4 Must Try Southern Restaurants

November 08, 2016

4 Must Try Southern Restaurants

by Kathryn Crow

Some people’s idea of a Southern restaurant starts with Popeye’s Chicken and ends with Cracker Barrel. Just because they serve chicken, grits, and pinto beans does not make them the end of southern cuisine.

My favorite restaurants are a bit more chic and way more original. They take the Southern traditions we all know and love and turn them into something for a new generation of foodie fanatics. Find your new favorite dish on the menu of these stellar dining options.


Butchertown Grocery, Kentucky

This old time grocery store turned new time restaurant is a must try in Louisville, KY. With an interior that is a combination of cool nightclub and comfortable living room, this is the perfect place for a night on the town, a romantic date, or a fun get together with friends.

You can try your Southern Favorites in a whole new way at BG.


Chicken and Waffles is one of the most well-known southern combination. But the version you find here is anything but traditional.

Familiar favorites are combined with spicy chilies, savory fried rosemary and fresh mint, tender leeks, and that waffle must have maple syrup into a dish that is stylish, fun, and oh so tasty!




Josephine Estelle, Louisiana

If you find yourself exploring the rich cultural jackpot  of New Orleans, you have to swing through the Ace Hotel and try the delectable menu at Josephine Estelle.

The two chefs who run the show at Josephine Estelle are Chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman. They bring their Italian flare and love of seafood to a new place in New Orleans. There they found a whole new way to cook. ..The southern way!


With a menu overflowing with traditional favorite such as Okra (combined with a cane syrup agrodolce, garlic, chili, lime, and panna gratta), Watermelon Salad (made with fresh summer melons, farmer’s cheese, calabrian honey, prosciutto, mint, and basil), and Chicken Biscuit (competed with calabrian honey, buttermilk biscuit, and fresh fries).

Find the foods that feed the soul twisted in a way that will also tantalize your taste buds at Josephine Estelle!



Photo from www.urbanfoodlife.com/magnolias-charleston

Magnolias, South Carolina

When traditional ingredients meet modern flavors and stylish presentations, you get results that bring southern cooking into the relm of upscale dining. Magnolias is located in Charleston, SC and has a dining space that is bright, cheerful, and perfect for big events or small get togethers. Take your southern loving sweetheart  there on a date and taste southern food reimagined in a whole new way. 

Discover the likes of Boiled Peanut Humus featuring pickled okra, hot pepper relish, and fresh Charleston flatbread. This appetizer will bring boiled peanuts out of the paper bag and onto the plate at a restaurant that has been winning culinary recognition since 1990.


A Southern themed egg roll? Yes! You will find that too at Magnolias. The Down South Egg Roll filled with collard greens, chicken, tasso ham, red pepper purée, spicy mustard, and served alongside a fresh in house made peach chutney.

Eat adventurously when you try the unique dishes at Magnolias and fall in love with your southern kitchen favorites all over again!





Empire State South, Georgia

Do not miss this southern gem the next time you are in Atlanta, GA. Whether you are trying something from the takeout coffee bar, exploring their menus that change daily but always feature the newest takes on the best southern traditions, or snagging a drink at the bar your experience at Empire State South will be one to remember.

With the goal of highlighting the best southern food in the region and turning it into something worthy of international recognition, this restaurant is more than just a restaurant.


Get a start with a Bacon Cheddar Biscuit crumble, some Sweet Potatoes with Nuoc Cham and Rosemary. These dishes will taste familiar but spark your imagination as well.

When it comes time for dessert you can sink your teeth into traditional favorites like Banana Pudding Panna Cotta. This dessert is not your mother’s banana pudding! The richness of the flavors and familiar ingredients are complimented with new ingredients and light touches.

 What's your favorite Southern restaurant? Please let us know in the comments.

Kathryn Crow is a freelance writer who currently lives in Ohio with her family of almost five.

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