Follow us @thehungryblackman on Facebook or IG to add amazing Black owned eateries across the United States to your foodie-indulgence list! Or subscribe to our blog by placing your email below for up-to-date emails and newsletters.
Five years ago, I met the culinary boss Mr. Johnny Cannon when I visited his New Center Eatery. I enjoyed our conversation and his brands, Eatery and Sweet Magnolias, so I was definitely excited to hear about his newest concept, Joe Louis Southern Kitchen. Coming up on its one-year anniversary, this eatery was launched in what was formerly Cannon’s New Center Eatery after it moved from its original location in 2017.
Unfortunately, the new restaurant didn’t live up to what I imagined. The place is beautifully themed and is definitely worth a visit just for the Black history nostalgia and museum dedicated to the legendary boxer, but the restaurant has a very long wait and a bit of a temperamental menu.
We started with the Golden Gloves French Toast that came with whipped butter, powdered sugar, and fresh strawberries that were definitely fresh. The bread, on the other hand, could have been better with so many fresh baked options in Detroit. It would also be tastier if dipped in a more robust batter.
The Bananas Foster French toast was far superior, especially if you’re a banana fan. This French toast version was saved due to an AMAZING bananas foster sauce and fresh bananas. Stick with this delicious, nostalgic New Orleans classic and you won’t be disappointed.
Next up, the absolutely delicious Mama Lillie’s Flapjacks and the Cinnamon Roll Flapjacks swirled with cinnamon and brown sugar, topped with cream cheese icing. It was so flavorful that it only needed a dab of syrup, but be careful when you pour because if you’re not careful, it will end up all over your plate.
Following these delicious pancakes, we took an unfortunate dive with the Breakfast Biscuit with Sausage. Looks were deceiving with that item, because despite appearing delicious, it was just plane nasty. The poor biscuit was also struggling when served with eggs and house potatoes. It was gross. Unbelievably gross. Like, punishment style gross. So gross I couldn’t even take another bite for our live video.
Fortunately, the outstandingly delicious Gumbo topped with fried catfish saved the day, with each spoonful being tastier and tastier. Although a little loose, the gumbo still boasted robust flavor that meshed beautifully with pieces of crispy fried catfish. It was by far, my favorite dish.
Our last entree was another disappointment. The Jambalaya Cajun Fried Turkey Leg came stuffed with rice topped with a creole roux, grilled chicken, okra, spicy beef sausage, shrimp, and vegetables. The rice and creole roux were bland, with the beef sausage providing the only hint of flavor. Another example to not judge a book by its cover because it looked so promising. My next visit I’ll follow the recommendation from the folk at a nearby table and order the Fried Chicken and Waffles.
Joe Louis Southern Kitchen has a lot of potential and I’m confident Mr. Cannon will do what it takes to improve. It’s a relatively new restaurant, so the sky’s the limit if he acts on ours and others constructive criticism. The customer service was excellent, however, that more than an hour-long wait was unbearable, especially because of the inconsistent food quality. Also, since it’s likely they’re still dealing with Covid related staffing issues, that aspect might get better soon and lessen the wait.
If you bring your patience and stick with the Bananas Foster French Toast, the Cinnamon Rolled Flapjacks, the Gumbo, and based on the recommendation from the table next to us, the Fried Chicken and Waffles, you should have a good experience. We give them 3 ½ out of 5 stars. Visit online at www.joelouissouthernkitchen.com or call (303) 788-8338. They’re located at 6549 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202.