Housed in The Shops at Raven Plaza, Fat Daddy’s turns out soulful Southern cooking at modest prices, offering all-day breakfasts and such down-home specialties as catfish, fried chicken and waffles, black-eyed peas, candied yams and sweet- potato pie.
Scene: At first blush, Fat Daddy’s looks a tad more upscale than the usual soul-food joint, thanks to its golden-yellow walls, brightly upholstered booths and fancy cafe chairs. But this sweet, sincere operation is the real deal, supplying its South Mountain neighborhood with satisfying home cooking, friendly service and a non-stop stream of ’60s soul music, including Diana and Smoky.
Food: Fat Daddy’s laminated menu – which also hangs on the wall near the counter where orders are taken – is lengthy and a little confusing. So know this: breakfast and only breakfast is served from 8-11 a.m. After that, you can have anything you want (including breakfast), no matter whether dishes are listed under “lunch faves” or “supper time” or something else
It’s entirely possible to make a pig of yourself for 10 bucks or less. I had two pieces of crunchy fried chicken (one boneless breast, one wing), two eggs, a small bowl of grits, crispy home fries with onion and bell pepper and a big luscious waffle with syrup for $9.99.
The same generous chicken breast can be part of a “finger lickin’ sandwich,” the crispy breaded meat hanging off the sides of a soft bun cradling lettuce, tomato, onion and a slice of American cheese ($6.99).
Entrees come with two sides, sandwiches with one; in my case, soupy, delicious red beans, amped up with fatty bacon. Other sides get the same bacony boost, including fried cabbage (which could’ve been cooked down more to suit me) and tastier-than-usual black-eyed peas ($3.49 each, if ordered separately).
Cornmeal dredged and fried catfish is a lunch fave for good reason – three generous fillets with fries, a satisfying, no frills meal for $9.49. Rib tips, bathed in hot-sweet barbecue sauce and served over white bread, are so tender they’ve surely been boiled first, but they’re delish with fried okra and soupy, heavy-on-the-mustard potato salad ($6.99 plus one extra side).
For dessert, there’s slightly dry red-velvet sheet cake, its rich frosting studded with pecans ($3.49).
Drinks: Wash everything down with milk, soft drinks, fruit juices, coffee or tea. Unfortunately, both sweet tea and regular tea taste as if they’ve picked up other flavors from the fridge. Sweet tea improves street cred, but only if it tastes good.
Lowdown: The place is still working out a few kinks – namely, consistency and having everything on hand mentioned on the menu. But I’m willing to overlook an occasional mistake for the big picture: great breakfasts, dandy chicken and waffles, generous portions and choices, choices, choices.
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