Think Minneapolis and St. Paul don’t have delicious soul food? Think again!
The Twin Cities are secretly seeing a movement of soul.
But first, a tutorial for us Northerners.
Soul food is a unique cuisine with a complex history. Delish has a great write up about it, explaining soul food’s ties to emancipation, black church gatherings, and The Great Migration of southern African Americans to northern states.
The end result, for us lucky Minnesotans? A surprising number of options for everything from fantastic fried chicken to perfectly cooked collard greens.
Today, we’re highlighting the Twin Cities restaurants with the very best soul food.
P.S. – If you’re looking specifically for delicious southern BBQ, we have a whole article about the best BBQ in the Twin Cities.
- Map of the Best Soul Food around Minneapolis and St. Paul
- Best chicken and waffles: Handsome Hog
- The only place to find soul rolls: Wendy’s House of Soul
- Best breakfast: Breaking Bread Cafe
- Best soul food buffet: Mama Sheila’s
- For vegan soul food: Trio Plant-Based
- Build your own soul food: Soul Bowl
- Best bbq soul food: Soul to Soul Smokehouse
- Best Asian soul food: Soul Fu
Map of the Best Soul Food around Minneapolis and St. Paul
Best chicken and waffles: Handsome Hog
Nothing says soul food like the delicious and brilliant combination of chicken and waffles. And for my money, nobody in the Twin Cities does chicken and waffles better than Handsome Hog.
Owned by Iron Chef America winner Justin Sutherland, these chicken and waffles are perfection. Beautiful crispy outside, impossibly juicy inside, and plenty of delectable syrup and waffle to round it out. Talk about food for the soul!
- Address: 173 Western Ave N, St Paul, MN 55102
- Website: Handsome Hog
The only place to find soul rolls: Wendy’s House of Soul
Wendy’s House of Soul just might be one of the most unique spots in town. They’re famous for their “Soul Rolls” which are basically egg rolls stuffed with soul warming food like Mac and cheese, fried chicken, collard greens, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. And yes, they’re just as incredible as they sound.
Add in a spot that’s packed with character (beautiful murals line the outside and the inside is covered in funky wall paintings) plus a friendly and passionate owner, and this is definitely one of the best spots for soul food in the Twin Cities.
- Address: 1825 Glenwood Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55405
- Website: Wendy’s House of Soul
Best breakfast: Breaking Bread Cafe
Yes, Breaking Bread Cafe has a lunch menu, but let’s be honest. This spot is all about the delicious all day breakfast!
Choose from perfectly made Biscuits and Gravy, Shrimp and Grits, Chicken and Waffles, and tons more. Even better, earnings from the cafe fund Appetite for Change, a nonprofit that supports the North Minneapolis neighborhood.
- Address: 1210 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55411
- Website: Breaking Bread
Best soul food buffet: Mama Sheila’s
What’s better than delicious soul food? How about delicious soul food by the pound??
That’s what you get at Mama Sheila’s. This homey spot serves up all the soul food classics, buffet style! After choosing your favorites and paying by the pound, you can either carry out or dine in at this Twin Cities legend.
- Address: 3744 Bloomington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407
- Website: Mama Sheila’s
For vegan soul food: Trio Plant-Based
Trio Plant Based has a menu as unique as its origin story.As the only vegan soul food restaurant in the Twin Cities, everything at Trio is 100% plant based.
Vegan Mac and Cheese? House BBQ Ribs made out of jackfruit? Don’t knock it ’till you try it!
Trio Plant-Based came to be after it’s owner, Louis Hunter, was falsely arrested during the 2016 protests of his cousin, Philando Castile. With the help of the community, Louis fought the charges, and they were finally dropped in 2017. The community then crowdfunded over $50,000 for Louis to open his own restaurant, and by 2018, he was the proud new owner of one of the most unique soul food spots in town.
- Address: 610 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
- Website: Trio Plant-Based
Build your own soul food: Soul Bowl
Soul Bowl promises “soul food re-imagined.” That means it’s the only spot in town where you can get soul served served up fast in a build your own food bowl.
Soul Bowl started as a pop up and quickly became popular enough to score a full time stand at Target Field. They’ve since expanded to the Graze Food Hall in the north loop, plus another brick and mortar in Richfield. They’re hoping to spread the concept around the country and become the Chipotle of soul food, meaning us locals still have a chance to say we ate it before it was cool!
The soul food here leans towards a Caribbean influence, with options for fried plantains, jerk chicken, and fluffy yellow cilantro rice. But if you’re craving the classics, you can always build a bowl with mac and cheese, collard greens, and fried chicken.
- Address 1: 520 N 4th St, Minneapolis, MN 55401
- Address 2: 7122 Chicago Ave, Richfield, MN 55423
- Website: Soul Bowl
Best bbq soul food: Soul to Soul Smokehouse
If you’re looking for soul food classics with a side of perfectly smoked ribs, Soul to Soul Smokehouse is your spot.
Located in the Midtown Global Market, Soul to Soul is the perfect addition to an already bustling hub of ethnic cuisine. Here, you’ll have your choice of meats and fish, either expertly fried or smoked. And if you’re doing it right, you’ll be sure to round out the experience with any of their sides that are just singing with character.
Take the black-eyed peas, which are seasoned with plenty of smoked turkey. Or the slices of cornbread, which are just as addicting as you hope. And of course, there’s always creamy cole slaw, hearty mac and cheese, or smokey collard greens to pile on the love.
- Address: 920 E Lake St Suite 118, Minneapolis, MN 55407
- Website: Soul to Soul Smokehouse
Best Asian soul food: Soul Fu
Wait, Asian soul food? Is that even a thing? It is now!
Because according to Soul Fu’s motto, they’re combining southeast Asian food with southern food, with the goal to “create unique dishes without being judged.”
And to that we say, more power to you! Because we’d put Soul Fu’s uniquely delicious soul wings, collard greens, or spicy Gouda Mac and cheese up against anyone!
*Update: Sadly, Soul Fu permanently closed at the end of 2021.