I haven’t written a restaurant post in a while so I thought it was time I do one! Last weekend I fulfilled all my southern food desires and ate at Saw’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale (an up-and-coming neighborhood in Birmingham). There are actually three Saw’s in Birmingham: the original Saw’s BBQ (strictly barbecue), Saw’s Soul Kitchen (‘cue, along with other traditional southern dishes) and Saw’s Juke Joint (‘cue, Southern dishes, and the only location with a bar).
I went to the original Saw’s one of my first few weeks down here in Birmingham and it was delicious. Birmingham is known for their unique white barbecue sauce, eaten with barbecue chicken. I’d heard Saw’s had a great one so I opted for the smoked chicken sandwich and it did not disappoint.
Last weekend, I finally had the chance to go to Saw’s Soul Kitchen. I’d heard fabulous reviews and I was dying to try it. Saw’s Soul Kitchen is known for its combinations of traditional Southern foods, like a Fried Soft Shell Crab BLT or Southern Soul Bowls. But their most popular specialty is the Pork ‘n Greens – a delicious combination of grits, collard greens, sauced pulled pork and crispy fried onions. It was literally the most down-home Southern dishes you can think of combined into one plate – and it was so good! I don’t even really like grits and I loved it! I never would have thought I’d eat all those things together in one dish, but Saw’s is great for coming up with these creations and making them work.
Since being in Alabama (and working with Southern Living – what do you expect) I’ve really embraced all things Southern. I grew up in the South, but my family isn’t very Southern (my mom is from New York and my dad is from Missouri). I never ate grits or collards when I was younger, and I certainly never said “y’all”. I don’t like country music and I don’t have a Southern accent. It wasn’t until I moved to a city that truly embraces and celebrates all aspects of Southern culture that I really fell in love with it. Being in my hometown of Hickory, NC (affectionately called Hicktown by some), all I wanted was to get out of the South. Hickory didn’t have a sense of culture like the ‘Ham does. It was just a small town in the South, with a majority of the people having bad Southern accents and no desire to ever leave Hickory. But here in Birmingham, to be Southern is classy and trendy, and people love it. And I have grown to love it too. I mean how else could you get me to eat grits and collards? They’re good, y’all! 😉
Anyway, enough of my musing. I can’t wait to try Saw’s Juke Joint next – and I’m definitely going to have to go back to Soul Kitchen to try the Soft Shell Crab BLT!