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Denver Soul Food Question (with a focus on hush puppies)

Hi Denverians,

I'm a recent transplant to the Denver area from places far east (and somewhat south) and miss some of the hearty soul food that I used to find with ease. Most specifically, I'm looking for a place that cooks up honest to god hush puppies. Not yuppified hush puppy tapas with jalapeno dipping sauce, not sugared hugh puppies with three on a plate - I want real hush puppies. All the better if I can also get a turkey chop, some turnip greens, and a sweet tea - but I don't want to ask too much. Does anyone have any recommendations? I've heard that Zona's might be a place to check out (not sure where this is exactly) - but have been disappointed thus far with many of the "soul-ier" looking places on Colfax towards downtown (Pineapple Grill, Bourbon Chicken, etc).

You guys have given some great Denver recommendations in the past - please help me find my hush puppies!

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  1. I've heard Five Points is the area to try (I'm fairly new too), although my understanding is that Ethel's, which was an institution, closed earlier this year. I'd actually love to know what folks have to say about this subject, and hush puppies in particular, as well.

    I know some of the BBQ placs serve sweet tea, but the BBQ I've had around here thus far hasn't been terribly impressive. Raves for Big Hoss perplex me (and at least one other hound I know of).

    1. Try Tom's Home Cookin' in Five Points. Go early, as if you show up for fried chicken at 1 pm, you'll be out of luck. The menu is different every day (kinda like a short cafeteria line). Cash only, Lunch only.

      I'm not a fan on the styrofoam clamshells, however.

      10 Replies
      1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

        I've heard really mixed reviews of that place. Are they inconsistent or do they consistently do certain things well, certain things badly?

        Also, are there any alternatives? I've recently heard good things about Yazoo BBQ (which I think does serve hush puppies), but again, I haven't been impressed by BBQ here so far, so I'm wary...anyone?

        1. re: tatamagouche

          I was going to recommend Tom's as well. I think it is wonderful all the time (not sure where the mixed reviews came from). It takes a bit of a commitment (you have to get there early, and they are only open M-F), but I think it is worth it.

          Don't know if they serve hush puppies, but it they have them on the menu, they won't be yuppified I am sure of that. They definitely have sweet tea (but I am a western dude, so I prefer my tea unsweetened, so can't comment on its quality).

          Standouts on the menu for me, are greens, mac and cheese, and pot roast. Their coca cola chocolate cake is well known, and highly regarded, but I have never had it. The corn bread is excellent as well.

          1. re: tatamagouche

            I really like Yazoo's, but it's not a ribs place (I think somebody posted recently something like "why does everyone think this place is so great? The ribs were nothing special). The "Bob" is fabulous (it involves chicken, a jalapeno, and bacon), and I also really like their pulled pork and brisket.

              1. re: Megiac

                I'm also a Yazoo fan based on one visit to Arapahoe location. I had a Bob and whereas it was under-whelming in the jalapeno department it was cooked perfectly. Have you guys tried Jabo's? I went because of the hype and had very good food and a dissastifying customer experience.. which I will forgive and try again.


                1. re: e_bone

                  I avoid the Tech Center as much as possible, but my husband works down there with a number of BBQ lovers. I'll pass on the Jabo's rec (they already frequent Yazoo's).

                2. re: Megiac

                  For me... Yazoo's for rib tips, period. Forget the ribs. The Bob didn't really impress me. Alas, they don't serve hush puppies.

                3. re: tatamagouche

                  I've seen the mixed reviews on some sites, but I've never been disappointed by the food at Tom's. As a GA gal, I found the fried chicken to be very reminiscent of real soul food. I do think the key is to go early, because they do indeed run out.

                  I can't remember any place in Denver metro that makes hush puppies- I ususally just had to make them myself and have friends over for a fish fry.

                  Oh, and Ethel's around the corner is pretty good, but if memory serves, they don't have a fryer, so no fried chicken, no fried catfish, and no hush puppies.

                  1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                    I think it closed though? Or moved?

                    GA roots sound like credentials to me.

                    1. re: tatamagouche

                      It could have closed- it's been years since I've been there, but it just felt like the kind of place that had been there for years and never leave.

                1. re: jtc

                  Wow, that place looks cool! Thanks!

                2. Jason Sheehan reviews Coleman's Soul Food, which took Ethel's space, in the new 'Westword.' See http://westword.com/2008-06-12/restau...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ClaireWalter

                    Oh, that was Ethel's space!

                    Funny, I had noticed that place just last weekend when we were driving around 5 Points, and The Director and I almost went and tried it on a whim, but then we ended up at Los Carboncitos instead (which was awesome, so thanks to all those who've recommended it here).

                    Harmonic convergence or whatever, I guess.

                  2. FYI, I just found out M & D's Cafe's gonna start serving chicken & waffles on Sundays. (Post on my blog, address in my profile, etc etc.) That should rock like crazy.

                    1. We just ate at Steuben's Food Service yesterday. Among the retro items on the menu were hush puppies, which we didn't try but you might want to. The waitstaff uses the phrase "comfort food" in every second sentence -- and that is not inaccurate. I blogged what we did eat.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: ClaireWalter

                        Is Steuben's Food Service different from Steuben's?

                        Well I'll go look at your blog to find out!

                        I do love Steuben's but it's a love that has everything to do with the whole experience; I've never had a dish that knocked my socks off. I was very impressed with the Vesta chef's skills at one of the Lab at Belmar's Taste Tests, however. I still haven't been to Vesta but I guess I'd better soon.

                        1. re: tatamagouche

                          Steuben's = Steubens Food Service, the latter being the full, official name.

                          I haven't been to the Lab at Belmar for a taste test or anything else.

                          1. re: ClaireWalter

                            Oh, got it.

                            I've only been to one, but it was really fun/informative, and Matt Selby was the guest chef that night. They don't serve enough food to equal anything like dinner, but as long as you prepare for that it's an enjoyable experience. I think the series will start again in the fall.

                      2. Todays food section in The Denver Post is about soul food. There are 5 different places listed.
                        CoraFaye's Cafe-2861 Colorado Bvd.
                        A & A Fish Restaurant-2896 Fairax St
                        Joseph's Southern Food-2868 Fairfax St.
                        Pierre's on Madison-3435 E. 28th Ave.
                        M & D's Cafe-2000 E. 28th Ave
                        or here's a link to The Denver Post article:http://www.denverpost.com/food/ci_960...
                        I haven't eaten at any of them, but you can be sure I'll try then in the future.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jcattles

                          When it comes to BBQ, there's nothing like Yazoo's rib tips in my mind. But I've been to M&Ds and thought it was good eats. My husband thought it was just ok. It's a different style of 'cue; it doesn't have that heavy smoky flavor I love.

                          We've been to M&Ds twice. I've had the BBQ and the fried fish. Both were tasty. The BBQ comes heavy with sauce, so I got it on the side. The candied yams and mac 'n cheese are my favorite sides. I could eat a giant bowl of each! Definitely a home-style cooking joint.

                          1. re: luckylily

                            The mac is very plain, creamy, and comfy. Not everyone likes it like that, but I do. Then again, I also like it all tricked out in bread crumbs and smoked cheeses and bacon. Guess I just like it period. Unless the cheese is powdered and glows.

                        2. I'm not sure they have hush puppies, but Cora Faye's on Colorado Blvd. near MLK has great "soul food". I haven't sampled most of their main dishes, but the sides are fabulous. The greens, cabbage, mac n' cheese, black eyed peas, etc., are all very good and the quality has been consistent in my three different visits.

                          1. Try CoraFaye's Cafe in Denver. 2861 Colorado Blvd. 303-333-5551.