In the South, there are expectations when it comes to food. Soul food, meat and three, and home-style cooking are phrases that make us Southerners salivate. If your business is considered to be a “hole in the wall” location, then bonus points are certainly awarded. Along Highway 43 in Northport, one such place exists that may not be on your radar. Since early 2015, Ida B’s Kitchen has been serving up a variety of soulful goodies including wings, catfish, burgers, delicious vegetables, and desserts made from scratch. The simple and rundown façade masks the inviting and spacious atmosphere.
I decided to try Ida B’s for an early lunch with my interns to see if my theory of a shabby looking outside equaled delicious food made with love and grease. Walking inside Ida B’s, I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the restaurant, ample variety of seating, and comforting décor. The cash register counter was donned with a variety of grab and go desserts which was nothing short of wonderful….key lime cake, lemon pound cake, and sugar cookies were all there for the tempting.
My interns and I found a booth and scanned the menus delightfully. The lunch menu boasted fried pork chops, hamburger steaks, catfish, meatloaf, and other southern classics. The vast veggies list was comprised of collards, sliced tomatoes, fried okra, squash casserole, and many other sides. The treasure that immediately caught my eye was a velvety three cheese macaroni. Immediately deciding that this macaroni would be a mandatory component of my lunch, I opted for a veggie plate of mac n cheese, candied yams, fried okra, and purple hull peas to add protein for good measure. As my students and I hungrily waited for our entrees, our sweet server brought us small samples of the homemade lemon pound cake to try. The first whiffs of cake perfectly indicated that butter, lemon, and vanilla were used to create this treat. I quickly put the cake sample away knowing I wanted to save it as a sweet ending after lunch.
Our food was soon brought to us, and my eyes went directly to the macaroni. A layer of baked cheese confirmed that the dish was made from scratch. The creamy texture and full-bodied flavor of the macaroni was comforting and satisfying. My purple hull peas were perfectly seasoned while my okra had a nice crispness without being overly greasy. However, I found the candied yams to be the most disappointing with the texture and flavor clearly indicating that they came straight from a can with little to no doctoring on the flavor. I ended my meal with a perfect little bite of pound cake, and all was good in the world once again. If my meal had been comprised of just macaroni and cheese with a good hunk of pound cake, I’d be happy as a clam knowing that those calories were worth it.
Overall, I found Ida B’s to be a great southern option for the Northport area. With a six dollar dinner menu feature and a successful catering business, I have no doubt that Ida B’s will last the long haul for my friends down 43 North.
Ida B’s Kitchen is located at 4300 Highway 43 North. For more information, visit
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Sheena Gregg, MS, RDN,LD is a registered dietitian and local “Filipino foodie.” Follow her on Twitter @AFilipinoFoodie

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