Cheap Eats - K&K Soul Food

A taste of the past on the Westside

Tuesday October 6, 2009 09:00 am EDT

New restaurants open every day, but no amount of meticulous design can replicate the charm and character acquiredwith age. Walking into K&K Soul Food (881 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, 404-685-1073) feels like you've traveled back in time to a different era in Atlanta’s culinary history. Crudely handwritten signs advertise specials such as pigs feet. The cafeteria-style steam table is filled with so many options your head will spin. Take your place in the curving line and study the menu because while the cooking is simple, deciding what to order is not.

While K&K opens for breakfast, the quality in the morning is too institutional (runny grits, unpleasantly greasy fatback, etc.).Lunch, however, is a different story. Seldom seen soul food staples such as the aforementioned stewed pigs feet and neck bones are displayed beside more ubiquitous classics such as fried chicken and pork chops submerged in narrow containers of thick gravy. The chicken is surprisingly juicy considering it's prepared in advance. Each piece of the generous portion is encased in a thick coating of crackly and well-seasoned skin. An order of pork chops gets you two thin bone-on chops, fork-tender and covered in gravy, which the staff pours over scoops of dense and herby cornbread stuffing. Quintessential sides —  cheesy cheddar mac and cheese and soft collard greens — abound. And each order comes with a couple of warm, golden brown corn muffins begging to be cracked open and slathered with butter. Desserts range from homemade peach cobbler to slices of layer cake.

Cafeteria-style dining isn’t everybody’s thing. But K&K's steady stream of customers means the food gets turned over quickly; it’s not uncommon to see a handful of freshly cooked dishes put up on the stainless steel shelf dividing the line and the semi-open kitchen.

The furnishings are as no-frills as any fast food joint, and the majority of the clientele grab and go. There's plenty of parking and the prices are dirt cheap for what you get in return: a tasty meal that’s unspoiled by fads.

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