Kentucky’s diverse culinary influences are well-known, but a growing number of popular soul food restaurants celebrate authentic flavors and dishes rooted in African American culture. Dig into age-old favorites and modern takes on this tour of soul food hotspots.
Kentucky’s Best Soul Food
SHIRLEY MAE’S CAFÉ
Shirley Mae’s Café and Bar has been dishing up “slow food” in Louisville for more than 30 years. Hot-water cornbread and other specialties are often made by Shirley Mae herself as she works her magic in the open kitchen.
BIG MOMMA’S SOUL KITCHEN
A grand dame on Louisville’s soul food scene, Big Momma’s Soul Kitchen in Louisville’s West End is a no-frills joint offering delicious (packed!) plates for more than a decade. Options change daily, but classics like fried chicken, smothered pork chops, oxtails and okra are safe bets.
Ready for love at first bite? Check out Lucretia’s Kitchen in Louisville for a bounty of soul food and Southern specials including jumbo wings, fried catfish, salmon croquettes, rib tips and all the fixings.
DASHA BARBOUR’S SOUTHERN BISTRO
Dasha Barbour’s Southern Bistro in Louisville uses fresh local Kentucky-grown ingredients. Be prepared for a wait, their “hot” pork chop with a side of mac ‘n’ cheese and fried chicken with sweet potato casserole draw a crowd.
MIMI’S SOUTHERN STYLE COOKING
Mimi’s Southern Style Cooking in Lexington serves a bounty of homecooked favorites like fried catfish, roast chicken, barbecue ribs, meatloaf and all sorts of other gravy-smothered goodness. Check out the restaurant’s Facebook page for foodie videos!
At Sav’s Restaurant & Gourmet Ice Cream, chef Mamadou “Sav” Savené dazzles with cooking skills he learned from his mother and sisters in Guinea. Guests at his Lexington hotspot fawn over marinated tilapia with plantains, Cornish hen with couscous salad and Kankan flat-iron steak.