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May 22, 2012 02:19 PM

Chicken fried steak with white gravy, fried okra, and buttermilk biscuits around the Bay Area?

My friend from Europe has never had southern food. I want take them to a southern meal like I grew up with in Texas but unfortunately there is not much here. I'm looking for:

chicken friend steak and white gravy
mashed potatoes and white gravy
macaroni and cheese
fried okra
buttermilk biscuits and/or cornbread

Many places I've tried use brown gravy or don't have any of the sides. We are based in Berkeley but are willing to drive. Thank you!

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    1. re: wolfe

      What about Brown Sugar Kitchen? I had a so so version at Carrows.

      1. re: wolfe

        It's more Deep South than Texan, but Farmer Brown has excellent soul food. Their Little Skillet offshoot also does chicken and waffles very well.

        As a fellow Texan, I commend you for efforts! I've yet to find fried okra like we used to get on Sunday when I was a kid. For my okra fix, I go to Shalimar, which is not Texan at all nor fried, but does the trick.

      2. My husband, who used to live in Georgia, LOVES the chicken fried steak with gravy and eggs combo at the Merritt Restaurant and Bakery - totally random, I know - but it's good (and more pocket friendly than BSK). I have also heard that MRB has great fried chicken.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jaimeabdilla

          Don't think Merritt has fried okra - usually run of the mill steamed veggies. Haven't been in for a couple years -- used love the 2 pieces of fried chicken & waffle.

          1. re: Stephanie Wong

            The chicken is still really good. I don't know about the chicken fried steak, though.

            1. re: Stephanie Wong

              Merritt's fried chicken is still wonderful (next best to my mom's) and has very reasonable prices if you get it at the take out window instead of the restaurant. The sides at the take out window are good too, especially the black eyed peas and greens. I've catered several my parties by getting large orders. Good CFS is hard to find in the bay area, but didn't Rico's used to have it?

              1. re: jan_b

                Is takeout chicken fried to order? I live reasonably closely to get it home still hot if it is.

                1. re: Stephanie Wong

                  I believe that the chicken is fried to order. The one time recently that I ordered by phone I had to wait a few minutes when I got there, because the chicken wasn't ready.

                  I have to remember to go there soon. It's pretty good for takeout fried chicken.

                  1. re: Stephanie Wong

                    The chicken has always been pretty hot and fresh when I've ordered it at lunch. Sometimes I've had to wait a for it, sometimes they have it ready pretty quickly, so I don't think it is actually fried to order. Best way to make sure it stays hot and crisp is to eat it at one of the little tables they have in the bakery or out in the little park next to it.

            2. Buttercup Grill might be worth checking out. A few locations.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ML8000

                Is that the place off of 880 near Fruitvale?

                  1. re: chocolatetartguy

                    I've been to the one in Jack London Sq. It's competent diner food in a nicely kept mid-century building, so the chances of finding a decent CFS are good but YMMV. I've never been to the one off 880 and 23rd St.

                    1. re: ML8000

                      pretty sure they don't have CFS, but i would agree that they have competent diner food.

                1. You might try Lois the Pie Queen in North Oakland/Emeryville - 851 Adeline. I've been eating here for going on 30 years and the food is authentic and excellent (usually) cash only though

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: myriamg

                    I thought the OP was asking for Chicken fried steak...not fried chicken?

                    There is a huge difference...most importantly Chicken fried steak is made from a cow.

                  2. Seems like this kind of food would be more prevalent in the Central Valley of California.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Tripeler

                      Or you need to look for the pockets of the Bay Area that share those food values. My quest 10 years ago for B&G, biscuits and (white) gravy:

                      I think it will be hard to find all those items in the same place. Fried okra is scarce in these parts. Will probably take more than one spot to cover them all.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Yes, fried okra is really scarce. At least, that which is prepared like my Missouri-Okie grandmother used to make it. Fortunately, she taught me how to do it (lots of bacon fat and corn meal) so when I want it, I end up making it myself. CFS and B&G done properly are easier to find.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          What kind of food values are those?

                          And why would you be more likely to find CFS in the Central Valley of California?

                          1. re: Mission

                            Truck drivers? I have noticed CFS at just about every truck stop, road side diner I've been to. IMO, the CFS is like the's hard to completely mess up so it's offered and ordered a lot.

                            1. re: ML8000

                              >it's hard to completely mess up<

                              I've had my share of rock-hard and dry CFS.

                              1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                                I think I have only had hard, dry and greasy CFS.

                              2. re: ML8000

                                Sysco has made CFS more widely available,


                                but not necessarily better. I seem to have run into a few of these.

                                1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                  I'm pretty sure the rock-hard and dry CFS I most remember was a Sysco version.

                              3. re: Mission

                                One needs to look in places where the clientele values big, hearty breakfasts to start a day of physical labor and/or hails from Oklahoma or Texas. That's why my hunt for B&G in the thread I linked poked around industrial neighborhoods. Or for an example outside the Bay Area, you can a very good, house-prepped chicken fried ribeye steak smothered in white gravy at Sang's in Salinas where farmhands and descendents of Dust Bowl Okies eat,