Best Southern Food in Memphis

There is nothing quite like the rich flavors of authentic southern cuisine. From turnip greens cooked with bacon and catfish fried in cornmeal batter to sweet candied yams and homemade pecan pie, we know good food in the south. If you are in Memphis and looking for a true taste of the city, the following restaurants can't be beat. They are all casual and kid friendly and they are all reasonably priced.
  • 01 of 05
    Southern Food In Memphis Fried Chicken
    ••• Fried Chicken at Alcenia's. Holly Whitfield
    If you can only dine at one southern dining establishment in Memphis, this is a good one to choose. Alcenia's has become famous around town and beyond for their always-fresh soul food, friendly service, and complimentary hug from the proprietress. The fried pork chops, catfish, fried green tomatoes, and pecan pie are among the local favorites but you really can't go wrong with anything you try here.

    317 N. Main Street
    Memphis, Tennessee 38103
    (901) 523-0200

  • 02 of 05

    Four Way Restaurant

    The Four Way Restaurant is one of Memphis' little gems that shouldn't be missed. This tiny restaurant has been serving up soul food for decades and for good reason--their food is delicious. It was also a meeting place for civil rights leaders in the 1960s. Locals love the fried chicken, turnip greens, and peach cobbler. Oh, and if you like uber-sweet beverages, order the VIP, a combination of lemonade and sweet tea.

    998 Mississippi Blvd
    Memphis, TN 38126

  • 03 of 05
    Gus Fried Chicken
    ••• Photo by Nathan Cardozo, Creative Commons License

    The sign above Gus's Fried Chicken says that it is "world famous" and that may not be too much of an exaggeration. Folks from all over the world have indulged in this spicy and juicy chicken that is native to Memphis. In addition to chicken, you can get the usual assortment of sides but don't miss the seasoned rice and bacon jalapeno hushpuppies.

    310 South Front Street
    Memphis, TN 38103
    215 South Center Street
    Collierville, TN 38017
    (901) 853-6005

  • 04 of 05

    Peggy's Heavenly Home Cooking

    Peggy's puts a twist on southern cooking by making it as healthy as possible. For example, unlike many southern establishments, Peggy doesn't season her vegetables with meat or meat drippings (like bacon grease which is very common). Nevertheless, the food here really is heavenly and the smothered chicken, yams, and German chocolate cake are must-tries.

    326 S Cleveland St
    Memphis, TN 38104
    (901) 474-4938

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Southern Hands doesn't look like a lot of the other places on this list--it's fairly new and housed in a very sanitized looking building. While it may be missing the character of some other down-home restaurants, it is not lacking in flavor. In fact, many locals proclaim the turnip greens here to be the best in town. I'd also advice you try the caramel cake and banana pudding. Yum!

    6025 Winchester Rd
    Memphis, TN 38115

Updated by Holly Whitfield September 2016