Hot Dish: Grandpa’s Soul Food Cafe
ASHWAUBENON – A Culinary Tour of Southern Cuisine’s Most Famous Dishes – Fried Chicken, Catfish, Frog Legs, Fried Okra, Greens and Mac and Cheese Accompanied by a Cornbread Muffin – is the best-selling Granddaddy’s Soul Food Cafe and aptly named the Granddaddy’s Platter.
Customers can create any combination from the menu which includes 16 side dishes. Choosing is easier said than done.
My tasting started with a fork of soft but not mushy dark greens in a smoky broth made from turkey tails. At this point, owner Valerie King became my culinary guide to the South, asking me to take a bite of the cornbread muffin, then use the hooks to soak up the broth and pick up a few pieces of collard greens. I’m convinced I could make a meal by dipping cornbread in greens.
For the catfish, which was flaky and mild tasting, I was encouraged to put my fork aside. The entire fillet was fried in a cornbread mixture to a crisp that kept the fish from falling or breaking in my hands – bite, after bite, after bite.
I felt like I knew what I was doing with the fried chicken, but my first bite turned the loose juices overflowing onto my chin.
“Would you like a towel,” King asked in a gentle manner born of Southern mores.
The okra was fried in a lightly seasoned cornbread mixture which complemented the flavor of the vegetables, the frog legs were marinated to cut the game flavor, and the macaroni and cheese was very creamy.
When I checked out, King looked me in the eye and sincerely said we were family now. She thus thinks of all her customers, a warm thought on a cold winter day.
Grandpa’s Soul Food Cafe
Sample menu: Dinners, 4 options, $12.99-$16.99; Southern Fried Chicken, $9.99-$27.99; Sandwich combo, $7.99; Sides, 16 items, $1.79-$3.99.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday.
Location: 2815 S. Oneida St., Ashwaubenon
Contact: (920) 489-2779