Amy Ruth’s – Soul food that truly warms the soul
Harlem is an area of Manhattan that is constantly changing and growing and has been throughout its history. During the 1920’s ,Harlem went through a cultural renaissance with the rise of famous writers, musicians, athletes, and other artists who made the area a destination. While this renaissance happened almost 100 years ago, Harlem has been going through a new kind of awakening in which food has been the focal point. For years, certain staple restaurants have been been serving up delicious stick to your ribs soul food that until only recently had been a local community secret. Amy Ruth’s has been one of the eateries leading the way in putting Harlem back on the map as a must visit for those coming to New York City. Since 1998, they have been serving up soul food staples like fried chicken and waffles, BBQ ribs/BBQ Chicken, and all the classic sides you have come to know and love.
Located just south of the vibrant 125th street, Amy Ruth’s is a casual dining establishment that takes on the vibrant energy and culture of the Harlem community and puts it in food form. When walking in, the restaurant takes on the ambience of a roadside dinner with sturdy wooden chairs and syrup/hot sauce bottles adorning the tops of all the tables. From the outside looking in you would assume this is a tiny place, but looks can be deceiving as they have a huge back room with walls adorned with murals of men like Michael Jordan. While this place can often get crowded at times, you would never know it from the service that you get here. The staff is beyond friendly and with the menu being mostly just chicken and waffles you are never waiting long to get your food. For those who are looking to go to Ann Ruth’s on an empty stomach, a friendly waitress and food that is quick to be delivered to your table are very important details.
At Amy Ruth’s, the food is the main draw and boy is it good. The staple here would be the waffle which can be found on the menu in several different forms and all named after famous figures from Harlem. Choices of waffle include the Reverend Al Sharpton, which is a waffle accompanied by fried or smothered chicken or the Bishop Charles Reed, which is a waffle with sautéed apples. While there are over 10 kinds of waffle on the menu, there is definitely not a bad choice in the bunch and while the waffle is a simple combination of ingredients, Amy Ruth’s seems to know something us mortals do not as their waffle is mouthwateringly delicious. A perfect blend of buttery and sweet, the waffle is a perfect meal for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The fried chicken is the other usual accompaniment for the waffle here and is what most regulars order. The combination of sweet and savory can make even the fullest person yearn for another meal. Add in the other soul food staples of collard greens, cheesy grits, and mac and cheese and there is no way you are walking out of here unsatisfied. Amy Ruth’s has really perfected what it means to cook soul food as they serve up food that really can warm your soul.
New Yorker Tip: If you have the time, take a walk down Lennox Avenue to get a taste of some of the beautiful brownstones that reside in Harlem. Harlem has a rich architectural history and the area around Amy Ruth’s is one of the best spots to see it.