Loveless Cafe BBQ and Eggs
Loveless Cafe

Best Spots for Comfort Food Across the South

View Slideshow
Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more
Loveless Cafe BBQ and Eggs
Loveless Cafe

Guilty Pleasures Galore

"Comfort food" means many things to different people, and it can also look a little different depending on where you travel. Whether you find it at a hole-in-the-wall diner, your favorite family restaurant, or somewhere else, one thing is for sure: It's not usually diet fare. From chicken-fried steak to pizza, cinnamon rolls to poutine, we've tracked down menus throughout the Southern States of the U.S. — a region that's renowned for its comfort food classics — replete with some of the tastiest indulgences you'll find anywhere.

Note: Some restaurants may still have limited service due to the pandemic. Be sure to contact the restaurant before visiting to confirm.

Related: You Have to Try These Famous Sandwiches in Every State

Alabama: Martha's Place

Alabama: Martha's Place

If you want your fill of Southern home cooking, look no further than Martha's Place. A buffet of rotating favorites includes main dishes like chicken and dumplings, turkey and dressing, and liver and onions; sides run the gamut from fried okra and candied yams to sweet potato soufflé and creamed corn.

Popular picks: Don't pass up the fried chicken, and if you haven't stuffed yourself silly, finish with the banana pudding, TripAdvisor reviewers advise.

Stoby's Restaurant, Russellville, Arkansas

Arkansas: Stoby's Restaurant

The yummy food is enough to draw folks to Stoby's, but in Russellville, there's an additional draw: You can sit in a real train car and watch model trains chug by while you eat. And eat you will, whether you want a thick stack of pancakes, an omelet, a burger, or the restaurant's signature sandwich (your choice of bread, three meats, and two cheeses, plus tomato, lettuce and special dressing).

Popular picks: Don't miss the possum pie, an Arkansas classic. (Don't worry — it involves chocolate and whipped cream, actual possums need not apply.)

Related: 54 Under-the-Radar Restaurants with Amazing Homemade Pie

Delaware: Frederica Pizza And Pasta House

Delaware: Frederica Pizza And Pasta House

Pizza and pasta are staple comfort foods for many across the U.S. and Delaware is no exception (and yes, Delaware is technically considered part of the South according to the federal government and the U.S. Census Bureau). At Frederica Pizza and Pasta, in a tiny town just outside of Dover, the gang's all here: calzones, old-school classics like veal parmigiana, pizzas of all stripes, cheesesteaks, subs, and wings.

Popular picks: Unsurprisingly, the pizza is the main crowd pleaser, but if you're lucky, homemade cream puffs will be among the night's dessert selections.

Related: The 50 Best Old-School Italian Restaurants in America

Danny's All-American Diner and Dairy Bar, Tampa, Florida
Carmen P./Yelp

Florida: Danny's All-American Diner And Dairy Bar

Don't drive by this little roadside joint, where you'll find the outdoor seating often crowded with locals. Your food will be served up in foil and white takeout cartons for a modest feast under the trees.

Popular picks: You can't go wrong with a burger and onion rings or a chili dog, devotees say. The Food Network's Guy Fieri recommends the Triple Play burger: It's topped with mojo pork, pastrami, Swiss and American cheese, jalapenos, french-fried onion rings, tomatoes, and mustard.

For more great restaurant guides and dining tips,
please sign up for our free newsletters.

The Colonnade, Atlanta, Georgia
Krystal D./Yelp

Georgia: The Colonnade

This family-owned spot has been serving up Southern home cooking like fried chicken, liver, short ribs, and pot roast in an unpretentious atmosphere since 1927. It attracts a large, diverse crowd, and reviewers say it's best to pass the wait for a table at the friendly, well-stocked bar.

Popular picks: Don't miss the fried chicken, reviewers say — it's the specialty of the house. Traditional sides like collard greens and fried okra also have legions of fans.

Related: Best Fried Chicken in Every State

Greyhound Tavern, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky
Adrianne K./Yelp

Kentucky: Greyhound Tavern

Fort Mitchell
A perennial favorite in northern Kentucky, Greyhound Tavern has been around since 1921, when it served ice cream at the end of the line for Cincinnati street cars. Today it's a family-friendly favorite for lunch and dinner on weekdays; on weekends, an extensive brunch menu is added to the lineup.

Popular picks: The fried chicken might be the most popular dish, but for a regional favorite, try the Hot Brown — that's ham or turkey over toast points, smothered with béchamel, cheddar, bacon, and tomato.

Herby K's, Shreveport, Louisiana

Louisiana: Herby K's

This retro little Shreveport institution proudly calls itself a hole in the wall, and the eclectic ambience inside won't disappoint. Neither will the well-reviewed food, a mix of Cajun, Southern, and old-school diner favorites. The menu is packed with catfish, crab, shrimp, burgers, and po'boys; many evenings also feature oysters on the half shell.

Popular picks: Don't pass up the Shrimp Buster, a house specialty since 1945. You'll get fried shrimp heaped high on buttery French bread, plus fries, coleslaw and a special sauce.

