Celebrate National Southern Food Day at these CT spots

Southern food may not be as popular in Connecticut as pizza and seafood, but you'll still find gems around the state serving craveable, soulful dishes.

As National Southern Food Day comes up on Jan. 22, get your fill of fried chicken, mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, gumbo, collard greens and indulgent desserts at these Southern and soul food spots across the state. 

Black-Eyed Sally's

Black-Eyed Sally's, the Southern kitchen and bar mainstay in downtown Hartford, couples its barbecue offerings with a variety of down-South favorites like fried and blackened catfish, po'boy sandwiches, low country shrimp and grits, gumbo and jambalaya. Mardi Gras is always a celebration at this spot, with live music, Hurricane cocktails and Abita beer from Louisiana.

350 Asylum St., 860-278-7427, @blackeyedsallys.



A fried shrimp po’boy, made with Gulf shrimp and served with tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato and fries, from Roux Cajun Eatery in Simsbury

A fried shrimp po’boy, made with Gulf shrimp and served with tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato and fries, from Roux Cajun Eatery in Simsbury

Leeanne Griffin

Roux’s menu spans the greatest hits you’d expect from a Bayou State native: Gulf shrimp and grits, po’boy sandwiches with fried shrimp, ham and cheese or andouille sausage; a muffuletta with housemade olive salad and traditional bread from New Orleans’ Gambino’s Bakery. 

The menu offers a “Cajun sampler” with three cups of staples: chicken and sausage gumbo and jambalaya, and then customers' choice of crawfish etouffee, shrimp and grits, seafood gumbo, corn and shrimp soup, French onion soup, or red beans and rice.

10 Wilcox St., 860-217-9195, @rouxcajuneatery. 

Soul Tasty

Chicken and waffles is served at Soul Tasty in Stamford, Conn. Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz celebrated Black History Month by visiting Soul Tasty, a Black-owned restaurant in Stamford, and encouraging consumers to shop local and support Black-owned businesses.

Chicken and waffles is served at Soul Tasty in Stamford, Conn. Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.

Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media

Jean Gabriel opened the Stamford soul food spot in 2016, offering Southern biscuits and waffles at breakfast and "tasty plates" like shrimp and grits, Southern fried chicken, smothered pork chops and sides like dirty rice, collard greens and candied yams. A decadent dessert list features peach cobbler, sweet potato pie and banana pudding.

Bayou BBQ & Grill
New London

At New London’s Bayou BBQ & Grill, diners will find Cajun, Tex-Mex and barbecue dishes all under one roof. Cajun-Creole dishes include specialties like gumbo (a classic chicken and andouille version, and seafood filé with okra, fish stock, shrimp and seasonal fish), along with red beans and rice, pan-blackened Bayou catfish and shrimp and andouille sausage grits. 

221 Shaw St. 860-326-7947, @BayouNewLondon.


My Wife Didn't Cook
New Britain

The New Britain soul food restaurant opened in 2019, offering wings, fried shrimp, catfish, fried whiting, pork chops and "soul food" egg rolls stuffed with chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens, sweet yams and cabbage. 

89 West Main St., 860-259-6987, @facebook.com/mywifedidntcook1.


Sandra's Next Generation
New Haven

At Sandra's Next Generation, Sandra Pittman, who credits her mother with "all that I am and all that I know as a cook," treats her guests to fried chicken, pork ribs and chops, whiting, catfish and shrimp. Plates feature one or two choices of entree, with sides like Caribbean rice, fried plantains, okra, mac and cheese and black-eyed peas. Save room for indulgent desserts like sweet potato pie, coconut pineapple cake and red velvet cake.

636 Congress Ave., 203-787-4123, facebook.com/sandrasnextgeneration.


Craig's Kitchen

Owner Craig Wright's popular soul food spot is an east of the river destination for chicken and waffles, pork chops, wings and fried catfish, and he's even been selected to help cater both of Gov. Ned Lamont's inaugural celebrations. Wright is also a philanthropist, organizing fundraisers, donations and hosting an annual Thanksgiving dinner for people in need.

13 West Main St., 860-871-6099, facebook.com/craigskitchen860.


Soul Bowls

The entrepreneurs behind Soul Bowls dreamed up a fast-casual soul food spot, with build-your-own bowls starting with a base of rice, protein and two sides. Options include fried chicken bites, pernil and shrimp, with sides of mac and cheese, candied yams, collard greens and mixed vegetables. Soul Bowls also offers "soul rolls," with fillings like chicken, mac and cheese and yams encased in a crispy egg roll wrapper.

489 Wethersfield Ave., @soulbowl860.


Miss Thelma's Soul Food

Miss Thelma's Southern menu, influenced by Caribbean flavors, features plates like fried and grilled fish, fried chicken with collard greens and candied yams, chopped BBQ and sides like black eyed peas, potato salad and mac and cheese. Brunch plates include chicken or fried shrimp with waffles and shrimp or salmon with grits. 

140 Fairfield Ave., 203-337-9957, @miss_thelmas.


Walrus Alley

The Southern-inspired restaurant is known for its barbecue (maple bourbon baby back ribs, brisket, sweet mustard BBQ pulled pork) — but also hush puppies, shrimp and grits, Southern fried chicken with honey sriracha syrup and buttermilk-brined chicken thighs with Alabama white sauce. 

90 Post Road East, 203-333-2733, @walrusalley.


Everybody Eatz

Food sold at Everybody Eatz on  3927 Main Street in Bridgeport.

Food sold at Everybody Eatz on  3927 Main Street in Bridgeport.

Everybody Eatz / Contributed

"Where gourmet meets soul," is the slogan for Everybody Eatz, Tyre Holman's new soul food spot on Main Street. Holman started his business at home in 2019, and celebrated the grand opening of his first dine-in restaurant in mid-January.

Everybody Eatz offers dinners with proteins like fried chicken, shrimp, NY steak, lobster tail, salmon, lamb chops and ribs, with choices of sides like mac and cheese and yams. Box meals include a choice of protein with fries. 

3927 Main St., everybodyeatz.dine.online.

- Jailene Cuevas