Who would ever expect to find some of the best soul food in Milwaukee in the North Shore village of Shorewood?
The answer may be nobody, but you'd be wrong, especially if you haven't visited Nino's Southern Sides, 4475 N. Oakland Ave.
This tiny space, with only four tables, was opened last December by Odell and Gloria Robinson and Valerie Daniels-Carter. Carter runs about 100 fast food restaurants, but none of them can possibly match Nino's.
I've sampled a number of the dishes, fortunately not on the same day, because these are not diet foods. The fried chicken dinner comes with three pieces of deliciously moist chicken with a breading that is unlike anything I've had anywhere.
It comes with two sides from a list of about 20, including collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and the best red beans and rice I've ever had, and I've eaten it all over the world. they also have a hash brown casserole that is packed with tender potato shreds and delicious melted cheese.
JJ Harrison is the manager and she says that once the festival season ends the restaurant is packed for lunch and for dinner. The best way to sample their food is by calling ahead and taking it home.
I've also had the smothered pork chops, a distinctly popular southern dish that is a flavorful sample of real down home cooking. Harrison says they are working on opening a second location on Burleigh and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive but the opening date is still several months off.
Among the great things Black people who came north brought with them were the blues and Southern cooking. So far I haven't heard the blues at Nino's but the cooking is a real touch of home.