Who says you can't find good down home cooking north of the Mason-Dixon line? Northern cities have plenty of sub shops and sushi stations. True. But, there are spots with more country flavor. Those of us raised up down home appreciate the vittles at these Great Lakes region restaurants.
10. The Farm Family Restaurant
The Farm Family Restaurant may be the last of the Red Barn Restaurant chain. The name has changed, but they still boast the barn look. They also still fry up the same tasty chicken the chain used to serve. You can pair that up with some homemade soup or chili. The menu also includes new flavors of homemade custards each week. Yum.
3180 Durand Ave., Racine, Wis. 53405
Maxie's is Milwaukee's taste of the south. Offering "from-scratch" cooking, their menu tells you to "Get some South in yo' mouth." Slow-smoked BBQ and southern comfort cooking are their specialties. Menu options include beef brisket, baby back ribs, chicken-fried chicken, and homemade bologna grilled cheese. Sides include grits and collard greens. But, before you get to all that, start off with an appetizer of fried green tomatoes.
6732 W. Fairview, Milwaukee, Wis. 53213
8. Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop
Travel back in time as you step into the deep south at Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop . The décor imitates a 1930's bait shop on the edge of the bayou. It's southern style food with a creole twist. Menu options include everything from smothered chicken with black-eyed peas to a gumbo bowl and fresh catfish. Don't be disappointed - they don't actually sell bait.
825 Church Street, Evanston, Ill. 60201 and 2352 East 172nd Street, Lansing, Ill. 60438
7. George's Kitchen
George's Kitchen Get your eggs any way you like them. Breakfast is George's specialty. Try his homemade sausage gravy over biscuits. The place opened as a Manner's Big Boy in 1956, but was transformed into George's Kitchen in 1980. George has been satisfying Clevelanders with country breakfasts ever since.
13101 Triskett Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44111
6. Holstein Kitchen
Holstein Kitchen offers Wisconsin farm cooking. Their claim is "making comfort foods taste better." Open Tuesday-Sunday, they work hard to serve up a delicious Sunday brunch, then take Mondays off. Pancakes, burgers, and cheese curds are some of the regulars' favorites. Moooove over, Culver's.
101 South Main Street, Oregon, Wis. 5357
Here's your chance to visit a roadhouse in the middle of the city. Or, at least that's what it feels like. Feed is Chicago on the outside, middle of nowhere inside. Have some fried chicken with fried okra and succotash on the side. If it's a Tuesday, the special is pork chops. If you're in for breakfast, there's biscuits and gravy. More options are on the chalkboard, but you have to wander in to see those.
2803 W. Chicago, Chicago, Ill. 60622
4. Mom's Kitchen
The menu at Mom's Kitchen warns "Don't mess with the mitten!" Their comfort foods take you back to Mom's home cooking. They pride themselves on their fresh ingredients, using locally grown products as much as possible. The food is so fresh the menu even changes seasonally. Tasty sandwiches include pulled pork with slaw and burgers topped with fried pickles.
81057 Main Street, Memphis, Mich. 48050
3. Shigs In A Pit
No down-home cooking list would be complete without some good ole fashioned BBQ. Shigs In A Pit's sauces will leave you smacking your lips and licking your fingers. The pulled pork at this joint has brought home awards. The BBQ is mighty tasty, and if you're local, they'll even deliver! The name alone makes you want to mosey in and see what's going on.
2008 Fairfield Ave., Fort Wayne, Ind. 46802
2. Dale's Family Restaurant
Dale's Family Restaurant claims to make their homestyle favorites just the way Dale made them in his own kitchen. It's all made from scratch, right there in Indianapolis. Start out with some fried biscuits. Add some chicken and dumplings as a side to your meatloaf and gravy or salisbury steak. There for breakfast? The Big Daddy Platter is sure to fill you up.
5209 E. Thompson Road, Indianapolis, Ind. 46237
1. Down Home Family Restaurant
The name says it all. Good food. Friendly faces. Nothin' fancy. Down Home Family Restaurant is a mom-and-pop joint well-known locally, especially for their breakfasts. They'll fix up whatever you want - fries in the morning, eggs at night. If you're ever in Greenville, stop on by.
1114 N. Lafayette, Greenville, Mich. 48838