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Fried chicken and collards from Roc South Cuisine
Fried chicken and collards from Roc South Cuisine on Buford Highway.
Henri Hollis

17 Atlanta Restaurants Serving Satisfying Soul Food

From fried whiting and baked jerk turkey wings to smoked salmon croquette sandwiches and Salisbury steak swimming in a pan of gravy

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Fried chicken and collards from Roc South Cuisine on Buford Highway.
| Henri Hollis

What’s the difference between soul food and Southern food? The phrase “soul food” was first coined in the 1960s, seemingly meant to describe the honest-to-goodness, comforting foods often prepared at home by African American Southerners, with many dishes rooted in survival and the African diaspora. This food is soothing, good for the spirit, and just one category of fare falling under the broader umbrella of “Southern” food. Atlanta has no shortage of great restaurants that identify cuisine served on the menu as soul food. Here are a few restaurants to try around town.

Check out these maps for Southern restaurants and meat and threes.

Don’t see a favorite soul food restaurant listed? Email Eater Atlanta with suggestions to check out for the next update via the tipline.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Big Daddy's Kitchen

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Atlanta native Marcus “Big Daddy” Sabir grew up on the Westside. He worked in butchery for a supermarket in his neighborhood before branching out on his own with a food stand in the grocery’s parking lot decades ago. From there, Sabir grew to have multiple locations, including a cafe on Riverdale Road, a deli on Old National, and now two cafeterias — one in Decatur and one on Campbellton Road. The SWATS (Southwest Atlanta, too strong) location, even for its size and deep parking lot, is easy to miss due to sprawl in the surrounding area. But, pull up and walk inside for a hearty meal featuring meat, two sides, and a muffin. Standouts include the savory beef tips, baked jerk turkey wings, smothered pork chops, and the juicy pot roast. Big Daddy’s is generous with the side portions, too, like pinto beans, yellow rice, steamed cabbage, okra, and yam soufflé. Make sure to peruse the cake selection, such as caramel, red velvet, lemon cream, and Snickers.

The Beautiful Restaurant

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The Beautiful has been hiding in plain sight in Southwest Atlanta for over 40 years, and somewhat flamboyantly with its multiple street signs, floral surroundings, and fenced-in patio area with Halloween-colored umbrellas. The secret to this restaurant’s success isn’t just from the shout-out it received on Goodie Mob’s debut album Soul Food, the food is beloved because it always looks and tastes like it was prepared for Sunday morning. Waiting warmly behind the cafeteria’s counter, fill that plate with beef ribs, ham hocks, neck bones, and meatloaf or baked or fried fish options, from catfish to croaker. Make sure to load up on sides like turnip greens and cornbread dressing and banana pudding for dessert. Breakfast here includes a platter with two eggs, grits, hash browns, toast or biscuits, and a meat or fish protein of choice.

Deliah’s Everyday Soul @ Chattahoochee Food Works

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This soul food spot at Chattahoochee Food Works comes with Oprah’s seal of approval on its mac and cheese. Owned by Philadelphia chef and cookbook author Delilah Winder, her eponymous food stall serves crispy fried chicken as platters, sandwiches topped with bread and butter pickles, po’boys with creole mayo and Merlin’s Magic seasoning, and even a chicken BLT. Plates come served with collards, cornbread, and the aforementioned mac and cheese. Make sure to also order Deliah’s fried green tomatoes and a strawberry lemonade, too.

Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours

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This is where the South’s most beloved dishes meet chef and owner Deborah VanTrece and chef de cuisine Robert Butts. VanTrece and Butts push the boundaries of soul food at the lounge-y Westside restaurant with dishes mole sous vide short ribs, a smoked salmon croquette sandwich, cornmeal-crusted catfish goujonnette, and crispy confit duck with chevre scallion Johnny cakes. The menu here is vast and strikes that difficult balance between casual and fine dining with ease.

Q - Time Restaurant

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Sometimes folks can taste soul food just by looking at it, and that’s the case with the sauce-swimming turkey wing at Q-Time. It’s roasted to a gorgeous golden brown and savory to the bone, with plenty of meat, even if opting for the single order instead of two, which comes with two sides and a cornbread muffin. Opt for vegetables that are historically stewed, such as the collards, turnips, or cabbage Don’t skip the mac and cheese, which is baked to an almost perfect consistency. Oxtails, three-bone pork rib plates, honey barbecue wings, and the Salisbury steak are other dishes to consider ordering from Q-Time.

