New Orleans Hot Lunch Joints Are Chock A Block Across Our City

New Orleans Hot Lunch Joints Are Chock A Block Across Our City

The Greek soul food scene in Birmingham has waxed and waned greatly over the years since Niki’s West first opened in the warehouse district out on Finley Avenue in 1957.

While the old colossus is still churning out daily blue plates crammed with fried snapper, sweet corn, and collards, a host of legends have risen and fallen and risen. Nearby Smokehouse most notably suffered through a horrendous five year run when owner Theo Hontzas leased the operation to a bad actor before riding to the rescue and restoring the grand old dame to her former glory

Tim Hontzas, nephew of Gus Hontzas (Niki’s founder) is making a good name for himself in nearby Homewood with his Johnny’s Restaurant, a quintessential Greek soul food meat and three. We visited recently and filed this report.

Shannon’s Cafe, the “longest running soul food restaurant in the Brazos Valley” (est.1971) is moving on up. Next time we’re in Bryan, Texas we’re going to mosey on over for a plate of oxtails and macaroni and cheese. Let’s hope nobody’s serving up the Brazos Valley Backbreaker.

Toriano and Serena Fredericks of Boricua Soul tackle the question of authenticity in soul food with a provocation.

Funkadelic famously inquired “what is soul?” Rachel and Ivan Minnis speak eloquently on soul food’s royal green vegetable: collard greens. and Funkadelic answered their own question with “soul is a joint rolled in toilet paper”

The Gray Lady sits down with Dave Hoekstra, author of “The People’s Place,” a fresh documentation of USA’s soul food scene. This book is not a recitation of restaurants or a leaflet filled with reviews. It goes a lot deeper.

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