and southern eateries.

Here’s a look at some of the mouthwatering delights proving that Philly has soul by the forkful. Our guide below lists the best southern and soul food in Philadelphia, and also has a helpful map to reference which venues are most convenient for you on your visit.

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Soul Food Cafe

Ms. Tootsie’s owner Keven Parker doubles down with his eponymous Soul Food Cafe in the Reading Terminal Market. In addition to the spectacular chicken and waffles, the quick-service stand offers catfish, yams and red velvet cake.
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GiGi and Big R

With a belly-warming mix of Caribbean, soul and southern cuisines, the GiGi and Big R food truck more than satisfies the University City lunchtime crowd. The hefty Styrofoam platters stuffed with deep-fried macaroni and cheese, jerk chicken and gooey yams are a great value, too.
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Chef Ken's Cafe

A friendly little hideaway in Mt. Airy, Chef Ken’s Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The morning menu brings fish and grits and Texas French toast, while the lunch and dinner platters of whiting or ribs come with a choice of sides such as dirty rice, mac and cheese or collard greens.
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Warmdaddy's

Live blues music provides the soundtrack for red-hot food at Warmdaddy’s. The long-running favorites are the shrimp and cheddar grits, crispy chicken livers over biscuits and barbecue beef short ribs with smoked turkey collards.
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Percy Street Barbecue

South Street’s Percy Street Barbecue showcases Erin O’Shea’s reverent yet chef-driven approach to the smoker. Fried-green tomatoes with green goddess dressing, chopped brisket sandwiches and traditional ribs are accompanied by terrific sides like burnt-end beans. For dessert, go for the Yards root beer float.
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Wishbone

The craft-fried chicken at Wishbone in West Philly gives the Southern staple a decidedly new-school spin. In addition to the classic wings with signature pretzel crust, there are changing daily flavors, plus honey buttermilk biscuits and redneck pecan hand pies for dessert.
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Rex 1516

Graduate Hospital’s palace of pimento cheese, Rex 1516 mixes and matches Southern flavors with creative results. There’s a crawfish pot pie, smoked brisket over corn cakes and plenty of fresh cocktails.
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South

Southern dishes, made with rare-around-here ingredients, are the focus at South. The Fairmount restaurant and jazz venue turns out exciting dishes like Berkshire pork with creamed collards and sorghum mustard, Carolina shrimp with Anson Mills grits and lobster and bourbon pecan pie with cornmeal crust.
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The Twisted Tail

Biscuits, fried chicken and aged ham appear frequently on The Twisted Tail’s menus. The bourbon bar and live music venue also prepares a decadent macaroni and cheese with crawfish, fried okra and ricotta beignets.
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Aprons Soul Food

Satisfying both sweet and savory soul food seekers

Aprons Soul Food satisfies healthy appetites all day long. The day starts with red velvet pancakes or fish and grits, and keeps getting better with chicken and waffles, candied yams, fried tilapia and peach cobbler.
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The Little Lion

A new addition to the Old City neighborhood, The Little Lion promises American food with Southern flair. The restaurant is a hit with locals and visitors famished after an afternoon in Historic Philadelphia. The menu is expansive at this new spot, filled with plates sized to share — fried green tomatoes, smoked chicken wings with buttermilk ranch and grilled oysters — and more substantial entrees of blackened catfish, a pork chop with brussels sprouts, or shrimp and grits.
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Denise's Soul Food

Parked outside of 30th Street Station, Denise’s Soul Food’s bright pink paint beckons diners to the window of its truck. The rewards, of course, are the tasty and affordable platters of fried wings, oxtails, corn bread and collards.
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Deke's Bar-B-Que

With a carryout location and a sit-down restaurant in Roxborough, Deke’s Bar-B-Que has built a sweet and smoky reputation. The kitchen serves a mix of barbecue styles — from Texas to Carolina — and the ribs, hush puppies and chocolate-chunk pecan pie are revelatory.
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Butter's Soul Food

Butter’s Soul Food corners the market for Salisbury steak and fried shrimp platters in Brewerytown. The takeaway joint also cooks up rice and gravy, corn and okra and a mean sweet-potato cheesecake.
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Southern Cross

The country kitchen at Conshohocken’s Southern Cross turns out familiar yet fresh takes on home-style fare such as fried pickles, blackened catfish tacos and barbecue pork macaroni and cheese. On the liquid side, the bar shakes up cocktails such as Sweet Tea Bourbon and Southern Lemonade.
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