Soul Vegetarian Restaurant

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Long before the vegan wave hit Atlanta, Soul Vegetarian established itself as the reigning champion of meat-free Southern comfort food — particularly within Atlanta’s historically African-American communities. It also helped expand awareness of just how flavorful a strictly meat-free diet can be, and has particularly dispelled the notion that a plate of soul food must be cooked into grayscale and can’t be full of vibrant, colorful bites. The deep-green romaine and electric red julienned beets used in the eggless salad are solid proof. Try the crisp-fried or saucy barbecue tofu here or the exclusive “kalebone” meat substitute, which is a gluten-heavy protein used in lieu of country fried steak. There’s also a location on North Highland.

K & K Soul Food

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Any Bankhead restaurant that’s been around prior to Bankhead Highway’s renaming to Donald Lee Hollowell has earned the right to call itself a landmark. Aside from the fact that K & K has existed for more than 40 years, the restaurant can probably also thank its remarkable variety of menu items for the community’s continued patronage. Just look at the biscuits, which can be filled with red sausage links, pork chops, chicken or beef sausage, country-fried steak, or straight-up fatback. The restaurant does have vegetable plates, too. However, this is where to come for meats like beef liver or chicken gizzards as well as stewed beef or fried whiting. The humble deep-Westside restaurant, with its brick-tiled floors and 3-D mural, includes a few booths.

Busy Bee Cafe

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There’s a reason Busy Bee Cafe continues to dominate the Southern food conversation in Atlanta after seven decades — it’s that good. The dining room fills immediately after the doors open for lunch, and folks pour into “Atlanta’s soul food kitchen” for some of the best fried chicken likely within a 100-mile radius. People also love the tender collards, which the restaurant now prepares with smoked turkey rather than pork. Make sure to also indulge in the cornbread, baked mac and cheese, yams, cobblers, or sweet potato pie, while gazing upon bronze-framed photos of Civil Rights icons, celebrities, and world leaders — all who have eaten at Busy Bee over the years. The restaurant earned a James Beard award in 2022.

Soulbox-Soulfood

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Part of the Oak Street Eats ghost kitchen facility in West End, regulars ordering from Soulbox swear by the smothered fried pork chops served with yellow saffron rice, smoked fried turkey wings, and fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs. Entrees come with cornbread cakes and a choice of two sides, including collards, creamy mac and cheese, and cornbread dressing. Make sure to also order some strawberry lemonade and peach cobbler for dessert.

Annie Laura's Kitchen

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It’s all about homestyle comfort foods at this Riverdale soul food restaurant, which includes a buffet and a drive-thru window serving fried chicken, oxtails, fried catfish, roast turkey, and pigs feet with traditional sides like collards, limas, field peas, yams, and cornbread. There’s peach cobbler for dessert, too.

Paschal's

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The location has changed more than once from when brothers James and Robert Paschal founded the iconic restaurant. Its history is inseparable from the Civil Rights era in Atlanta due to the restaurant and its owners’ willingness to post bond for and provide free meals to jailed protestors. Now located at the corner of Northside Drive, Paschal’s continues to welcome new generations of diners for bowls of gumbo, battered catfish fingers, fried green tomato slices, St. Louis pork ribs, and Paschal’s original recipe fried chicken. There’s even caramel-drizzled bread pudding served up in a martini glass for dessert here. Paschal’s includes a location at Hartsfield-Jackson airport.

Walter's Soul Food Cafe

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The large, illuminated blue and yellow letters above the door help locate Walter’s from the street when exiting I-75 in south Atlanta. The hand-painted sign version on the window welcomes people inside for a hot plate. Grab a red tray and slide it down the rails for Salisbury steak swimming in a pan of gravy, crispy whole wings, smoked ribs, brisket, oxtails, and baked barbecue chicken. Grab peach cobbler for dessert.

