Amy Ruth, Godmother of Soul Food
People say Amy Ruth’s is the East Coast version of Roscoe’s. Maybe…..
Sylvia’s is Harlem’s best known soul food restaurant, but I prefer Amy Ruth’s for the food and service. It is conveniently located on 116th Street between Lenox Avenue and Seventh Avenue near the 116th street subway station (2 or 3 express). It offers delicious and well prepared homemade comfort food, nice wait staff, and no rush to leave your table. It is not enough to just eat in Harlem, you have to embrace the whole experience which usually moves a couple paces slower than the downtown restaurants.
You receive free cornbread and the dishes are all named after famous African Americans such as The President Barack Obama (fried, smothered, baked, or bar-b-q chicken-$13.95), The Rev. Al Sharpton (fried or smothered chicken and waffles-$10.95), and The Ludacris (fried chicken wings-$13.95). A waffle covered with cinnamon, bananas and pecans is named after Guy Woods, a famous urban fashion designer whom I have known for almost 20 years!
Amy Ruth’s started out as a very small soul food joint in 1998 and has expanded with an extra room next door to accommodate the Sunday church crowd and ever growing number of tourists from all over the world.
If you want to avoid the velvet rope, then definitely avoid the crammed weekend brunch hour.
Warning: Large portions – be prepared to take some food home!