When it comes to Southern cooking, in certain neighborhoods, there are soul-food restaurants on almost every corner. With such an abundance, it's hard to come up with an appropriate barometer for quality, since most of the menus at these restaurants are identical. It sounds like fun research, but after awhile, all the collard greens start to taste the same, the candied yams have the same texture, and the joy of Southern cooking gets lost in mediocre food shacks. The one venue locally that set itself apart is Betty's Soul Food. It's got the best macaroni and cheese in town, bar none, and its short ribs of beef are good enough to make a customer want to jump up and slap his own mama. The stewed chicken over rice is as succulent a meal as one could ask for, and fish sandwiches are cheap and filling. Instead of fooling around with a bunch of dessert dishes, Betty's keeps it simple — bread pudding, cake, and sweet potato pie. That may seem like a small selection, but there's a lot of love poured into those desserts, and if you have to choose, go for the bread pudding. The staff there is friendly to newcomers but knows how to chide and joke with the regulars enough to create plenty of countertop camaraderie. Located in the historically black Sistrunk neighborhood for the past 30 years, Betty's is a staple that's worth visiting time and time again.

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