5 Spots for Authentic Comfort Food in the American South

The American South is built on hearty, rich foods. Biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, and barbecue, all served with some sort of potato? Yes, please. To find comfort food like a true Southerner, you’ll need to move down South, join a church, and wait for a potluck. If you want to cut to the chase, check out one of these restaurants instead.

Comfort Food

New Orleans, Louisiana

Image via Flickr by jeffreyw

NoLa is a food lover’s paradise. There’s plenty to do and see in New Orleans, but if you want to take a trip just for the food, there’s plenty to choose from. If you crave fried chicken, check out Willie Mae’s Scotch House. This casual dining staple is rumored to have the best fried chicken in the country. For an upscale dining experience, you won’t beat Commander’s Place and its innovative takes on classic southern dishes.

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is famous for its barbecue, but the city is no one-trick-pony! Non-barbecue must-eats include Hog & Hominy, which serves American South/Italian fusion like you’ve never seen before in a casual, modern atmosphere. If you’re looking for something more formal, you won’t be disappointed by Restaurant Iris. This restaurant serves new takes on classic Southern dishes, all with locally sourced ingredients.

And since it’s Memphis, you should also chow down on some authentic, Memphis-style barbecue. Although the locals will have their own go-to recommendations, Central BBQ is one of the all-around best. Open seven days a week at three casual locations, there’s no excuse to miss this spot!

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta has lots to offer foodies. Bacchanalia is second-to-none for fine dining, and you can’t go wrong with the famous Prix Five. Make a reservation ahead of time, especially for the weekend dinner hours. To make the most of your trip, stay in Alpharetta, walk through the beautiful historic district, and then duck into South Main Kitchen to enjoy the hip, friendly atmosphere and ingredient-first philosophy.

Oxford, Mississippi

Even if you’re a connoisseur of American Southern cuisine, you haven’t tried anything like Snackbar in Oxford. Don’t let the casual name fool you. Snackbar is an upscale spot noted for its romantic atmosphere that specializes in food from the American South with an Indian twist.

The hole-in-the-wall diner scene in Oxford is not to be missed, either. Locals swear by Mama Jo’s Country Cooking. It’s not much to look at and you’ll be eating off Styrofoam plates, but the hearty soul food will stick to your ribs.

Richmond, Virginia

For comfort food in Richmond, your first stop should be Comfort. The menu is carefully curated, the ambiance is casual and welcoming, and the staff will make you feel at home. If you’re looking for a fine-dining experience that serves up comfort food classics with a few twists, then The Roosevelt should be your second stop. Don’t miss out on the boiled peanuts. They’re a Southern classic.

Once you get a taste of the American South at these locations, you may not want to eat anything else!

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