The term “soul food” may not have been coined here, but Atlanta is a mecca for fans of deep-fried, down-home Southern vittles.
Forget the colonel — you’ll find some of the most finger-lickin’ fried chicken in town at Son’s Place (100 Hurt St., 404/581-0530, www.sonsplacerestaurant.com , Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–3 p.m.). It’s an old family recipe that’s been passed down from a previous much-loved chicken joint, Deacon Burton’s.
For a more gourmet take on fried chicken, check out chef Scott Peacock’s famous interpretation at Watershed (406 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., 404/378-4900, www.watershedrestaurant.com , Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–3 p.m.). The coveted dish is only available after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and it’s known to run out early.
Thanks to Fannie Flagg, fried green tomatoes are synonymous with Southern cooking. Perhaps no place in town prepares the decadent appetizer better than South City Kitchen (1144 Crescent Ave., 404/873-7358, www.southcitykitchen.com , Mon.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and 5–10:30 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5–11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and 5–10 p.m.). This Midtown institution is Southern with an upscale twist: the fried green tomatoes come with goat cheese and sweet red-pepper coulis.
Agnes and Muriel’s (1514 Monroe Dr., 404/814-9103, www.mominthekitchen.com , Tues. 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Wed.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.) puts a different spin on the classic dish, featuring a fried-green-tomato BLT that’s served with melted mozzarella and red-pepper sauce.
Paschal’s (180B Northside Dr., 404/525-2023, www.paschalsrestaurant.com/castleberryhill.htm , Mon.–Thurs. 8 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 8 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–9 p.m.) is a bona fide culinary landmark. Known for its hospitality, this a great place to discover soul food standards such as collard greens, black-eyed peas, steamed cabbage, candied yams, and grits.
While soul food gets a bad rap for not being an overly healthy option, Soul Vegetarian (652 N. Highland Ave., 404/874-0145, www.soulvegetarian.com , Tues.–Sun. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.) delivers clever updates on classic dishes, such as the vegan mac and cheese or a country-fried tofu. Almost all the items are vegetarian- or vegan-friendly and served without trans fats or preservatives — in other words, it’s soul food sans guilt.