Soul Food is one of the most recognizable forms of cuisine in America.
The food genre is commonly recognized as the “comfort food” of Black Americans, but its flavors have inspired and influenced our entire nation.
Created during the dark days of enslavement, the food features tastes from both West African and Native American cuisine.
In Detroit, the beloved flavors of soul food were brought to the city mainly during the Great Migration of the 1940s and 50s when hundreds of thousands of Detroiters immigrated from the deep south in search of a better life. Many of these Detroiters would go on to start businesses selling their unique family recipes creating a legacy of delicious soul food restaurants in the city.
Visit Detroit has compiled a list of some of the best soul food restaurants in Detroit and to make it easy for you…we've ranked them by price point. You can choose from the most affordable, mid-range, and top-tier.
But, in a category, all it's own is Steve's Soul Food.
Open for nearly four decades, it is the most legendary soul food restaurant with a rich history and legacy. While the pandemic shut the restaurant down for nearly two years, it has returned to the delight of all. You can find Steven Radden at 1440 Franklin St, Detroit, MI, in the brick-and-mortar location. The restaurant also has a couple food trucks that can be occasionally spotted around town. Steve's has great BBQ and the side dishes are always amazing.
Motor City Soul Food, Three Locations.
12700 W Seven Mile Rd, 24790 Greenfield Rd, 14830 Telegraph Rd, Redford Charter Twp, MI
With food set up buffet style behind steamy glass, Motor City Soul Food is a Detroit favorite. The Seven Mile location is the original and some say the best tasting. The macaroni and cheese here is some of the best in the city. Try the baked turkey breast and candied yams too.
Me & My Girls Soul Food
19416 Van Dyke Ave, Detroit, MI
Reviewers say that the meatloaf at this family-owned business is some of the best in the city. Try it with red beans and rice and candied yams. Me & My Girls also has great lunch specials that have smaller plates that still pack big flavor.
Uptown Barbeque and Soul Food
15700 Livernois, Detroit, MI
Uptown BBQ & Soul Food has been serving up the Metro-Detroit area with mouth-watering BBQ & delicious Soul Food for over 31 years. They have expanded our menu throughout the years to ensure that everyone who passes through their doors is pleasantly surprised by the variety.
Three locations: Eastern Market: 2051 Gratiot Ave, Northwest Detroit: 13505 W Seven Mile Rd, Farmington Hills: 29216 Orchard Lake Rd.
This Louisiana-inspired Detroit classic opened in 1970 and features a gumbo recipe that goes back generations. The seafood creole is a seafood lovers delight stuffed with steamed shrimp, oysters, and crabmeat. The classic jambalaya is also a favorite. Louisiana Creole also offers several vegetarian options.
Chef Anthony has cooked for dozens of celebrities and after tasting his food, its easy to see why. Faustina's serves up delicious traditional flavors as well as a few creole dishes like shrimp and beef jambalaya and Moonie's jerk chicken which is highly recommended. The menu is named after family members and that connection somehow makes every meal taste even better.
The Soulfood Shawarma Bistro
16353 E Warren Ave
This unique restaurant combines several Detroit flavors--shawarma and soul food. Try the original soul food shawarma with grilled chicken, black-eyed peas, collard greens, and rice. The seafood shawarma has lobster, crab, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, celery, scallions, dill, & basil.
Urban Soul is a family-style restaurant serving Southern dishes in an inviting setting.
Using the freshest and finest ingredients to satisfy your palette Urban Soul wants to
provide quality food with a home-style experience to the community. Most meals are created a la carte. Try the chicken breast either grilled or fried with the classic side combination of mac & cheese and collard greens.
Detroit Soul offers down-home cuisine with down-South hospitality to all the souls in our community using locally sourced farm-fresh food and health-fortifying cooking methods--and at affordable prices. This restaurant also offers catering and their website is filled with five-star reviews. Try a mini-meal that comes with one side or stop by on Saturday for a BBQ special.
Cornbread is the sequel to Beans & Cornbread. They have been serving the heart and soul of southern cooking since 1997. This award-winning soul food restaurant fuses southern roots with an epicurean influence in traditional favorites and low-country cuisine. GQ even named them one of America’s “new classic” restaurants. The restaurant is family-friendly. Try the gumbo!
With a beautiful aesthetic and strict dress code, Savannah Blue is a great place to meet up for delicious food and craft cocktails. The menu offers contemporary northern soul food with fresh ingredients prepared with southern flavors. Try Warm Crab Dip: Crab Fondue, Louisiana hot sauce, parmesan, mascarpone, panko, fried wontons. For your entree, try the red wine braised oxtail is served over saffron cheddar risotto, herbed haricots verts, and crispy root vegetables.
A moody, elevated and soulful neighborhood cocktail & small plates destination on Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion--Petty Cash features a seasonal & eclectic menu with locally sourced ingredients as well as one-of-a-kind craft cocktails, Petty Cash invites patrons from the surrounding neighborhood and beyond to our lush and elegant space with indoor and outdoor dining and a variety of small and large bites.
This restaurant is also a nightspot with events several times a week. Nested in the heart Detroit’s eastside, Southern Fire Bistro and Lounge has become staple for upscale dining and parties and has a strict dress code which they describe as "no effort, no entry." Southern Fire Bistro and Lounge recently completed a fresh overhaul. The redesign features ambient lighting, lovely padded seats, and updated modern décor to set the mood for any intimate dinner or party.
Also a well-known nightspot, you are likely to see anyone who's anyone at Flood's. They have been serving up some of the city's best drinks and soul food since 1987. They advise that locals and visitors alike (who are 21+) are welcome to stop in for drink specials during happy hour or enjoy entertainment from live bands and some of the city's hottest DJs. As far as the food goes, the fried lobster is a crowd-pleaser and comes with a delectable butter sauce. All their meals come with two sides and they offer the classic "Big 3" mac & cheese, collard greens, and candied yams.
For over 30 years, Bert's Marketplace has served food and preserved black history in Detroit. This multipurpose space is known for events, live music, and delicious food in Eastern Market. When you enter from Russell Street, Bert's Marketplace in Eastern Market looks like a standard restaurant with an adjacent bar. But as you go deeper into the 24,000-square-foot complex, you come across a huge venue and stage, another bar, murals, plaques, memorabilia, and a museum. Bert's is one of the best spots in the city to catch a live comedy show--and the BBQ is divine.