The next time you feel your blood cholesterol has dropped to dangerously low levels, please consider visiting Nexus Brewery and Restaurant on the Pan American Fwy just north of the Montano exit. I think it's probably the best soul food in the state (not saying much, I know, but it's a pretty great place.)
The menu has a number of Southwestern dishes and burgers, but the true focus is on classic Southern Black American cooking like chicken and wafffles, collards, fried fish, baked mac and cheese, and rice and beans. Someone there really knows how to work a fryer because the chicken, okra, and fish are pretty impeccable -- crisp and not at all greasy. They tell you at the start that any fried chicken orders will take at least 20 minutes from the time an order is placed with the kitchen, which to me is a good indicator that things are being fried fresh, not pre-fried and then run through the fry-o-lator again for each order. The best thing I had was the collards slow-cooked with bacon. Very, very good. My sister had the chicken and waffles and said they matched her ideal -- light fluffy waffles, crisp, moist fried chicken, and syrup served hot. The inside has kind of a dark, sports bar thing going on, and the crowd there is lively, but self-contained. Even though it's a brewery, it's extremely family friendly, and plenty of people had small children with them.
This is very basic food, but it's done very well. I hope this place can stick it out.
PS: Both Mapquest and Google maps insist that one take the Montano exit, turn right on Montano, then take an immediate, awkward left onto a road that takes you through three parking lots before you wind into the parking lot for Nexus. It's easier to stay on the North-bound frontage road past Montano, and take a right into the driveway just past the Best Western.
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