Black owned restaurants bring Southern flavor up the Mississippi
March 13, 2023
Food is universal—something that everyone, regardless of culture, origin, or location, has in common. It crosses all borders and brings communities together through their shared love for food.
Southern meets foodie at Handsome Hog
Handsome Hog is a contemporary Southern restaurant owned by Iron Chef winner and Top Chef contestant Justin Sutherland. Although he originally trained in French cuisine, Sutherland returned to his Southern roots when opening his first restaurant, the Handsome Hog.
It features a pork-centric menu with classic ingredients from the South. He uses his professional experience to transform traditional dishes like sliders, hush puppies, and poutine into elevated cuisine. Southern hush puppies are made of cornmeal-based batter in the shape of balls that are deep-fried and are served as a side dish accompanying seafood.
It features a pork-centric menu with classic ingredients from the South.
All menu items are on the pricier side; an appetizer with three hush puppies was $9 and the sausage gravy poutine was $11.
The walls are covered in pig-themed images and fresh flowers are placed on each table. Considering the interior decorations and menu items, you are paying more for the experience rather than a simple meal.
Comfort food is on the menu at Taste of Rondo
Taste of Rondo Bar & Grill is a community-based restaurant serving soul food dishes in St. Paul. The story of the Rondo neighborhood is filled with obstacles and hardships dating back to the 1900s, but their hardships are what preserved the vibrant and dynamic culture creating the restaurant as it is today.
There is never a dull moment at Taste of Rondo; they hold scheduled live music performances featuring local artists and the lively conversations held there really make it feel like a community.
The customer favorite Cajun Catfish is served battered or blackened and is always the fresh catch of the day. Their side menu features cornbread with spiced honey making it a sweet addition to any meal. Each dish incorporates old family recipes making the whole experience feel comforting and familiar, like visiting a friend’s house for dinner.
Nashville Coop serves up the heat
Nashville Coop serves authentic Nashville-style hot chicken strips and sandwiches. Brothers Arif and Kamal Mohammed started their business as a food truck and opened their first brick and mortar location in St Paul in 2020. Since then, they have opened two more locations in Rochester and Stadium Village.
They have a range of customizable spice levels (Minnesota Nice/no heat – Mini-Coop/mild – Coop/medium – Growlin’/hot – Cluckin’ Hot/24 hour pain). An order of chicken comes with three strips and a side of choice (fries, mac and cheese, or Texas toast) for $13. The strips are crispy with a thin layer of breading and the inside meat is tender and juicy. Sandwiches are two strips of chicken in between a soft buttered bun for $14.
Each order comes with pickles, coleslaw, and house sauce on the side.
Their prices are more expensive than the average fried chicken meal but portions are close to double the size. Each order comes with pickles, coleslaw, and house sauce on the side. Although it won’t blow you away, each meal is well executed with classic flavor combinations.