Best Soul Food Restaurant

Readers' Pick

Mama J's

415 N. First St.

Second Place: Croaker's Spot

Third Place: Comfort

When it comes to soul food, ain't nothing like the real thing, baby. Mama J's is the queen of it. Killer fried chicken, man-pleasing country fried steak, and fried trout for traditionalists are but a few of the soulful offerings at this perpetually busy spot. Choose your meal with an eye to dessert because the cakes that Mama's sister makes are worthy of a church supper. Billing itself as "the soul of seafood," Croaker's Spot isn't joking. The seafood chili is a symphony of fruits de mer in a bold tomato base that's best ordered in the appetizer size if you hope to finish it in one sitting. And don't miss out on the soul wedges — sweet corn bread doused in hot-buttered "soul sauce" — for a decadent add-on. Comfort's sides sing with soulfulness, serving meals with fried okra, braised greens and cheddar-cheese grits.

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