Even though the term wasn't coined until the 1960s, soul food is an American tradition, especially in the South. Dishes such as hominy and grits, corn bread, black-eyed peas, collard greens, and chitterlings remind Americans of home and family and comfort. Here are seven spots in the Valley ready to fill our soul food void.
Christian Buze (also known as Chef Buzz), the grandson of the famed Mrs. White, has put his family's soul food on the road with a brightly painted food truck that makes regular stops throughout the Valley. Along with his partner, Beatrice "Bee" Bullock, the two serve up soul food classics like fried chicken, catfish, seven-cheese mac 'n' cheese, greens, and yams, in addition to rotating dishes with a global touch, like Indian coconut curry and Jamaican jerk chicken.
Billing itself as "the best all-around upscale urban cafe in Central Phoenix," this small bar and restaurant serves live music, karaoke, and drink specials along with soul food and Southern hospitality. Check out dishes like catfish and fried chicken served up with sides of fried cabbage with bacon, greens, and mac 'n' cheese.
This casual bar and restaurant in downtown Phoenix specializes in soul food, live jazz, and DJs. Enjoy a cocktail (or a glass of grape Kool-Aid) with catfish nuggets, smothered pork chops in homemade gravy, or Southern-fried chicken with collard greens and black-eyed peas. Don't miss desserts like red velvet cake, banana pudding, and peach cobbler.
Owner of defunct downtown soul food fave Stacy's, Stacy Phipps' new joint in Sunnyslope may be small and in need of renovations, but the menu still boasts a solid selection of wallet-friendly favorites like catfish, fried chicken, okra, and sweet potato fries in addition to Phipps' barbecue slathered in his rich, sugary sauce. Enjoy a favorite to go, or eat on the outdoor patio, and bring the green -- for now, this Pit Stop is cash- only.
Stacy Phipps says he's no longer involved with the original location of Stacy's Smokehouse, the purple building in Central Phoenix where he relocated from Jefferson Street in 2008. Phipps' wife is now overseeing the business and keeping the name, but the food is still made from his recipes. In addition to the 'cue, there's crunchy fried catfish, greens, mac 'n' cheese, hush puppies, and fried chicken at fill-you-up affordable prices. (Cash only.)
Since she arrived in Arizona from Texas to help her brother run a church and cafe, Mrs. Elizabeth White's turned her name, her home-style soul food, and her observance of the golden rule into a Valley legend. Fast-forward 50 years and you can still find the tastemaker at her restaurant, baking peach cobblers and pies and overseeing perfect platefuls of smothered fried chicken, succulent pork chops, ox tails, and pond-raised catfish. On the weekends, look for okra gumbo.
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Larry White Jr., nephew of famous Mrs. White, knows the only thing that can make his fried chicken more delicious is when it's drenched in Red Rooster hot sauce and paired with bites of syrup-drenched waffles. And at his homemade soul food haven (with locations in Central Phoenix and Scottsdale), those who forgo their diets can enjoy White's signature dish along with luscious catfish, red snapper, greens, mac 'n' cheese, red velvet cake, and real-deal banana pudding made with vanilla wafers.
And check out our other lists: 7 Favorite Soul Food Places 10 Favorite Sangrias 7 Favorite Paleteria 10 Favorite Breakfast Places 10 Favorite International Markets 10 Favorite Spots for Crepes in Greater Phoenix 11 Favorite Phoenix Beers 10 Favorite Spots for Seafood in Greater Phoenix 10 Favorite Gelato Spots 10 Favorite Burrito Joints in Metro Phoenix 10 Favorite Spots for Wings in Metro Phoenix 11 Things to Eat and Drink Before You Leave Phoenix Ten Favorite Phoenix Hot Sauces and Salsas Top Ten Spots for Mac 'n' Cheese in the Valley Three Favorite Espresso Shots in Metro Phoenix Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Farmers' Markets Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Eleven Favorite Favorite Places for Sushi in the Valley Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Cupcakes Eleven Favorite Barbecue Joints in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Wine Bars Ten Favorite Phoenix Irish Restaurant & Pubs Six Favorite Specialty Cocktails in Phoenix Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Craft Beer Bars Ten Favorite Gourmet Pizza Shops in the Valley Five Favorite Japanese Restaurants in Phoenix Ten Favorite Margaritas in Metro Phoenix Ten Favorite Coffee Shops in Phoenix Five Favorite Thai Restaurants in Metro Phoenix Eleven Favorite Ice Cream Shops in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Phoenix Happy Hours Five Favorite Sonoran Dogs in the Valley Ten Favorite Hot Dogs in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Desserts in Phoenix Ten Favorite First Date Restaurants Ten Favorite Burgers in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Downtown Phoenix Restaurants for Late Night Dining Ten Favorite Vegetarian Entrees in Metro Phoenix Ten Favorite Chinese Restaurants in Greater Phoenix
All our favorites lists also are available on our Best Of app -- see it in action here.