Friday, February 15, 2013

southern food in the city...

Recently a new Southern transplant wrote into the blog asking for Southern food recommendations.  Where do I go when I get homesick and I need a taste of home?  Who has a good sweet tea and what's my favorite bar-b-que?

Ok...this is really embarrassing, but I couldn't answer any of the questions.  I asked my husband...he was only marginally more helpful with a bar-b-que recommendation or two.  How could that be???  What happened? Have I lost touch with my Southern roots after ten years in this big crazy city?  Am I becoming...dare I say it...a Yankee!?! (said only the way that Blanche Devereaux could on The Golden Girls...) no no!  We cannot let that happen.  The City is where I spread my wings but the South is where my roots will stay firmly planted!  And as Forrest Gump said, that's all I have to say about that.
I decided to remedy this situation by doing a little research.  The great thing about be a Southerner in this great big city is that there are about a kajillion of us running around talking about college football and looking for grits at the grocery store. (Turns out they are in the ethnic/exotic food section, if you were wondering. )  I guess it's true what they say about birds of a feather because I think I know about half of them...even my pilates instructor is Southern.  (Watch out New York: we are taking over.  hehehe )
So since so many of my friends are Southern, I asked them:  Where do they go for a taste of home?

It didn't take much prompting to get most of my friends to after a few chats and a little investigation on my part, I found plenty of places that are bound to satisfy one's craving while waiting to return to the South for the real stuff...

Pies'n'Thighs in Brooklyn has chicken biscuits and a fried catfish lunch box, not to mention pies and sweet tea.  Yum Yum!
In just a moment I'll be heading over to Bob White Counter--my new favorite place--for a grilled pimento cheese sandwich and banana pudding...two of my most favorite things ever!  Ever!
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Brother Jimmy's.  The BFF and I went for sweet tea and fried pickles every Sunday for our first three months in New York.  It was just what we needed to get us through that first winter and soothe our homesick hearts.  I also love the fried green tomatoes and cornbread, and a few of my friends swear by their pulled pork sandwich.

Speaking of pulled pork, let's move on the bar-b-que...I'll be honest, I know nothing about good bar-b-que but I have a lot of friends who do.  They all tell me--my husband included--that there really isn't a place just like home in New York. (I have a feeling that is because we were all raised in different parts of the South.  And as you know, every state has a different BBQ tradition, and everybody thinks theirs is the best...but what do I know??)
If you like Texas style bar-b-que, head over to Hill Country for larger than life portions and sweet tea.  Also, be sure to try their sister restaurant Hill Country Chicken for some delicious fried chicken and a Texas sized selection of fresh made pies.
Most of my friends say that Blue Smoke is the place to go, and my hubs agrees.  With a little from the Carolinas, Memphis, Texas and Kansas City you're bound to find a taste of something you they have deviled eggs, something I can actually speak about as I LOVE them. And theirs are yummy--I've had my fair share!
And lastly, head up to Harlem for Dinosaur BBQ.  While not a southern style joint, my people tell me it passes the test, so I put it on the list.

And I can't forget to mention the next two.  They remind me of restaurants in Charleston or Savannah with their easy going vibe and twists on a classic Southern menu: 
Tipsy Parson, has boiled peanuts on the snack menu, and since my grandfather was a peanut farmer, this restaurant scores big with me.  And, I mean, who doesn't just love that name???  I could say it over and over.
At Seersucker in Brooklyn the chef, an Arkansas native, uses local ingredients to create meals and an atmosphere with a Southern vibe.  It's a must try.   

And then there were other recommendations from the friends too...these aren't necessarily Southern food joints but they do serve up good comforting food that warms the soul just like your grandma's cookin'.  And let's be honest, sometimes that's all you need:
Buttermilk Channel and Egg are both in Brooklyn and have brunches that are worth making the trip across the river if you're a Manhattanite. One good friend used to frequent Good Enough to Eat on the Upper West Side for a daily dose of comfort food, and D and I find ourselves at Bubby's in TriBeCa for brunch at least once a month...their pancakes are my downfall.  And last but not least, Northern Spy Food Co. and Back Forty both have great farm to table menus that everyone will love. 

So now that I am feeling (slightly) more helpful than before, I can call myself a Southerner once again!  In the words of my ancestors, Yeehaw y'all!  (I don't think any of my ancestors actually ever said that, but whatevs.) 

And remember these recommendations are just that: great places recommended by my great friends, so if you disagree tell me where we should be eating instead.  Or if you decide to try something from the list above, be sure to tell me about your experience.  This Southern girl likes to hear what you think! 



  1. In my spare time, I sometimes google "biscuits nyc." I daydream about Pies 'n' Thighs most days. The chicken biscuit is the bomb (think hot sauce & honey butter slathered on fried chicken on a fluffy buttery biscuit...drool). Both the Hill Countries are pretty good too. I've been wanting to try Buttermilk Channel & Seersucker.

  2. I love a good biscuit! As a matter of fact, I make biscuits and eggs for breakfast almost every weekend...they aren't my nanny's but it's all I've got :) D is obsessed with the chicken biscuit from Pies'n'Thighs...I feel so out of the loop!
    Want to hear about Seersucker and Buttermilk Channel when you make the trip. They both sound awesome!