Old Lady Gang Southern Cuisine

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It’s nothing new for celebrities to own restaurants, especially in Atlanta. Many try and fail. This isn’t the case for Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member Kandi Burruss-Tucker, whose mother and aunts run Old Lady Gang, a “southern eatery” in Castleberry Hill. Begin with a sweet and sour “Momma Joyce’s” house coconut rum punch with banana liqueur, pineapple, and lime. Next, dig into the shrimp and grits (the appetizer version uses garlic cream; the entree is vodka cream), the balsamic-glazed ribeye, or the crème Anglaise French toast, which comes with whole battered chicken wings. OLG now has an East Point location and a stand inside State Farm Arena.

Peach Cobbler Café

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Located between Peachtree Battle and Piedmont Hospital, Peach Cobbler Cafe is the spot for soul food on Peachtree Road. Head here for plates filled with short ribs, oxtails, crispy fried chicken, and gravy-laden turkey wings paired with sides of creamy mac and cheese, flavorful greens, and black eye peas. There’s even a vegetable plate option here. And don’t skip the restaurant’s namesake dessert.

Soul: Food & Culture

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Chefs Todd Richards and Joshua Lee, the owners of Lake and Oak Neighborhood BBQ in East Lake, opened their latest venture together, a soul food stall inside Krog Street Market. Dishes served on the menu here are inspired by Richards’ award-winning cookbook “Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes” and include a hot fried catfish sandwich, chicken or catfish and waffles, wings, and four fried chicken sandwiches. Make sure to grab a side of smoked chicken collards, too. Order salmon croquettes for brunch on the weekend. 

Roc South Cuisine

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Roc South became an instant success when it opened on Buford Highway in 2019. The honey lemon pepper wings here are great, but it’s the jasmine rice seafood gumbo, which also includes chicken and beef sausage, that steals the appetizer show. Diners at Roc South justifiably rave about the whole fried snapper and the lamb chop. The “southern fried”, hot-honey-glazed chicken stands out as a prime example of how to treat plated institutions of soul food with modern reverence through its beautifully stacked presentation.

Ms. Iceys Kitchen & Bar

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Sim Walker didn’t come to Atlanta from New York City to play games with cuisine from the African diaspora. He’s been on a successful run with Negril Village in Midtown on North Avenue, and APT 4B on Peachtree. But it’s the food prepared at Ms. Icey’s (the Decatur restaurant named for his grandmother) that soothes the creative soul. There’s a recognizable twist of Caribbean flavor in many of the dishes here, from the coconut curry vegetable entree and the jerk lamb leg with sauteed kale to the turmeric-roasted branzino and the roasted half chicken brined in Red Stripe beer. Expect a little modern-day shenanigans on the menu, too, including the Thai chili “strip club wings”. Sip proper cognac cocktails at Ms. Icey’s, like the hibiscus sidecar mixed with lemon and orange liqueur. Yes, it’s on the rocks.

Big Daddy's Kitchen

Atlanta native Marcus “Big Daddy” Sabir grew up on the Westside. He worked in butchery for a supermarket in his neighborhood before branching out on his own with a food stand in the grocery’s parking lot decades ago. From there, Sabir grew to have multiple locations, including a cafe on Riverdale Road, a deli on Old National, and now two cafeterias — one in Decatur and one on Campbellton Road. The SWATS (Southwest Atlanta, too strong) location, even for its size and deep parking lot, is easy to miss due to sprawl in the surrounding area. But, pull up and walk inside for a hearty meal featuring meat, two sides, and a muffin. Standouts include the savory beef tips, baked jerk turkey wings, smothered pork chops, and the juicy pot roast. Big Daddy’s is generous with the side portions, too, like pinto beans, yellow rice, steamed cabbage, okra, and yam soufflé. Make sure to peruse the cake selection, such as caramel, red velvet, lemon cream, and Snickers.

The Beautiful Restaurant

The Beautiful has been hiding in plain sight in Southwest Atlanta for over 40 years, and somewhat flamboyantly with its multiple street signs, floral surroundings, and fenced-in patio area with Halloween-colored umbrellas. The secret to this restaurant’s success isn’t just from the shout-out it received on Goodie Mob’s debut album Soul Food, the food is beloved because it always looks and tastes like it was prepared for Sunday morning. Waiting warmly behind the cafeteria’s counter, fill that plate with beef ribs, ham hocks, neck bones, and meatloaf or baked or fried fish options, from catfish to croaker. Make sure to load up on sides like turnip greens and cornbread dressing and banana pudding for dessert. Breakfast here includes a platter with two eggs, grits, hash browns, toast or biscuits, and a meat or fish protein of choice.

