New York City isn’t all cosmopolitans and fancy steak dinners. There are plenty of spots for Southern-born New Yorkers and tourists to eat the traditional foods they grew up with and dance to the music and booze they grew to love.
Whether you need a night out on Saturday or a brunch on Sunday, here are the best places to find your country roots in New York City:
To get some bourbon with your boots
Any farmer visiting New York City will get a kick out of Johnny Utah’s. People go to the restaurant for its affordable Tex-Mex and unique country-inspired cocktails but stay for the electronic bull. After drinking a couple of moonshine and margarita concoctions, guests can hop on Buck’s saddle.
What to try: The Campfire — A vodka-based cocktail mixed with maple syrup, rosemary and grapefruit.
25 W. 51st St No. 3, New York, NY 10019
Honky tonk is the way to Skinny Dennis’ heart. This bar is known for live country music, its collection of 18 draft beers and specialty drinks such as Willie’s Frozen Coffee, Dr. G and The Bud Driver.
What to try: Bourbon Mint Sweet Tea — Evan Williams bourbon mixed with homemade sweet tea and mint.
152 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211
Flaming Saddles Saloon
Flaming Saddles is more than one of the top-rated gay clubs in New York City. It is a cowboy stomping ground filled with "Coyote Ugly"-style choreographed dances and a great place to bump into celebrities and Broadway performers while jamming out to an endless array of country music.
What to try: Frito Pie – An opened bag of Fritos corn chips topped off with homemade chili, cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, spicy brown mustard and white onions.
793 9th Ave., New York, NY 10019
If you want a side of soul
Chicken and waffles are a classic, and Amy Ruth’s has been rated the second-best place in the country to get your fix. Built in honor of his late grandmother’s countless recipes taught to him as a child in Alabama, Carl S. Redding opened the restaurant with nothing but the best home cooking.
What to try: The Rev. Frank Blackshear – Old-fashioned chicken and dumplings.
113 W. 116th St, Harlem, NY 10026
Known as the “Queen of Soul Food,” Sylvia’s delivers a wide range of traditional Southern foods. Whether you are looking for oxtails and collard greens or barbecue ribs and peach cobbler, chances are it’s on the menu.
What to try: Corn meal-dusted catfish with grits and homemade biscuits.
328 Malcolm X Blvd., New York, NY 10027
Mitchell’s Soul Food
Despite the constant changes in Brooklyn, Mitchell’s has been a soul food staple in Prospect Heights for more than 40 years. The restaurant has yet to start a website despite its popularity, but hundreds of reviews on Yelp and other sites rave about the restaurant’s crispy fried chicken, extra cheesy mac and cheese and smothered pork chops.
What to try: Cornbread and coconut pineapple cake.
617A Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11238
For dishes as special as your Sunday best
They call it your Sunday best for a reason, so don’t let that outfit go to waste. Peaches is a great dine-in spot for every Southern comfort food enthusiast to sit back and relax on an early Sunday afternoon with friends and family.
What to try: Jumbo Shrimp Po’ Boy
393 Lewis Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11233
Red Rooster Harlem
Ethiopia-born and Sweden-raised award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster as a celebration of Harlem’s music, food and people. The restaurant features a spin on classic dishes and offers a top-notch Sunday brunch.
What to try: Poppa Eddie’s Shrimp and Grits — gumbo stew with chorizo, okra and stone-ground grits.
310 Malcolm X Blvd., New York, NY 10027
Sometimes the only thing better than a Sunday morning spent dressed to impress is a Sunday brunch filled with buttermilk biscuits. Jacob’s Pickles is a great place for just that, with plenty of biscuit options to choose from and other classic dishes, such as okra, fried green tomatoes, fried pickles and plenty of cocktails.
What to try: Honey Julep cocktail and Honey Chicken and Pickles Biscuit Sandwich — buttermilk fried chicken with clover honey and sour pickles on a fresh biscuit with a side of cheese grits.
509 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10024
To get a mix as good as your favorite cocktail
This spot is perfect for live music that is as smoking as the slow-cooked barbecue. Country bands can often be found playing on weekends, and customers rarely leave without barbecue sauce somewhere on their face.
What to try: Fried green tomatoes and the Pork-sket — BBQ brisket covered in cheddar, jalapenos, pulled pork and coleslaw.
700 W. 125th St., Harlem, NY 10027
Hill Country Barbecue Market
This joint is classy up top and party down below. After you’re done eating a rack of ribs and baked beans with burnt ends, you can head downstairs to the bar where there is a live band and plenty of dancing room.
What to try: The Pitmaster – Quarter-pound brisket, a pork spare rib, Kreuz original sausage, a quarter of chicken and two sides.
30 W. 26th St., New York, NY, 10010
After a concert or game at Madison Square Garden, Brother Jimmy’s is the place to go. You can always count on an MSG after-party where you can get buy-one, get-one drinks all night if you show your event tickets.
What to try: Low Country BBQ Mac and Cheese and Half and Half Ribs — half wet St. Louis style ribs and half dry rub ribs.
416 8th Ave., New York, NY 10001