Southern food encompasses a rich variety of dishes from a range of states south of the Mason-Dixon line. From fried chicken in Georgia to smoked brisket in Texas, we deserve a designated day (at least) to feast on our favorite comfort foods – and we get it on January 22nd with National Southern Food Day. Check out this sampling of some of the top Southern restaurants to celebrate what is arguably our nation’s most beloved homegrown cuisine.
DTB, New Orleans, Louisiana
Their modern take on Cajun coastal cuisine has earned DTB (Down the Bayou) critical acclaim since it opened last March. Stylish decor and elegant plating complement menu items such as frog legs confit and whole-fried catfish. Make a reservation at DTB.
Fixe, Austin, Texas
Chef James Roberts delivers your comfort food fix at this darling of the Austin dining scene. The menu includes homemade biscuits, deviled eggs, and fried chicken just like grandma used to make. Stay tuned for the opening of a second Fort Worth location this month. Make a reservation at Fixe.
Marsh House, Nashville, Tennessee
Tucked inside the Thompson Nashville is this swanky Louisiana-style eatery specializing in seafood. Choose from a variety of world-class oysters, seafood towers, or fish to pair with a handcrafted cocktail or two. Make a reservation at Marsh House.
Bocado, Atlanta, Georgia
One of Atlanta’s most beloved restaurants serves up Southern classics, such as pimento cheese, in a minimalist environment. The eclectic menu rotates seasonally using ingredients from the region, but you can be sure the famous (and not-to-be-missed) Bocado burger stack will always make the cut. Make a reservation at Bocado.
The Grill Room, New Orleans, Louisiana
You’ll find a mix of contemporary cuisine and down-home Big Easy cooking at this eatery inside the Windsor Court Hotel. On Sundays, there’s a lively Jazz Brunch, and every day there’s a special “Plate Lunch” that includes a choice of meat and three sides for less than $20. Make a reservation at The Grill Room.
Tupelo Honey, Raleigh, North Carolina
This Southern chain cooks up the classics with a soul food twist. The menu includes spinach dip with collards and pimento cheese nachos. Their Southern fried chicken BLT and sweet tea is another can’t-miss combo. Make a reservation at Tupelo Honey.
Charleston, Baltimore, Maryland
For a more refined take on Southern cuisine, head to this Harbor East mainstay. Diners choose between three to six courses from a prix-fixe menu with wine pairing options. Cornmeal-fried oysters, shrimp and grits, and sweetbread en cocotte are among the highlights here. Make a reservation at Charleston.
Root & Bone, Miami, Florida
Top Chef alums Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth serve up “honest Southern food” at their Shelborne South Beach location. The focus is on local, garden-to-table ingredients to create offerings like Grandma Daisy’s angel biscuits, drunken deviled eggs, and fried chicken brined in sweet tea and covered in Tabasco honey. Make a reservation at Root & Bone.
Sac-a-lait, New Orleans, Louisiana
Fresh off their new Food Network show Cajun Aces, Sam and Cody Carroll are back at their Warehouse District restaurant. Located in an old cotton mill, Sac-a-Lait and its appointments were all designed and handcrafted by the chefs and their families. The chefs pay homage to their Cajun and Acadian roots serving up dishes like alligator and mirliton, crawfish tourtiere, and pig’s ear. Make a reservation at Sac-a-Lait.
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Katie Lockhart is a Brooklyn-based food and travel writer. When she’s not writing, she’s eating her way around the world and posting it all on her Instagram @findyourhappyplate and blog findyourhappyplate.co.
Photo credits: Max Cusimano (DTB); Foreman Wolf (Charleston); Andrea Behrends (Marsh House); Taylor Wallace (Bocado).