Best Soul Food Restaurant

Sweetie Pie's at the Mangrove

Robbie Montgomery's iconic soul-food spot sees slightly larger crowds these days thanks to its star turn in Welcome to Sweetie Pie's, one of the few successful shows on Oprah Winfrey's new, ratings-challenged cable network. OK, actually, by "slightly" we of course mean much, much larger — ridiculously larger, with the line to order from the restaurant's cafeteria setup often stretching through the restaurant, out the door and up the block. And that's not even counting the members of the film crew who swarm the place, shooting for the next batch of episodes. However long you have to wait, Sweetie Pie's stick-to-your-ribs fare is worth it, from everyday dishes like the huge, crisply fried chicken wings and the tender pork steaks to such daily specials as oxtail (Thursday) and fried fish (Saturday). Almost as difficult as choosing which day to visit is deciding which sides will accompany your meal: The decadently creamy mac & cheese? The thick mashed potatoes? Corn? Yams? Okra? You might not have to make a choice. Wait in that line long enough and you'll work up an appetite hearty enough to accommodate all of the above.

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