Photo | Daniel Anderson/Lagniappe
A typical menu at Parker’s, which changes daily, may consist of baked and fried chicken, fried fish, turkey necks, wings and hamburgers. They close when they run out of food.
Parker’s SoulFood and Catering
900 block of S. Broad St., Mobile 36603
So I’ve been hearing a little here and there about Parker’s SoulFood and Catering. You run into a little Facebook traffic that mentions the restaurant, mostly saying positive things, but if you want to find this place it may take a couple of steps.
First of all, there is no website. That’s OK. Who needs a website in this day and age if you have at least one social media page? They do have a Facebook page, so that helps. That page has no physical address for the restaurant. OK, well that would help but it doesn’t make it impossible to find. There is a phone number.
I’d seen a few pics and, let’s face it, soul food is one of my favorites, so I called a total of eight times between 10:08 a.m. and 11:11 a.m. to see if it was takeout only or a dining room. Each call was met with a busy signal. I would not be deterred.
I hollered at Holbert and Snake to see if those two clowns would like to join me. I had no idea what was in store so we had a backup plan should we not find the location. With a little investigation we found it was next to Small’s Mortuary and Cremation Services (950 S. Broad), so we figured it was either 948 or 952. Still unsure if we were dining in or taking home, we headed south on Broad with our eyes peeled.
We found our target on the right, just south of Small’s in an unassuming building that looked to possibly be a former residence. It kind of felt that way walking in. We parked in the rear and made our way through the front door into what felt like a living room area with a hot bar to the left and a few tables to the right. I knew I was where I wanted to be.
This is the kind of place where you get Kool-Aid. It’s the kind of place where you don’t worry about your sodium intake. It’s the kind of place you know will taste good before you even take a bite. I wished that Carlos Danger was tagging along, but he has been adhering to a strict diet of fish and leafy vegetables. There wasn’t a snowball’s chance he could get elbows-deep at this place. It was up to us as a trio to take in all we could.
Each entrée was a meat and three ($11). I kicked it off with turkey necks. I use that as plural because they were cut crossways. I’m not sure how many necks I ate altogether but the pieces were sizable. They were amazing with cornbread dressing. Wow, this stuff was moist with the gravy from the necks. I needed it. I believe they do this every Thursday as sort of a Thanksgiving tribute.
With the dressing, necks and gravy I was also treated to speckled butter beans and a heap of collard greens. Of course I added pepper sauce to the greens; there was some on the table. But at the register we found little tubs of red hot sauce that were just right for the beans.
What does all of this matter if you don’t have any cornbread, right? To my surprise the square I was given was not what I expected. Most soul food restaurants I visit are proud of their sweet yellow cornbread. I am happy to report that Parker’s brings the “A” game with non-sweet white cornbread, which is what the good Lord intended for my beans and greens.
Rob was very animated in his decision. He kept tapping on the plexiglass sneeze guard until it fell on his foot! I guess he was that excited about the smothered chicken he was about to consume. It was heavenly. I couldn’t tell if it was yesterday’s fried chicken in today’s gravy, but it didn’t matter. Rob also had greens and beans, but took them up on the offer of rice under the beans.
Snake was able to sample the rest of the bar. Fried chicken may have been better than the smothered chicken or turkey necks, but it’s debatable. A touch salty, but it’s tough to argue when I say this is some of the area’s best. Who could eat fried chicken without mashed potatoes and gravy? Probably the same type of person who would ignore the made-from-scratch macaroni and cheese. Snake is not that type of person.
As Snake and I sipped quarts of lemonade sweeter than the nectar of a bushel of sugar cane, we noticed the takeout menu with chicken wings. I ordered a half dozen to go and it came out as a meal. With cups of ketchup for the crispy crinkle fries and tubs of ranch for the wings, I couldn’t let this sleeping dog lie. By the time we made it home I’d already gotten my fingers into the box.
The wings had a salty, perhaps lemon pepper flavor to them. Not what I was expecting, but I was pleased; they were better with the ranch than they would have been with my normal favorite, blue cheese.
Parker’s is everything as pleasing and as disappointing as you can expect. The food was great but we sat in a booth beneath burned-out fluorescent lights, unable to see our plates. If you want ambience better than an abandoned 1970s Pizza Hut, then you will be disappointed. I wasn’t expecting anything more so I was pleased to eat in what seemed to be a family business.
Your best bet with Parker’s SoulFood is to drop in as close to 11 a.m. as you can. They are done when they run out of food. I’ve given up on calling or relying on social media. That doesn’t mean I won’t be back. Do you want to go? I’ll take ya.