Tampa has a bridge that is scary af! Driving to this waterfront town, I literally almost died on that bridge from a panic attack. Honestly, I don’t know of any other bridge in the nation that strikes such fear. Well, I braved it to dine at Mama’s Southern Soul Food Restaurant located at 3701 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Tampa, FL 33610. The unassuming gem is beautifully decorated with artistic signage on the outside wall welcoming you inside to enjoy the restaurant’s amazing entrees.
The menu is so extensive, deciding what to order was a challenge. Filled with low country staples, I had a field day! Starting with the quintessential soul food sides, my favorites were the collard greens, mac and cheese, and lima beans. As far as proteins, you can’t go wrong with the freshly grilled baby back ribs sprinkled with an in-house dry rub and then slow cooked inside a mammoth smoker just steps outside the kitchen. Each rib was seasoned to perfection and lightly kissed with a glaze formed by a tangy BBQ sauce that heightened the flavor to “side of the road BBQ stand” level, if you know what I mean!
Next was the fried chicken. Imagine Church’s Chicken without being nasty. Don’t look at me crazy, you know exactly what I mean. For those of you who like Church’s, then this would be like going to fried chicken heaven. Each piece was tender and filled with flavor to the bone. I especially enjoyed the crispiness of the batter without excessive greasiness.
Following the golden fried goodness, we sampled the succulent and flavor packed meatloaf smothered with a homemade brown gravy that intercepted the mash potatoes in a manner reminiscent of the wonders of the Lord and all his goodness. The collard greens and homemade cornbread were standouts and therefore ordered with every protein. The super nostalgic greens and cornbread pairing could be eaten by itself and would be approved by any Black Grandmother and Auntie.
Of course, any good soul food spot must have that quintessential sugary mystery punch! Well, it’s here and waiting on you with open arms. I know good and well this drink has over 56 grams of sugar, but hey, you only live once! It was delicious.
If you have room, finish your delicious meal by choosing from an assortment of homemade cakes, banana pudding and peach cobbler. This is a great go-to spot for a cheat day or a celebratory event. The dining area is extremely spacious, and the food is piping hot with many selections prepared at the hot bar for easy selection.
When you visit, be sure to say hello to Executive Chef Bruce, the talent in the kitchen churning out these incredible dishes one by one! I look forward to visiting this spot in the next couple week, hopefully, finding a route that gets me there bridge-free. You can reach them at (813) 769-9552 for reservations or placing orders.
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Photos by Kriss Kofi