"Soul Food" is a term that was invented by slaves in the American south. Because only meager ingredients like the least desirable cuts of meat and weed-like vegetables were available to the slaves and sharecroppers, they were challenged to create tasty and nutritious meals for their families. But somehow, they did it, and a hearty and delicious cuisine evolved.
It's amazing that one of the darkest and most despicable periods in American history inspired some of the finest comfort foods of all time. Lucky for us, Milwaukee has many outstanding soul food kitchens and a few of the very best in the Midwest.
Soul food restaurants are famous for their home cooking, great service and lively atmospheres, and are a fun, finger-licking-good way to get a taste of African-American culture.
Browns Ham House
2510 N. Teutonia Ave., (414) 263-1174
Browns serves breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring a wide range soul and American foods including hamhocks, catfish, cheeseburger, hot wings and a large selection of side dishes.
3466 N. 14th St., (414) 265-0155
This secret dining place of the Green Bay Packers is inside a classic brick bungalow and serves great soul food, from catfish to collard greens. Even if you don't spot a Packer, you can still enjoy the many autographed photos on the walls.
2370 N. Martin Luther King Dr., (414) 264-9054
This restaurant is OMC reader recommended! Stop in for a huge selection of soul food, including smothered steak, smothered chicken, fish, baked chicken wings, meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, red beans and rice, dressing, greens, candied yams and more!
Mr. Perkins Family Restaurant
2001 W. Atkinson Ave., (414) 447-6660
Specializing in catfish, collard greens, black-eyed peas and candy yams, the Perkins Family has home-cooked delicious soul food in a comfortable setting for over 40 years.
4871 N. Green Bay Ave., (414) 265-1511
The Parkview serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and the menu changes daily. Staple items include catfish, roast beef, pork hocks, black eyed peas, okra, short ribs, pancakes, country ham, ox-tails, peach cobbler, neck bones and BBQ chicken.
Speed Queen Bar-B-Q
12th and Walnut St., (414) 265-2900
The home of Milwaukee's most famous barbecue sandwiches offers a quick and delicious eating experience. Speed Queen BBQ sauce is also available in grocery stores. Put Speed Queen on your list of places to take out-of-towners, right after Safe House and Koz's Mini Bowl.
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.