Brooklyn has a hold on soul food restaurants when it comes to soul food in NYC. From Cheryl’s Global Soul to Peaches, these are nine of the best restaurants the borough has to offer.
There’s something about well-prepared soul food that makes you feel at home. My love for some good fried chicken, greens, fried fish, and yams stem directly from meals cooked by my mother and grandmother, a reminder of my family’s South Carolinian roots. Soul Food is a part of who I am, and although I’m a New York girl through and through, it’s important that I get my soul food fix from time to time. Fortunately, there’s some great soul food restaurants in NYC that provide that, with Brooklyn, in particular, having a hold on the soul food game. While it would take forever to list every single spot in BK, here are nine worth checking out for all your well-seasoned food needs.
Cheryl’s Global Soul
Photo courtesy of Cheryl’s Global Soul.
Cheryl’s is a must-visit spot if you’re on the lookout for a great soul food restaurant in Brooklyn. It has a cozy and homey atmosphere to pair with the warm and delicious food that Chef Cheryl serves up on a regular basis. Whether you are coming for dinner or weekend Brunch, you can always expect some good music and vibes both inside and outside. The chicken and pancakes are an absolute must for anybody that loves crispy chicken and fluffy pancakes. If brunch isn’t your thing, the blackened catfish with some mac and cheese is the way to go. It’s not a large space, so either arrive early or expect a small wait. It will be worth it either way.
Photo courtesy of Cornbread Brooklyn.
Not all good food requires fancy dining rooms and high prices, and Cornbread is a prime example of this. Forget farm-to-table; this fast casual eatery’s slogan is “farm-to-soul,” with the restaurant priding itself on being an authentic, family-friendly restaurant that serves soul food favorites like turkey wings, fried fish, black-eyed peas and, of course, cornbread. This is a popular neighborhood spot to go to for good food and better service, whether it’s for lunch or dinner. With such close proximity to Prospect Park, get yourself a three-piece meal and sweet tea to go, and have a nice Southern picnic in the park when it gets warmer.
Mitchell’s Soul Food
Photo courtesy of Mitchell’s Soul Food.
There’s no need for fancy words when it comes to describing Mitchell’s. It’s a no frills, must visit Southern comfort and soul food joint. For those missing their Southern homes and family’s cooking, Mitchell’s is exactly the place you need to try. It’s a small restaurant with a mom-and-pop feel, with food that tastes like someone’s grandmother is right in the kitchen whipping up the dishes. You really can’t go wrong with any option on the menu because everything is that good. These meals are a good portion (served with two sides and cornbread) and reasonably priced, so you truly are getting the best bang for your buck. It’s a cash-only establishment though, so be sure to bring some cash and a few extra dollars for a slice of peach cobbler.
Photo courtesy of Peaches, by Craig Samuels.
If you ask anyone for recommendations for good soul food in Brooklyn (or their favorite Brooklyn restaurants in general), Peaches will almost always be on their list. A Bed-Stuy staple, Peaches is a neighborhood spot that folks frequent for special occasion dinners or to enjoy brunch with friends. The restaurant has a little something for everyone, but the shrimp and grits, turkey meatloaf, and cornmeal-crusted catfish will all have you doing a happy dance in your seat. It’s a very popular spot and they do not take reservations, so get there as early as possible to avoid a long wait. Also be sure to check out their sister location Peaches Hot House, which features a slightly different menu but the same deliciousness.
The Soul Spot
Photo courtesy of The Soul Spot.
Located in Downtown Brooklyn, The Soul Spot has been serving up delicious takeout in the area since 2003. This is soul food with a Caribbean influence, which means you’ll be getting some amazing spices and flavors not often used in traditional soul food. Some tasty favorites you can expect include smothered lamb chops, fried catfish, banana pudding, and cornbread. For those who prefer Caribbean dishes, don’t sleep on the curry goat, oxtail, or jerk chicken. Although the space itself is on the smaller side, The Soul Spot makes up for it in its variety and flavors.
Photo courtesy of Soco.
If you’re in need of good food with the vibes and atmosphere to match, then Soco is the spot for you. Located in Clinton Hill, Soco gives you both restaurant and cocktail bar feels with its Southern fusion dishes. The gumbo and mac and cheese are both great choices, but if you don’t try the pork chops, you’re missing out big time. If you’re into libations, they have a cocktail list with a little something for everyone, too.
Taste of Heaven
Photo courtesy of Taste of Heaven.
If you’re in Williamsburg and want a reasonably priced meal, look no further than Taste of Heaven. This soul food cafe is known for its homey and quaint feel, where the menu is written on a small chalkboard and you order at the counter. The ribs and potato salad will give someone’s granny a run for her money, and be sure to check for the daily specials that periodically change. This spot boasts five stars on Yelp, so just know you are in for a great meal.
Black Nile Seafood & Soul Food
Photo courtesy of Black Nile.
Black Nile is the kind of place you walk into and feel immediately welcomed by both the smell of delicious food, as well as the friendly staff. The most notable thing about this Prospect Lefferts Garden restaurant is that their entire menu is Halal (owners Fanerra and Hasson Dupree are Muslim), with the soul food spot offering cheddar grits, shrimp loaded fries, fried fish sandwiches, and sweet tea that is absolutely addicting. The Duprees wanted to create a safe space where people could go not just for good food, but great conversations and feelings of community, and Black Nile provides exactly that.
Photo courtesy of Ma-N-Pop.
The name says it all when it comes to this cozy soul food cafe in Bed-Stuy. The decor is what really sets this place apart, with a red and white checkered theme that makes you feel like you’re in a retro diner, complete with Black culture memorabilia covering the walls. Ma-N-Pop offers the best kind of homestyle soul food that makes you want to return over and over again to try something else from the menu. The restaurant is known for its ham hocks and neckbones, but other customer favorites include yams, BBQ ribs, cabbage, and the fried whiting. One other plus about Ma-N-Pop is that they offer an all day breakfast menu, so for those of you who may want to enjoy your shrimp and grits for dinner instead of brunch, you’re in luck.
Robin D. Thomas is a brunch loving, school social worker who was born and raised in NYC. When she’s not writing about all things wellness, entertainment, and love, you can find her eating her way through different countries and tending to her plants. You can follow along with her travel foodie adventures on Instagram @_MissRobin.