Deliah’s Everyday Soul @ Chattahoochee Food Works

This soul food spot at Chattahoochee Food Works comes with Oprah’s seal of approval on its mac and cheese. Owned by Philadelphia chef and cookbook author Delilah Winder, her eponymous food stall serves crispy fried chicken as platters, sandwiches topped with bread and butter pickles, po’boys with creole mayo and Merlin’s Magic seasoning, and even a chicken BLT. Plates come served with collards, cornbread, and the aforementioned mac and cheese. Make sure to also order Deliah’s fried green tomatoes and a strawberry lemonade, too.

Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours

This is where the South’s most beloved dishes meet chef and owner Deborah VanTrece and chef de cuisine Robert Butts. VanTrece and Butts push the boundaries of soul food at the lounge-y Westside restaurant with dishes mole sous vide short ribs, a smoked salmon croquette sandwich, cornmeal-crusted catfish goujonnette, and crispy confit duck with chevre scallion Johnny cakes. The menu here is vast and strikes that difficult balance between casual and fine dining with ease.

Q - Time Restaurant

Sometimes folks can taste soul food just by looking at it, and that’s the case with the sauce-swimming turkey wing at Q-Time. It’s roasted to a gorgeous golden brown and savory to the bone, with plenty of meat, even if opting for the single order instead of two, which comes with two sides and a cornbread muffin. Opt for vegetables that are historically stewed, such as the collards, turnips, or cabbage Don’t skip the mac and cheese, which is baked to an almost perfect consistency. Oxtails, three-bone pork rib plates, honey barbecue wings, and the Salisbury steak are other dishes to consider ordering from Q-Time.

Soul Vegetarian Restaurant

Long before the vegan wave hit Atlanta, Soul Vegetarian established itself as the reigning champion of meat-free Southern comfort food — particularly within Atlanta’s historically African-American communities. It also helped expand awareness of just how flavorful a strictly meat-free diet can be, and has particularly dispelled the notion that a plate of soul food must be cooked into grayscale and can’t be full of vibrant, colorful bites. The deep-green romaine and electric red julienned beets used in the eggless salad are solid proof. Try the crisp-fried or saucy barbecue tofu here or the exclusive “kalebone” meat substitute, which is a gluten-heavy protein used in lieu of country fried steak. There’s also a location on North Highland.

K & K Soul Food

Any Bankhead restaurant that’s been around prior to Bankhead Highway’s renaming to Donald Lee Hollowell has earned the right to call itself a landmark. Aside from the fact that K & K has existed for more than 40 years, the restaurant can probably also thank its remarkable variety of menu items for the community’s continued patronage. Just look at the biscuits, which can be filled with red sausage links, pork chops, chicken or beef sausage, country-fried steak, or straight-up fatback. The restaurant does have vegetable plates, too. However, this is where to come for meats like beef liver or chicken gizzards as well as stewed beef or fried whiting. The humble deep-Westside restaurant, with its brick-tiled floors and 3-D mural, includes a few booths.

Busy Bee Cafe

There’s a reason Busy Bee Cafe continues to dominate the Southern food conversation in Atlanta after seven decades — it’s that good. The dining room fills immediately after the doors open for lunch, and folks pour into “Atlanta’s soul food kitchen” for some of the best fried chicken likely within a 100-mile radius. People also love the tender collards, which the restaurant now prepares with smoked turkey rather than pork. Make sure to also indulge in the cornbread, baked mac and cheese, yams, cobblers, or sweet potato pie, while gazing upon bronze-framed photos of Civil Rights icons, celebrities, and world leaders — all who have eaten at Busy Bee over the years. The restaurant earned a James Beard award in 2022.

Soulbox-Soulfood

Part of the Oak Street Eats ghost kitchen facility in West End, regulars ordering from Soulbox swear by the smothered fried pork chops served with yellow saffron rice, smoked fried turkey wings, and fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs. Entrees come with cornbread cakes and a choice of two sides, including collards, creamy mac and cheese, and cornbread dressing. Make sure to also order some strawberry lemonade and peach cobbler for dessert.

