Must Try Milwaukee: Soul Food

Must Try Milwaukee: Soul Food

Looking for new spots to try? During Dining Month, Lori Fredrich is dishing out must-tries in 20 different dining categories, from brunch to BBQ and everything in between. Here’s what she’s recommended so far!

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 a number of solid places to start.

Chicken and sides at 1700 Pull UpX

1848 W. Fond du Lac Ave., (414) 899-0005

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Menus at 1700 Pull Up change from week to week (they’re posted on Facebook), but guests can count on luscious turkey legs (regular or jerk) with toppings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, gumbo or housemade alfredo (with add-ons like catfish, lamb, steak, 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 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.

Daddy's Soul FoodX

754 N. 27th St., (414) 448-6165

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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 perfectly stewed and seasoned greens, tasty 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. Even better, the folks at Daddy’s are so friendly and welcoming, you’ll want to go back.

Jackson's Soul Food
Smothered pork chops, greens, black eyed peas, macaroni and cheese

4519 W Center St., (414) 231-3008
Carry-out & delivery

Among the newest additions to the Uptown Crossing neighborhood is Jackson’s Soul Food Redefined, a soul food restaurant that caters to carry-out and delivery. 

Smothered pork chops are tender and flavorful and they come two per order. If you get them smothered, they’re served in flavorful gravy over a bit of white rice.  Greens were properly cooked and nicely seasoned with small pieces of turkey strewn throughout. Black-eyed peas were tender and flavorful; and the macaroni and cheese was some of the best I’ve ever had via carry-out. The pasta was supple, but not mushy and the sauce was ultra creamy with a distinctive cheddar flavor. 

Additional options include catfish, chicken wings and fried ribs. Each meal includes a choice of two side dishes including macaroni and cheese, candied yams, black-eyed peas, yellow rice, green beans, cornbread and mixed greens cooked with turkey. Sandwiches are also on offer, including a Philly cheesesteak, fried catfish and Italian beef. 

Nino's Southern SidesX

4475 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood, (414)964-3663

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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.

Plate PleasuresX

2330 N. 124th St., Wauwatosa, (414) 897-7100
Carry-out only, Thursday through Sunday

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. And it’s delicious.

Don’t miss the gumbo served on Thursdays. It’s chock full of smoked turkey, sausage and shrimp and served with rice and a generous side of sweet cornbread.