Located in the shadow of Turner Field, cozy Phipps Cafe looks out of place in the re-built Summerhill neighborhood with its perfect, pastel townhomes. But the squat little building has home-cooked character and some of the best soul food around.
The restaurant squeezes fewer than 10 tables between orange walls, oversized family photos and a counter. Servers are cheery and helpful, quick to answer a question or get an extra scoop of this or that. I could do without the blaring TV. During two separate lunch experiences, "All My Children" got on all our last nerves as the complicated dramas that originated sometime before my birth continued to unfold at high decibels.
Finger-lickin': You can't put your fingers in your ears to block out the TV because you'll be too busy licking the barbecue sauce off them. A half-rack ($5.99 with one side/$6.99 with two) is dunked in a vat of barbecue sauce to coat the charred ribs (or have it on the side). The pink, tender meat is thick on the bone and oh-so-sweet. Saturday, the ribs (or barbecue chicken) are served as a lunch special for $4.99 ($5.99 for dinner), an amazing deal with two vegetable sides, cornbread and a drink.
Take your pick: Looking at the menu, it's hard to decide where you want to dive in. After you've sampled, it doesn't get any easier. The fried and baked chicken are both buttery and moist, and you can get a side of 'cue to dip either in. There's oxtails, pork chops, even shrimp and crab. Don't pass up the hearty seafood gumbo. The mix of okra, tomatoes, spicy pork sausage, crawfish, shrimp and salty, chunky crab parts is rich and filling (small, $2.75/large, $3.50). The cornbread is great for sopping it all up.
On the side: I'm a sucker for starch, and the creamy, peppered mashed potatoes covered in a dark, brown gravy hit the spot. Unfortunately, the macaroni and cheese was a bit dry from sitting in a steam tray too long (as was the cornbread on one occasion), but you may have better luck. Green beans, corn and collards all passed muster. If you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, a helping of the peach cobbler ($1.50) is syrupy sweet.
Good mornin': A line forms early for breakfast. The breakfast special ($2.99) includes grits, plain or cheese scrambled eggs,
a handful of bacon, a biscuit, and coffee or juice. The grits were warm and grease-free, the eggs light and fresh. I was surprised to get four strips of crisp, salty bacon as part of the deal when some other restaurants would charge that much for the bacon alone. I mixed it all together like my daddy always does, and ate it down as fast as I could.
Thanks. I guess there are some caul fat haters on this board. I like the…
not only is this a well written article, it makes me want to go out…
Breakfast with Santa, something great for the kids.
@TheGorgeousJR: "[It is] very inexpensive; we sell it at the shop. You can get it…
Where can you buy caul fat?