Food & Drink

From Gladys Knight's to JCT, these are Atlanta's 10 best soul food spots

Published On 05/21/2014 Published On 05/21/2014
Sebastian Davis

Sure, Washington DC might be the actual capital of the United States, but Atlanta is something much more important: it's the soul food (and, yes, strip club) capital of the world, which means that if you want to be one of the ATL's best soul food restaurants, you’ve gotta be at the top of your collards and fried food game. Here're 10 spots -- in strip malls, under tin roofs, and even real restaurants -- that are...

Murrell’s Cafe
West End
All-you-can-eat fried fish, mac and cheese, and even neck bones for just $10? Yup.

Paschal’s Restaurant

Paschal’s Restaurant
Castleberry
Fried catfish, fried chicken, fried shrimp, and fried green tomatoes lead the way on a menu that is so tremendously rich, you’ll need some time on the porch in your rocking chair to "work" it off.

K&K Soul Food

K&K Soul Food
West End
Boasting buffet-style service from authentic Atlanta grandmothers, this West End location delivers on the classics, but also on lesser-used staples like oxtail and turkey wings, so it’s always worth it to come by for a surprise. And because... shhhhhh... your grandmother doesn't cook like this.

JCT Kitchen & Bar

JCT Kitchen & Bar
Westside/Home Park
This contemporary soul food-slinger is still doing old-school eats including apps like deviled eggs, fried oysters, and a rich pork rillette; as well as mains like their signature fried chicken w/ tiny biscuits, which Sir Mix-a-Lot is ambivalent about, but you should totally try.

Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint

Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint
Downtown
In the heart of Downtown, SG's is the perfect place to grab a handful of crawfish tails, smoked wings in peach BBQ sauce, or some fried Vidalias with your visiting friends before hitting Atlanta’s more “adult” establishments.

Roasters

Roasters
Sandy Springs
This local chain has nothing to do with the old Kenny Rogers chicken joints (fun fact: the gambler does live in Atlanta), but it does have a lot to do with making you think that badass rotisserie chicken, brisket, and thick slabs of ribs are something you can get at a fast-food spot.

Who’s Got Soul Southern Cafe

Who’s Got Soul Southern Cafe
Decatur
Not only are their dishes pretty darn delicious, but the rib tips, cornbread dressing, or smothered pork chops are also potential nicknames for your next girlfriend.

This is It!

This is It! BBQ & Seafood
Multiple Locations
If this is it... doooo wop... please let me know, 'cause we're gonna want to hit Butch Anthony’s burgeoning BBQ empire for some chicken, fish, pork, and even chitterlings, before it completely blows up.

Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles

Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles
Multiple Locations
The “Empress of Soul” earns her title with much more than sweet and savory chicken and waffles: she mixes it up with “sassy” BBQ turkey wings, and fish and grits that aren’t “sassy”, but may make a crack or two about how the Falcons are playing.

Sebastian Davis

Wyatt’s Country BBQ
Kirkwood
You can smell Wyatt’s smoking ribs from miles away, but don't eat so many of those delicious, saucy suckers that you don't have room left for one of their pig ear sandwiches, or their sweet potato cobbler, or their... oh, you get the idea.

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1. Paschal's Restaurant 180 Northside Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30314 (Castleberry Hill)

Battering up and frying chicken with the Paschal brothers' famous 1947 secret recipe, this legendary Southern spot serves the comfort food you love -- like po' boys, shrimp and grits, and crisp fried catfish -- and's hosted a plethora of prominent figures, from Aretha Franklin to VP Al Gore to Dr. MLK Jr. End your meal with their famous peach cobbler, you'll be happy you did.

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2. K&K Soul Food 881 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy Nw, Atlanta, GA 30318 (West End)

This eatery serves up true, Atlanta soul food. They've got all the expected classics like mac & cheese, but they're not skimping on other, lesser-known options like oxtail and turkey wings, served up buffet style.

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3. JCT Kitchen 1198 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318 (West Atlanta)

JCT is an American contemporary restaurant and bar serving extensive food and drink menus, but if you want to have some of the best fried chicken and cocktails of your life, get those.

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4. Roasters 6225 Roswell Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30328 (Sandy Springs)

Known most of all for their roast chicken and veggies, Roasters offers up fast-food style, simple recipes for their rotisserie chicken, brisket, and thick slabs of ribs that satisfy, plus other classics like meatloaf.

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5. Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint 180 Peachtree St, Atlanta, GA 30303-1704 (Downtown)

Juke's an expansive sonic shack celebrating the famous barrelhouses of old Mississippi with great food, drinks, and daily live music, decked with a brilliant 3-D mural by local artist Stacey Brown, and wetland-inspired details like a backlit bar wall with cattail silhouettes, a glass partition with tadpole-shaped patterns, and even reclaimed barnwood on the bathroom counter to give it "a bit of an outhouse feel", also what you get if you leave the door unlocked, and're really, really lucky.

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6. Murrell's Cafe 700 Martin Luther King Jr Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30314 (West End)

Murrell's claims they offer food that's good for your soul. And we can't argue, with delicious bites like fried fish, mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes. Good for your soul? Definitely. Good for your arteries? Maybenotsomuch.

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7. Whos Got Soul 3818 Covington Hwy, Decatur, GA 30032 (Decatur)

Grab a plate full of of rib tips, cornbread dressing, and smothered pork chops at this down-home, Southern soul food eatery.

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8. This is It! BBQ & Seafood 3523 Camp Creek Pkwy, East Point, GA 30344 (East Pointcollege Park)

Butch Anthony’s small soul food chain that is taking Atlanta by storm. With chicken, fish, and pork cooked up with traditional yet lip-smackin' recipes, who can deny the call of the ultimate comfort food?

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9. Gladys Knight & Ron Winans Chicken and Waffles 529 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Downtown)

From the “The Empress of Soul” herself, GKRWCW is the undisputed bastion of Atlanta chicken and waffles. With brunch all day, this down-home, Southern eatery serves up all the classic dishes you could want, including fried green tomatoes, collared green spring rolls, and more.

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10. Wyatt's Country BBQ 1674 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30317 (Kirkwood)

The building may be a patchwork of shingles and plastic, but the miracle comes when you take one of their full racks of perfectly-crusted ribs to your mouth and thank whoever the patron saint of pork is.

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