Koco's Pub, Baltimore, Maryland
Monica W./Yelp

Maryland: Koco's Pub

This corner pub is hard to miss, with its bright yellow exterior and parrot-festooned sign and door. It's so popular that reservations are highly recommended, but one look at the homey menu of burgers, wings, ribs, crab cakes, and crab soup may convince you to make the call.

Popular picks: Get the crab cakes, full stop. They're huge, creamy, and trumpeted by many to be the best in Baltimore, or maybe even the state.

The Dinner Bell, McComb, Mississippi

Mississippi: The Dinner Bell

Picture a table of your favorite Southern dishes, like ribs, catfish, okra, yams, dumplings and mac 'n' cheese. Now picture them spinning on that table before you, in a never-ending parade of homestyle goodness. The dream becomes a reality at The Dinner Bell, where giant lazy Susans hold a feast for the entire table, with each dish constantly replenished as it gets low.

Popular picks: Fried eggplant is a staple of each day's menu and a perennial favorite.

Charley's Buffet, Lincoln, Missouri
Brian S./Yelp

Missouri: Charley's Buffet

Tucked away in central Missouri, Charley's is one of those rare mom-and-pop restaurants that is a destination in itself, devotees say. Make the drive and you'll be rewarded with a homemade all-you-can-eat buffet proudly billed as "worth the weight." Staples include fried chicken, green beans, smoked ham and fresh, buttery rolls.

Popular picks: The real showstopper, reviewers say, is the dessert bar chock full of pies, cobblers, cakes, brownies, and cookies galore.

Casey's Buffet Barbecue & Homecooking, Wilmington, North Carolina

North Carolina: Casey's Buffet Barbecue & Homecooking

Every day at family-run Casey's is another chance to loosen that belt a notch or two thanks to endless barbecue pork, chitlins, pan-fried okra, pig feet, and too many other homestyle Southern favorites to list. The restaurant also has an extensive to-go menu, plus it caters events.

Popular picks: "I don't even like sweet potato casserole and I could eat my weight in theirs," raves one reviewer. Other favorites: fried chicken and all of the many cobblers.

Related: Bucket List Barbecue in Every State

South Carolina: Workmen's Cafe
Jonathan J./Yelp

South Carolina: Workmen's Cafe

James Island
Just outside of central Charleston, locals line up at the cafeteria-style Workmen's Cafe at lunchtime for classic Lowcountry dishes including fried pork chops, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf and biscuits. The chef, Angie Bellinger, learned everything she knows from her mother, and she makes all the food from scratch.

Popular picks: The lima beans with pork are Bellinger's most classic dish, and the fried chicken has diners raving. Don't forget to treat yourself to a banana pudding or peach cobbler after your meal, if you have room for dessert.

Loveless Café, Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee: Loveless Café

This longtime Nashville favorite has cemented its place as the home of "hot biscuits and country ham," but the menu is packed with plenty more Southern comfort-food favorites, like country ham, barbecue, and a pimento cheese burger. Don't be surprised if you have to wait an hour or more at peak times, though — tourists have found the spot, but locals keep coming, too.

Popular picks: The country ham, served with two eggs, red-eye gravy, the eponymous biscuits, and one other side — all of it is worth the hype, reviewers confirm. Also tantalizing taste buds: The pulled pork.

Hays City Store, Driftwood, Texas
Dale W./Yelp

Texas: Hays City Store

Hays City Store has a formidable comfort-food neighbor in the form of Salt Lick BBQ, one of the state's most iconic restaurants. But if you're looking for more than barbecue, this is a great spot to come take a load off at a picnic table under the huge oaks outside. You can get everything from Frito pie and pulled pork to fish tacos and enchiladas; later in the day, a wood-fired oven churns out pizzas. The cocktails are nothing to sneeze at, either.

Popular picks: The chicken-fried steak is the hands-down favorite, and the thickly battered onion rings also have their fair share of fans.

The Roanoker, Roanoke, Virginia

Virginia: The Roanoker

This throwback restaurant, "home of good food since 1941," proudly ticks off the recipes on its huge menu that remain unchanged since opening: homemade buttermilk biscuits, sausage gravy, pies, fresh vegetables, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and corn sticks.

Popular picks: The biscuits are so good they've received national acclaim from "The Today Show." Sample a couple along with the country ham, red eye gravy, eggs, grits and fried apples.

King Tut Drive-In, Beckley, West Virginia

West Virginia: King Tut Drive-In

Family-owned King Tut opened in the '40s and still has a retro feel, from the neon sign beckoning hungry passersby to the menu filled with staples like burgers and hot dogs, and throwbacks like chicken liver and Swiss steak. It prides itself on homemade breads, buns and pies, all made on site with decades-old recipes.

Popular picks: Definitely splurge on a slice of pie, fans say. One TripAdvisor reviewer says the chocolate cream pie is "possibly the chocolate pie they would have had at the last supper."