You’ve Got to Have Soul
Who remembers the opening scene of the movie Soul Food when the family gathers around the dinner table for a Sunday feast? The table is covered edge to edge with baked chicken, ham, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, collard greens (because those are the best greens), mashed potatoes, dressing, cornbread, and…Need I go on? You get my point. That movie really portrays how African-American families can “throw down” when it comes to cooking soul food!
That’s where my mind wanders this time of year. Unfortunately, everyone can’t cook like Big Mama, the matriarch in the movie. Some are destined only to recreate the soul food experience by dining out at fabulous soul food restaurants like the following soulful places in the Cleveland area.
Zanzibar Soul Fusion brings the down-home flair of good southern cooking with an upscale dining twist to the city of Shaker Heights. The popular Veggie Soul Roll takes plain old egg rolls to another level as these are served stuffed with greens, black beans, roasted corn and topped off with a spicy remoulade sauce. Zanzibar’s Center Cut Pork Chops are prepared grilled and fried, but if you’re going to indulge, go all out by having them fried and smothered in gravy and onions or just go plain overboard at the All You-Can-Eat Sunday Brunch Buffet.
Another hot spot to experience true soul food is Phil the Fire. It’s been a hit since 2001 and is celebrating its new location in Beachwood. Phil the Fire specializes in taking every day comfort foods and turning them into culinary masterpieces. A “must have” is the fabulous Fried Chicken paired with crispy golden Waffles. At Phil’s, no dinner is complete without the mouthwatering Sweet Potato Pie.
Finally, if these Cleveland restaurants were a family, then Angie’s Soul Cafe would be considered the Big Mama of them all. With two locations, one downtown and one on the south side of Cleveland, Angie’s has set the bar on how to “put your foot in it!” Since the late ’70s, Angie has put others to shame with her lip-smacking dishes. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but my favorite is the Saturday Special, Catfish and Waffle with Grits!
These places capture the true essence of southern cuisine. What are some other great restaurants that stir your soul in Ohio?