As a sidebar to his review of the new Manna From Heaven restaurant in St. Pete, Brian Ries has compiled this short but tempting guide to Tampa Bay soul food. Save some collard greens for me!
ATWATER'S CAFETERIA 895 22nd Ave. S., St Petersburg, 727-823-7018. Long the standard for soul food in the Bay area, Atwater's food deserves its reputation — who would have thought that food served from cafeteria steam trays could be this good?
AUNT LEE'S CHICKEN & FISH 1403 N Myrtle Ave., Clearwater, 727-230-1788.
FRANK-EL SOUL FOOD 1441 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa, 813-374-8869. Recently re-opened in a new location, Frank-El features a blend of southern and soul classics in a cafeteria-style setting.
MAMA'S SOUTHERN SOULFOOD RESTAURANT 3919 Tampa St., Tampa, 813-223-4106. The usuals served near the intersection of MLK and Florida Ave. in Seminole Heights.
MANNA FROM HEAVEN 789 34th St. S, St. Petersburg, 727-323-1818. A worthy successor to Shirley's Soul Food, which used to be the occupant of this train-car-turned-diner, Manna serves hearty soul food that ranges from merely satisfying to crave-inducing greatness (order the fried chicken ahead). Read more this week in Brian Ries' four-star review.
NEW SOUL SANDWICH SHOP 518 N. Willow Ave., Tampa, 813-251-3720. Barbecue, cajun crab, oxtail and the usual sides at a place that's been dishing up southern and soul for over four decades.
SOUTHERN GEMS CAFE 9524 Blind Pass Road, St. Petersburg, 727-367-4380. Excellent flapjacks and sausage gravy at breakfast, on your way out to the beaches.
TNT'S SOUTHERN SPICE 3816 N. 29th St., Tampa, 813-247-2540. Known for big ol' waffles piled with crunchy fried chicken, drizzled with maple syrup, this is not your everyday lunch destination in Ybor.