Best Soul Food Restaurant

Mama J’s Kitchen

415 N. First St.

Second Place: Croaker’s Spot

Third Place: Comfort

Every day, customers wait patiently for the doors to open at Mamma J’s Kitchen. They want to make sure they can grab some of the city’s best fried chicken or country-fried steak with smoky, pork-laced greens. Owner Velma Johnson’s first career was at the city jail as a sheriff’s deputy. But weary of seeing repeat offenders, Johnson decided to take a chance and do something she always wanted to do. She bought a van and started a catering business, which quickly morphed into the restaurant that calls Jackson Ward home. Bring me a fish boat and bring me one now: Croaker’s Spot may have moved to Hull Street, but its food truck brings all the favorites to the Richmond Folk Festival each year. We’d argue that comfort food and soul food are an awful lot alike and that must be why Comfort shows up on this list, too.


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