Luella's Southern Kitchen - Chicago
Named for his great grandmother, chef Darnell Reed cooks up an homage to soulful Southern cooking at this homey Lincoln Square spot.
A former chef at Palmer House Hilton, Reed modernizes his great-grandmother's original recipes. That includes Mississippi crispy catfish tacos of corn tortilla, cayenne remoulade and Carolina slaw; hot tamales of Slagel braised short rib, chili, Anson Mills masa and house tamale spice; buttermilk fried chicken; and kale ambrosia.
There is no alcohol served at the cafeteria-style Luella's, and diners must pay for their meals at the cashier. It's cooked on order and delivered to guests' tables.
Other menu highlights include chicken gumbo, shrimp and grits and sweet potato pie topped with bourbon caramel and toasted marshmallow fluff.