The best places to find soul food on your next trip to the Peach state capital.
Soul food, a staple diet of the American South has played a huge role in U.S. history. What used to be a cuisine shaped by survival has now fostered economic freedom and community for black Americans. There are several different kinds of soul food that can be found throughout the southern states, from Texas to Georgia.
One of the major hot spots for southern comfort and soul food is Atlanta. There are so many fantastic restaurants that continue these food traditions while bringing them into the modern-day that you can explore the next time you go down to the Peach State.
800 Forrest Street NW Atlanta, GA 30318
One of the major influences on the development of soul food was the nutritional needs of the enslaved Africans. Because of the egregious physical demands that were expected of them, they found ways to make high-caloric meals to fuel them through their work. Today, we recognize that cooking methods were necessary for our ancestors’ survival often have a negative impact on our health.
To accommodate health concerns while still remaining connected to our culture, vegan and vegetarian adaptations to traditional recipes were created.
Planted Soul is a great place to find healthy alternatives to some of your favorite soul recipes, like gumbo and shrimp and grits. With community and honesty as its forefront business values, this restaurant is not only a fantastic option to discover a taste of history but a safe place to try vegan food for the first time.
Soul Vegetarian Restaurant
#1: 879 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW, Atlanta, GA 30310
#2: 652 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306
Contrary to its name, Soul Vegetarian is a restaurant which offers vegan and vegetarian alternatives to your favorite comfort recipes. Another unique characteristic of this restaurant’s menu caters to a “regenerative cuisine.” Fresh foods that are not only good for your body but also have a positive impact on the environment.
In addition, you can browse through its blog to stay updated on popular topics in the vegan world.
Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours
1133 Huff Rd NW D, Atlanta, GA 30318
Celebrating tradition doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy new ways of communing over food. Twisted Soul Cookhouse Pour has mastered mixing fresh dining experiences while keeping southern cooking practices.
Even if you can’t find the time to stop by, Chef VanTrece has her own cookbook, Twisted Soul Cookbook: Modern Soul Food with Global Flavors, for you to bring a little southern charm into your kitchen at home.
Big Daddy’s Kitchen
3085 Campbellton Rd SW, Atlanta, GA 30311
Marcus Sabir, affectionately called “Big Daddy,” uses his experience as a meat cutter to reach his goal of opening a restaurant. This is where he celebrates his African-American heritage with a good atmosphere and soulful food.
Priding itself on bringing customers “The Original Home Style Meal,” Big Daddy’s Kitchen has a plethora of soul food that you can try which includes vegetarian options.
Busy Bee Café
810 Martin Luther King, Jr Dr, SW, ATLANTA, GA 30314
Even after its initial opening in 1947, this historic eatery still generates a great deal of “buzz.” Inspired by a bee-marked moving sign and a blessing from an African missionary that her business “would always be busy,” she named her restaurant the Busy Bee Café. And busy it has been!
Not only have Atlanta locals supported this café for decades, but it has also served some prominent and familiar faces. Most notably of them all being Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Recently, it was presented the 2022 America’s Classics Award from the James Beard Foundation. It was one of six recipients recognized for “quality food that reflects the character of its community.” You can find favorites such as St. Louis ribs and peach cobbler, but not matter what you order, the food will be prepared with love and seasoned with soul.
K & K Soul Food
881 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway Northwest, Atlanta, GA, 30318
What started as a pool hall and small serving window has grown into one of Atlanta’s staple soul food eateries. This family-owned business, K & K Soul Food, has been serving homestyle soul food to the community for over 50 years. Despite its popularity and raving reviews, it has remained a more frugal option for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you are ever unsure of what to try, the owners suggest cornbread, collard greens, or candied yams. All of which are crowd favorites.
The Beautiful Restaurant
2260 Cascade Rd., Atlanta, GA 30311
With religious principles of love and consideration as its core values, customers can expect to see a friendly, welcoming face every time. Also known as the “Healthy Soulful Taste of the South,” The Beautiful Restaurant has been serving noteworthy, home-cooked meals since 1979. The food is so captivating that it earned the restaurant a feature in the documentary “The Rise of the Southern Biscuit,” which highlights the star of southern cuisine: the biscuit. Its menu features other classics, such as fried chicken, fried catfish, and beef short ribs.
Q – Time Restaurant
1120 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. SW Atlanta, GA 30310
When father and son duo, Fred and Chris Crenshaw, decided to start their own soul food restaurant in Atlanta, they certainly saved their best for last. Q-Time Restaurant is Fred’s fourth eatery and has been well-received by the community. Not only can you find popular palate pleasers, such as mac and cheese and pork chops, but it also serves Q-time Classic that are only available in-house.
777 Oak St Sw Atlanta, GA 30310
This West End restaurant is a great opportunity for foodies to receive their first taste of soul food. Between black-eyed peas, baked beans, and oxtails; Soulbox-Soulfood’s menu includes all of the southern classics you could possibly desire. There are even smaller portioned “soulbox-ables” for those interested in sampling. After filling up on its delectable cuisine, you can tour one of the local universities – like Spelman College or Morehouse School of Medicine – down the road.
180 Northside Dr SW #B, Atlanta, GA 30313
From 1947 to now, Paschal’s has gone from a small luncheonette to a home for community, inspiration, and good food. When James and Robert Paschal first opened their restaurant, it was originally meant to stand out by making their specialty: the fried chicken – the best in the city. Little did they know, they were founding an important contributor to not only the food culture of Atlanta but its history as well. In addition to feeding the public, the restaurant also served as a meeting place for notable figures during the Civil Rights Movement, including politicians and entertainers.