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Soul Food Stops

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Restaurants that appeal to the African American travel market go well beyond simple black history, culture, food or music. They create and share an environment that genuinely captures the connection and passion that people of color desire and feel for each other in their daily lives.

Following are a few great spots for groups that offer authentic tastes and experiences of the Afrocentric diaspora to get your soulful sojourns on the move.

Southern Twist in the Big Apple

Southern classics and contemporary food trends come together at B.Smith’s on Restaurant Row in New York, where the chef serves roasted lemon herb chicken, spicy pan-seared salmon, corn-meal-crusted or blackened Southern catfish, among many other menu items. 

Tourists, neighbors, celebrities, entertainment executives, artists and everyday foodies are all treated like stars at this venerable New York City gem. Owned and operated by former African American fashion model, lifestyle expert, iconic restaurateur and author B. Smith, the restaurant emanates an elegant yet delightfully relaxing ambiance, an apt backdrop for its focus on creating unique, upscale American fare with Southern influences. 

Sunday brunch features delectable entrees like French toasted butter crackle brioche and sweet potato pancakes. Appetizers encompass classic favorites with a twist, among them fried green tomatoes, sweet citrus spiced wings and black-eyed-pea hummus, while slow-cooked short ribs, Southern-style fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and the “Swamp Thang” — sauteed shrimp, scallops and crawfish in a Dijon cream sauce over Southern-style greens — take center stage. 

Taste of the Bayou in the Heartland 

For a true taste of authentic Cajun flavor in the Midwest, visit Danny’s Big Easy.

Located in the Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, Missouri, Danny’s doesn’t just offer good eats. It exudes a Louisiana ambiance, flavor and flair that envelopes you mind, body and soul.

The menu encompasses a bevy of authentic Cajun and Creole dishes, including crayfish etouffee, catfish and oyster po’boys, shrimp Creole, red beans and rice with Andouille sausage, barbecue and popcorn shrimp, Danny’s Cajun wings and My Mother’s Gumbo, just to name a few. Most evenings, folks also come to groove to some of the best live zydeco, jazz, blues, reggae, salsa, R&B and funk acts in town. 

Soul of Music City                                                                                                                    

Located just five minutes from downtown Nashville, Tennessee, Swett’s Restaurant is a three-generation, African American, family-owned establishment and the oldest minority-owned restaurant in the city.

For more than 57 years, it has been serving some of Nashville’s best Southern homestyle-cooking dishes, like country fried steak, barbecued pork ribs, turkey and dressing, pork shoulder, fried fish, pig’s feet and beef tips, plus a plethora of customary sides like turnip greens, fried corn bread, creamed corn, mac ’n’ cheese, squash casserole, okra and candied yams. Dessert options include peach and blackberry cobblers, German chocolate cake, chess pie, sweet potato pie and cheesecake.

The lip-smacking fare, coupled with the restaurant’s casual cafeteria style, are what speak to both new and longtime patrons there from all walks of life. The palpable, warm and welcoming vibe is notably Afrocentric yet instantly embraces everyone like family.  

Originally published on   The Group Travel Leader Inc.,  a Lexington, Kentucky-based publishing company that currently owns and publishes four national travel industry publications.  

Check out these other exciting Ebony Escapes!:

African American Adventure Travel

Black History Past and Present

National Parks Speak to All Cultures

 On the Civil Rights Trail

 Visit Harlem

 What are Ebony Escapes?





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