’Tis Dining Month, the tastiest time of year! This means we’re dishing up fun and fascinating food content throughout October. Dig in, Milwaukee!
Looking for new spots to try? Lori Fredrich will be dishing out her top five picks in 20 different dining categories throughout the month of October.
Sometimes you need a bit of Southern comfort in your life. But, let’s be clear. Soul food isn’t a term that describes just any Southern fare. It’s an expression that specifically describes and celebrates the culinary traditions of Black Americans in the deep South. It is immigrant cuisine that reflects the culinary traditions of West Africa, Western Europe, and the Americas. It is the product of ingenuity and culinary expertise which has been passed down through the generations. And it is delicious.
If you’ve never supported a soul food eatery, consider this your invitation to explore, support and try something new. Here are five solid places to start.
1. 1700 Pull Up
1848 W. Fond du Lac Ave., (414) 899-0005 facebook.com/1700PullUp
If you haven't yet gotten a taste of the remarkable fare at 1700 Pull Up, consider this your invitation. As the new restaurant prepares to open its doors for full-service dining, you can pre-order food for pick-up on Thursday, Friday or Sunday.
Menus change from week to week (find them posted on Facebook), but guests can count on luscious turkey legs (regular or jerk) with toppings on Thursdays, housemade alfredo (with add-ins like lobster, lamb, shrimp and chicken) on Fridays and a full-on soul food menu on Sundays. Depending on the week, you can choose from entrees like smothered pork chops, fried chicken, pot roast, meatloaf, fried catfish, rotisserie chicken or turkey meatballs and gravy served over pasta.
Dishes are well-seasoned, portions are hefty and side dishes – including options like braised greens with turkey, Liquid Gold mac & cheese, Sweet Rie Kandy yams, chicken dressing and green beans with a kick – are just as good as the entrees.
2. Daddy’s Soul Food & Grill
754 N. 27th St., (414) 448-6165
Among the Milwaukee staples for soul food is Daddy’s Soul Food & Grill which serves up a wide-ranging menu of items from fried (or baked) chicken, catfish and barbeque, served up with comforting sides like silky, flavorful greens, macaroni and cheese and sweet, warmly spiced yams.
You can also count on Daddy’s for classic chicken and waffles or sandwiches, including meatless options like the Philly cheese portabella sandwich.
3. Plate Pleasures Eatery
2330 N. 124th St., Wauwatosa, (414) 897-7100
This West Side spot is serving up a small but mighty menu of options like smoked turkey legs, fried catfish and smothered pork chops, along with sandwiches including catfish and shrimp po’boys.
Don’t miss the gumbo, which is chock full of smoked turkey, sausage and shrimp. It’s served with rice and a generous side of sweet cornbread.
4. Big Daddy’s BBQ & Soul Food
9201 W. Capitol Dr., (262) 202-7726
Big Daddy’s is a great bet any day for smoked meats, including slabs of spare ribs, rib tips, chicken and brisket. But their daily specials (which include wings, turkey legs, jambalaya and fish fry) are just as good; don’t miss their delicious gumbo served up every Thursday or their Friday fish fry featuring catfish and perch.
Pop by for Soul Food Sunday and you can order up your choice of meat (with options include barbeque, jerk chicken, fried chicken, smothered pork chops and meat loaf) comes with two sides and cornbread.
5. Nino’s Southern Sides
4475 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood, (414)964-3663
I’ve often said that I would be happy just eating the sides from Nino’s; and that’s true. One could easily make a vegetable-centric meal of their Southern greens, mac and cheese, black-eyed peas and yams. But if you eat meat, their fried chicken is crisp and tender, with a seasoned coating that’s well worth eating. There’s also smothered chicken, pork chops and fried catfish.
Place an order on the weekend and you have even more choices, including meatloaf, bbq pigs feet, chitterlings and hashbrown casserole. My only advice: call ahead to order so you don’t have to wait too long at their little walk-up shop.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.