These four restaurants across the South feed more than just appetites.
The King’s Kitchen
- The Place: A Southern meat ‘n’ three kitchen in Uptown where the motto is “Eat some chicken, feed somebody.”
- The Mission: Serve the hungry and provide employment to those looking for a fresh start.
- Feel-Good Fare: The menu here is full of what owner and head chef Jim Noble calls “simple Southern food.” Aunt Beaut’s fried chicken ($13), pan-fried for perfectly crispy skin, is the signature dish, but it’s hard to compete with sides such as Sea Island red peas and—our favorite—braised collards. 129 West Trade Street; kingskitchen.org or 704/375-1990
New Orleans, LA
- The Place: A nonprofit cafe offering a classic soul-food lunch at an affordable price.
- The Mission: Provide a formal job-training program for at-risk youth and help revitalize its Central City neighborhood. Since opening in 2000, the cafe has trained more than 1,000 kids, earning the respect and support of celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and John Besh.
- Feel-Good Fare: Café Reconcile prides itself on being one of the least expensive soul-food restaurants in the city; for example, a heap of shrimp étouffée costs less than $10. 1631 Oretha C Haley Blvd.; reconcileneworleans.org or 504/568-1157
- The Place: A donation-only, nonprofit cafe with an industrial vibe serving lunch and the occasional dinner out of a local church’s youth building.
- The Mission: Ransom averages 70 lunches a day with no set prices for the meals. Instead, diners are asked to pay what they feel they can afford.
- Feel-Good Fare: Pizzas and sandwiches are made from scratch, and the veggies are grown in a community garden. 7485 Airport Blvd.; ransomcafe.com or 251/751-0044
Cafe Jonah and the Magic Attic
- The Place: A breakfast-and-lunch cafe with an organic, locally sourced menu served out of a converted home in the heart of Buckhead.
- The Mission: Give back to the Atlanta community and support local nonprofits.
- Feel-Good Fare: Sunday brunch ($15 to $20 suggested price) features a smorgasbord of quiche, baked goods, and farm-to-table salads. 3188 Paces Ferry Place NW.; cafejonah.com or 404/343-4107