What exactly is soul food?
Let’s get past the debate of whether or not all “Southern” food is “soul food.” Of course we could draw distinctions, because Southern food could figuratively be all types of boring or weird stuff nobody gives a shit about eating, but hopefully we can agree that when you say you want “Southern food,” whoever you’re paying to cook for you knows that you really mean “soul food.”
It’s the same reason most people are only offered a selection of bush-league, Westernized dishes when they visit a typical Asian eatery. Which, because Johns Creek is an Atlanta suburb, means that even fake Chinese food from North Fulton is “Southern” if we don’t set realistic parameters here. Therefore, let’s meet on the mutually understood ground that “soul food" and “Southern” food are marketed to people who expect the same thing on their plates -- fried chicken, greens, mac and cheese, cornbread. Now let's move on to the next grievance.
Spending all your money on herbed poultry
Soul food has absolutely no business being expensive. Nobody’s saying people don’t appreciate when restaurants incorporate high-quality ingredients in their classic dishes, even if such things like cage-free eggs, free-range organic chicken, or locally farmed blackberry jam require an upcharge in the cost of doing business. But regardless, you should be able to get a plate, sides, and a couple beers for no more than $25-$30 a person -- max.
Anything over that is egregious, and the higher the price tag, the less likely you’ll feel that authentic soul glow that just shines through, much like the sheen on Darryl’s Jheri curl in Coming to America. My strong suspicion is that people will tell you that Chanterelle’s, a “gourmet soul” Atlanta restaurant open since 1987, is one of the best and most reasonably priced restaurants in town, with under-$10 dishes like rosemary chicken that are favored by most of your favorite Atlanta rappers who can afford to spend much more on herbed poultry.