Food & Drink

A real Southerner tells you the 7 best Southern food spots in Boston

Published On 11/26/2014 Published On 11/26/2014
Blue Ribbon Barbecue
The Coast Cafe
Commonwealth
Tupelo
Highland Kitchen
Trina’s Starlite Lounge
The Perfect Bite, Boston?
Estelle's Southern Cuisine
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1. Coast Cafe 233 River St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Central Square)

If you're craving soul food, make a beeline for Central Square's Coast Cafe, where authentic Southern-style fried chicken, slow-smoked BBQ ribs, and hearty sides like baked mac & cheese and fried plantains are yours for the gorging. The friendly team here serves only lunch and dinner, but the kitchen opens at 11am on Saturdays, making Coast and its chicken & waffles a solid brunch contender. Be prepared to take it with you, as there are only a few seats in this modest counter-serve spot.

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2. Commonwealth 11 Broad Canal Way, Cambridge, MA 02142 (East Cambridge)

Part market, part restaurant, Commonwealth is a huge, 500sqft space including a dining area, bar/lounge, a raw bar, and a 10-seat chef's table (plus the aforementioned market section) -- they are focused on utilizing the products of nearby farmers, fisherman, and other local providers.

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3. Tupelo 1193 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02139 (North Cambridge)

From the owner of Petsi Pies, Tupelo purveys "comfort food with a Southern flair" offering incestually authentic Louisiana recipes in a redwood-walled 45 seat space with white tile floors and chocolate wood tables.

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4. Highland Kitchen 150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143 (Somerville)

This Somerville spot is a casual comfort food haven with a solid list of beers, live bluegrass music, and a delicious menu that has everything from Buffalo Fried Brussels Sprouts to Banana Bread Pudding. Stop by for brunch and get yourself some Shrimp and Grits and a Patron XO and coffee.

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5. Trina's Starlite Lounge 3 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143 (Somerville)

The exterior of Trina's Starlite Lounge looks like your typical dive (could it be the Miller High Life sign?), but once inside, you'll discover a hip, retro-style diner and bar that's serving up killer takes on American classics like hot dogs, burgers, and chili, plus craft beer and seasonal cocktails. Come at night for the local brews, chili-cheese fries, and double-patty cheeseburger, and on weekend mornings for Bloody Marys and the Good Ol' Breakfast Sandy: a buttermilk biscuit with cheese, two eggs over easy, and your choice of bacon, sausage, or chipotle-tomato jam.

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6. Sweet Cheeks 1381 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215 (Fenway Kenmore)

Launched by a former Top Chef contestant, Sweet Cheeks serves heaping trays of exceptional BBQ, including homemade biscuits that are Boston bucket list-worthy. On each tray, you get your choice of succulent meat (pork belly, pulled chicken, chopped brisket), a hot scoop (mac & cheese, collard greens), and a cold scoop (coleslaw, potato salad). It all makes for an extremely filling meal that will comfort your soul, but make sure to save room for a bucket of those flaky biscuits with house-made honey butter. The dining room tends to get noisy thanks to communal tables (they're made of repurposed church doors), so if that's an issue, opt for a spot on the covered beer garden out back.

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7. Estelle's 782 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02118 (South End)

Located in an old video store and named for the once-popular nearby neighborhood hotspot, Estelle's is an 80-seat celebration of the South from chefs Brian Poe (Tip Tap, Rattlesnake) and Eric Gburski (East Coast Grill) that pours one more than 99 beers (not on the wall, but at the bar) alongside burly sustenance from the area that didn't vote for Lincoln in the 1800s.

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8. Darryl's Corner Bar & Kitchen 604 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02118 (South End)

Found in the space formerly known as the Stork Club (... and Circles... and Bob's Southern Bistro), this friendly South End neighborhood bar/resto from the guys behind the original Bob's is slinging hearty grub like barbecued steak tips alongside a long list of house cocktails, like their Chicken Martini (Tito's with apple and orange liqueurs, a splash of lemon, and topped with Hennessy).

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9. Loretta's Last Call 1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215 (Fenway Kenmore)

Loretta's Last Call is a rare treasure in Fenway, featuring live country/blue grass/roots honky tonk on Lansdowne St. Beer, bourbon, and whiskey will pair with fried chicken and other Southern fare to keep your good times going.

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10. Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar 381 Summer St, Somerville, MA 02144 (Davis)

Located in Davis Square, Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar offers roadhouse regional comfort food from Chef/Partner John Delpha and Chef/Owner Joe Cassinelli, known for his nearby Davis Square faves Posto and The Painted Burro. There are traditional plates like fried green tomatoes and the fried chicken thigh platter, as well as distinctive must-try dishes like dry fried green beans (with smoked pork shoulder) and the "BBQ Baconator Meatloaf Fatty" (poblano-onion gravy).

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11. Redd's In Rozzie 4257 Washington St, Roslindale, MA 02131

The inaugural offering from a chef formerly at Coda & Harvest, RnR's a retro'd-out 80-seater slinging Southern-flair'd "great local Americana" in the sun-soaked, patio-abetted former Geoffrey's Cafe dressed with neon signage and walls painted "Hawaiian bronze", which Troy Polamalu could probably pick up in pretty much any event he wanted.