Best Of 2016

Best Soul Food: Chow Chow Kitchen

What’s “soul food” anyway? If pressed, I guess we would say that it is food traditionally prepared and enjoyed by African Americans living in the South — an “edible jazz” borne out of economic necessity. But food this good could not be contained, and with Northern places like Chow Chow picking up the torch, we’re all eating better because of it. This Lakewood outfit is largely take-out, allocating its resources more toward food than service staff or a booze license. That food includes soul-soothing items like smoky gumbo with okra and rice, buttermilk fried chicken with macaroni and cheese, biscuits and gravy, Nashville hot chicken dripping with hot sauce, crispy fried catfish with creamy slaw, and ice-cold sweet tea to wash it all down. My word, we must be in heaven.

14201 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-712-4126,

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