Food & Drink

The 8 Best Soul Food Restaurants in Dallas

Published On 03/24/2015 Published On 03/24/2015

It’s hard to describe exactly what soul food is, unless you're talking about the movie with Vanessa Williams. But if you're talking about the cuisine, it's composed of so many things. It's biscuits and gravy. It’s collard greens and corn fritters. It's the South. It's a state of mind. It's the kind of delicious that makes time stand still. Here are the best spots to eat soul food in Dallas, besides your grandma’s kitchen.

Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar

Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar

If you’re from the South (or at least have spent a fair amount of time living here) then you understand grits. On the off chance that you don’t and have only heard about them in Joe Pesci lawyer-comedies, then get to Sissy’s as soon as you can and order the gulf shrimp & grits. The tomato, piquillo pepper, tasso ham & onion with organic stone-ground cheddar grits provide a delectable bedding for the finger-lickin’-good gulf shrimp. If you’re hungry for desert, order the Better Than Sex Chocolate Cake. The name speaks for itself. 

Ellen's Southern Kitchen

Ellen’s Southern Kitchen

West End
There are restaurants that serve breakfast and then those that serve breakfast ALL DAMN DAY. This is the latter. When you’re craving a big country breakfast, come to Ellen’s with an empty belly and order it with two biscuits smothered with gravy, two eggs, two slices of bacon, two sausage links, and hash browns. The gravy is the real deal-sealer here. Insider tip: sprinkle or douse in hot sauce and keep glass of water or mimosa nearby.

Jason Moore/Thrillist

Rudy’s Chicken

Oak Cliff
Rudy’s isn’t fancy; it’s not supposed to be. You go there for one purpose and one purpose only: to feed your fried chicken craving. And that it does. Keep it simple and order the five-piece meal with crispy fries and toast, topped with pickles and peppers. Wash it all down with a large iced tea. Then try and limit yourself to only going once a month. Good luck. 

David Maez/Thrillist

Big Mama’s Chicken & Waffles

South Dallas
No, Big Mama is not the name of the Tinder profile you accidentally swiped right on. Well maybe it is, but more importantly, it's ALSO some of the best fried chicken in town. Order the two-piece fried chicken with corn fritters, fries, pickles, and peppers and know happiness.

Mama’s Daughters' Diner

Mama’s Daughters' Diner

Multiple locations 
You know the diners on television where the coffee is always fresh and the biscuits are always coated to perfection? This is that diner and it serves up Southern comfort food so well you will feel like you’re at your actual Mama's. They have several locations scattered across the metroplex, which leaves you no excuse for not bringing your actual Mama.  



Maybe you should stop focusing on eating healthy so much and reward yourself with a Creole Potato Bowl and Carolina Cornbread from Ophelia’s. Your taste buds will thank you and so will Sir-Mix-A lot. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 


Sweet Georgia Brown Bar-B-Que

South Dallas
Sweet Georgia Brown isn’t close; it’s about 20 minutes South of Dallas. But it’s worth the drive and possibly a few popped buttons on your pants. Come with an appetite, because the portions are large. Order the sliced beef and sausage with pinto beans, collard greens, and rice & broccoli casserole.



Oak Cliff
Three words: fried green tomatoes. Not the movie, the food. Try the fried green tomato sandwich with smoked pimento cheese, Applewood-smoked bacon, and iceberg lettuce on sourdough. Insider tip: brunch is off the charts here. Go then.

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1. Sissy's Southern Kitchen 2929 Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX (Knox Henderson)

Quit being a p-word about your diet, and hit Sissy's Southern Kitchen, where Lisa Garza's tapping her Memphis roots in a patio-equipped space where a trio of deer heads rule a wall replete with china, and the fixtures -- salvaged from the 1914 Neiman's inferno -- were crafted by Henry Potter, who despite being a Dallas blacksmith, was also the richest man in Bedford Falls.

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2. Ellen's Southern Kitchen 1718 N Market St, Dallas, TX 75202 (Downtown)

Designed by a Butcher Shop Steakhouse and Mercury Grill vet, Ellen's Southern Kitchen is where real Southern cooking meets a little bit of Downtown Dallas' high-class flair. The blue-gray paint and vintage patterned wallpaper set just the right tone for fluffy flapjacks with dainty dustings of powdered sugar, buttermilk chicken fried steaks with a crunch loud enough to burst ear drums, and slow-cooker pot roasts just like your mom's (we promise not to tell her).

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3. Rudy's Chicken 3115 S Lancaster Rd, Dallas, TX 75216 (Oak Cliff)

This no-frills chicken shack doesn't need any of said frills, just ask for extra seasoning and some secret sauce and you'll happy you came.

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4. Big Mama's Chicken & Waffles 9810 Forest Ln, Dallas, TX 75243 (Lake Highlands)

This iconic, cash-only, drive-thru spot in Lake Highlands offers food happiness in spades with its fried fowl, corn fritters, and some of the best Belgian waffles in town. Open until midnight during the week and 3am on the weekends, Big Mama has you covered when it comes to late night munchies. Park and order at the drive-thru window if you're in a rush.

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5. Ophelia's 811 N Central Expy Ste 2135, Plano, TX 75075 (Plano)

Ophelia’s has some of Dallas' best soul food, including the Creole Potato Bowl and Carolina Cornbread.

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6. Sweet Georgia Brown Bar-B-Que 2840 E Ledbetter Dr, Dallas, TX 75216

Sweet Georgia Brown isn’t close; it’s about 20 minutes South of Dallas. But it’s worth the drive and possibly a few popped buttons on your pants. Come with an appetite, because the portions are large. Order the sliced beef and sausage with pinto beans, collard greens, and rice & broccoli casserole.

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7. Hattie's 418 N Bishop Ave, Dallas, TX 75208 (Bishop Arts Dist)

This upscale American bistro takes good ol’ fashioned down home-style cookin’ and low-country cuisine and makes it decidedly high class. With linen-colored walls, huge windows, a mix of antique and modern furniture styles, and colorful centerpieces, the atmosphere is as pleasantly bright and refreshing as the cuisine is rich and satisfying. While brunch is a big hit at Hattie’s, their lunch and dinner menu’s look just as enticing with options like Fried Green Tomatoes (no, Kathy Bates didn’t make them), Low Country Shrimp and Grits, and Bacon-wrapped, Jalapeño-stuffed Quail.Go for a classic cocktail or one with more of a southern kick like the Sweet Tea or Key Lime martinis.



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