Ruta Smith

1068 Morrison Drive. Downtown

(843) 577-9583

After serving Southern favorites to Charleston crowds for nearly four decades and receiving praise from countless national news outlets, there’s no question that Martha Lou Gadsden’s legendary restaurant is a deserving recipient of Best Soul Food honors. The bright pink building on Morrison Drive is a local landmark filled with the aroma of crisp fried chicken, baked macaroni and cornbread.

Simply put, a meal at Martha Lou’s Kitchen is something every resident and visitor should experience. From the silky limas and fried-to-order chicken and the red rice, pork chops and extra sweet tea, each menu item has that home-cooked feel.

That’s because Gadsden came up with all the dishes herself before passing them on to her three daughters, who now run the busy kitchen. They’re continuing to honor the restaurant’s legacy with friendly service and hearty portions. Gadsden’s cuisine is not only delicious, but it reminds us just how essential soul food is to the Charleston culinary scene. Built on the idea of nourishing the community, Martha Lou’s delivers every single time. Come hungry, leave happy … and then go back again next week. —Parker Milner

Bertha’s Kitchen