At the center of African American celebrations is food and the value of sharing. Soul food is often on the menu. The term became popular in the 1960s, but the origins of this flavorful cuisine can be traced back to Africa and to a lesser extent, Europe. Many of the recipes were passed along orally between generations and these days, some chefs are riffing on the traditional ingredients to reinvent the soulful experience. – Kim Kuhteubl
1714 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90047
675 E. University Drive Carson CA 90746
Since 1965, this family restaurant’s recipes have been handed down from generation to generation. Bertha’s is a favorite for folks who grew up on the South Side and is known for its chittlins, oxtails and gravy, mac & cheese, fried chicken and chicken dumplings. Ask for the Famous Mistake Cake, this chocolate layer cake was one of the owners tasty accidents.
2638 South Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90016
Chef Marilyn Cole’s take-out express offers soul food staples like oxtails, catfish, macaroni and cheese, smothered pork chops and beef brisket. The chef who has been serving the city for 23 years believes in giving back to the community and so once a month, every item on the menu is 99 cents.
Natural Soul Food
1444 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90062
What was once a storefront drug house has been transformed into a 3-building community complex, including this not-for-profit cafe. You pay “what your tastebuds say”, meaning you donate the price of your meal based on how much you enjoyed it. The menu includes: soul fries, honey baked chicken wings, mush blush nuggets and whole kernel cornbread, among others. All proceed go to Nature’s Hotline, an organization that reaches out to schools in south los angeles to help lift up the lives of parents, children and teachers.
555 North El Camino Real, Suite E
San Clemente, CA 92672
Tel (949) 361-2855
Named after the owner’s grandmother, chef Christopher Starr creates haute southern dishes based on concepts and cooking technqiues that represent flavors of the south. Three course dinners include specialties like Brie Beignet Salad, Bourbon French Onion Soup, Dry Rubbed BBQ Chicken or wedge salad with remoulade vinaigrette, cajun poached shrimp and hard boiled quail eggs. Enjoy your meal while listening to live blues music Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
The Cobbler Lady
3854 Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90008
You’ll be feasting on 7-Up cakes, teacakes, sweet potato pies and peach, blackberry or cherry cobblers at this bakery cafe in Leimert Park. LA native Pamela Wright is known for making a cobbler that isn’t too sweet and has a extra layer of soft, hand-made crust in the middle. She also makes tea cakes which are hard to find. The cross between a cookie and a biscuit tastes like sweet nostalgia for some customers. Lunch is also served and diabetic options are also available.
Gram’s Mission BBQ
3527 Main St. Riverside CA 92501
Gumbo, Creole-style succotash, and Étouffée — a Cajun dish similar to gumbo — are just a few of the dishes on the menu at Gram’s. A Riverside favorite for 23 years, liver and onion and smothered pork chops are staples, along with their catfish, porkchop or steak breakfast.
The Commons At Chino Hills 4665 Chino Hills Parkway, Suite I Chino Hills, CA 91709
People sit at counters surrounding stainless steel jacketed kettles at this Cajun and Creole restaurant, as chef’s prepare food tailored to suite your spice comfort-level. Gumbo, jambalaya and pan roasts — lobster, crab and clam — are just a few of the items that make this Inland Empire restaurant a popular spot.