Annie Laura's Kitchen

It’s all about homestyle comfort foods at this Riverdale soul food restaurant, which includes a buffet and a drive-thru window serving fried chicken, oxtails, fried catfish, roast turkey, and pigs feet with traditional sides like collards, limas, field peas, yams, and cornbread. There’s peach cobbler for dessert, too.

Paschal's

The location has changed more than once from when brothers James and Robert Paschal founded the iconic restaurant. Its history is inseparable from the Civil Rights era in Atlanta due to the restaurant and its owners’ willingness to post bond for and provide free meals to jailed protestors. Now located at the corner of Northside Drive, Paschal’s continues to welcome new generations of diners for bowls of gumbo, battered catfish fingers, fried green tomato slices, St. Louis pork ribs, and Paschal’s original recipe fried chicken. There’s even caramel-drizzled bread pudding served up in a martini glass for dessert here. Paschal’s includes a location at Hartsfield-Jackson airport.

Walter's Soul Food Cafe

The large, illuminated blue and yellow letters above the door help locate Walter’s from the street when exiting I-75 in south Atlanta. The hand-painted sign version on the window welcomes people inside for a hot plate. Grab a red tray and slide it down the rails for Salisbury steak swimming in a pan of gravy, crispy whole wings, smoked ribs, brisket, oxtails, and baked barbecue chicken. Grab peach cobbler for dessert.

Old Lady Gang Southern Cuisine

It’s nothing new for celebrities to own restaurants, especially in Atlanta. Many try and fail. This isn’t the case for Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member Kandi Burruss-Tucker, whose mother and aunts run Old Lady Gang, a “southern eatery” in Castleberry Hill. Begin with a sweet and sour “Momma Joyce’s” house coconut rum punch with banana liqueur, pineapple, and lime. Next, dig into the shrimp and grits (the appetizer version uses garlic cream; the entree is vodka cream), the balsamic-glazed ribeye, or the crème Anglaise French toast, which comes with whole battered chicken wings. OLG now has an East Point location and a stand inside State Farm Arena.

Peach Cobbler Café

Located between Peachtree Battle and Piedmont Hospital, Peach Cobbler Cafe is the spot for soul food on Peachtree Road. Head here for plates filled with short ribs, oxtails, crispy fried chicken, and gravy-laden turkey wings paired with sides of creamy mac and cheese, flavorful greens, and black eye peas. There’s even a vegetable plate option here. And don’t skip the restaurant’s namesake dessert.

Soul: Food & Culture

Chefs Todd Richards and Joshua Lee, the owners of Lake and Oak Neighborhood BBQ in East Lake, opened their latest venture together, a soul food stall inside Krog Street Market. Dishes served on the menu here are inspired by Richards’ award-winning cookbook “Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes” and include a hot fried catfish sandwich, chicken or catfish and waffles, wings, and four fried chicken sandwiches. Make sure to grab a side of smoked chicken collards, too. Order salmon croquettes for brunch on the weekend. 

Related Maps

Roc South Cuisine

Roc South became an instant success when it opened on Buford Highway in 2019. The honey lemon pepper wings here are great, but it’s the jasmine rice seafood gumbo, which also includes chicken and beef sausage, that steals the appetizer show. Diners at Roc South justifiably rave about the whole fried snapper and the lamb chop. The “southern fried”, hot-honey-glazed chicken stands out as a prime example of how to treat plated institutions of soul food with modern reverence through its beautifully stacked presentation.

Ms. Iceys Kitchen & Bar

Sim Walker didn’t come to Atlanta from New York City to play games with cuisine from the African diaspora. He’s been on a successful run with Negril Village in Midtown on North Avenue, and APT 4B on Peachtree. But it’s the food prepared at Ms. Icey’s (the Decatur restaurant named for his grandmother) that soothes the creative soul. There’s a recognizable twist of Caribbean flavor in many of the dishes here, from the coconut curry vegetable entree and the jerk lamb leg with sauteed kale to the turmeric-roasted branzino and the roasted half chicken brined in Red Stripe beer. Expect a little modern-day shenanigans on the menu, too, including the Thai chili “strip club wings”. Sip proper cognac cocktails at Ms. Icey’s, like the hibiscus sidecar mixed with lemon and orange liqueur. Yes, it’s on the rocks.

Related Maps