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Soulful Southern Cooking Alive & Well in Indy

#Indianapolis — A new restaurant on the city’s northwest side is getting a lot of buzz lately. Georgia Reese’s Southern Table & Bar was recently opened by former Indianapolis Colt Gary Brackett. But Indianapolis has been home to southern cooking long before Brackett served up his first bowl of alligator gumbo. 

Soul food at the Kountry KitchenTake Kountry Kitchen on College Avenue in Indianapolis for example. A look at the “wall-of-fame” unveils every notable sports or Hollywood luminary to come through Indianapolis – including U.S. Presidents – who have stopped by the Kitchen for their peach cobbler or a salmon patty. But my visit here recently helped me to realize it’s the locals who’ve kept the place sizzling since it opened in 1988.

The Kitchen’s idea of southern cooking doesn’t just feature the expected fried chicken and grits. It also celebrates veggies like okra (make sure to eat it with a dash of salt and tabasco sauce) and the tried-and-true neck bones. 
My server could tell I was experimenting so she brought an order of mac-n-cheese for me to enjoy -on the house! It was a sweet mac-n-cheese, which I was unsure of at first, but soon had gobbled up. While the Kountry Kitchen is an Indianapolis institution that’s risen above its neighborhood fence-line, what actually qualifies its menu as “soul” or “southern?” As the owners explain, their food and long-time recipes are what they are: “good for the soul.”

There are other great soul food/southern cooking establishments that also offer friendliness as a main course. Be sure to have your inner adventurer ready to go. Some of these restaurants have locations that might not seem inviting at first glance. Others might encourage you to try something you’ve never considered, like the aforementioned neck bones.

Soulful Southern Food in Indianapolis
1. Mississippi Belle – 2170 E 54th St, Indianapolis, IN 46220  (317) 466-0522
Things to note: Food is served family style and credit cards are not accepted.
2. Maxine’s Chicken and Waffles – 132 North East Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204  (317) 423-3300
Things to note: Don’t be put off by the fact that Maxine’s shares a building with a gas station. The two are completely separate, well, except for their roof. Also, don’t pass on the peach butter.
3. DeeGusto’s Southern Cooking – 1430 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46222 (317) 423-3553
Things to note: Mama Gusto has work to do at home in the evening, so if you want to enjoy her cooking, be sure to get here before she closes up shop at 5:00p.m.
4. Marbles Southern Cookery – 2310 Lafayette Rd Indianapolis, IN 46222 (317) 687-0631
Things to note: If you’re an impatient diner, Marble’s is the place for you. Everything is served cafeteria style.
5. Georgia Reese’s Southern Table & Bar – 3454 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46268  (317) 876-3454
Things to note: Sightings of owner and former Indianapolis Colt Gary Brackett are definitely possible.
6. Kountry Kitchen Soul Food Place – 1831 N. College Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46202 (317) 926-4476
Things to note: This place looks like somewhere you would never go. I find the lack of windows on the exterior to be a little intimidating. But please, gather up your gumption and head on in. Your soul will thank you.