Phoebe the Phoodie: Tupelo Honey

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Photo by RJ Siano (ryan.siano@marquette.edu)

Phoebe tried Tupelo Honey, a southern comfort food restaurant in the Historic Third Ward.

Recently, Milwaukee weather has been a repetitive cycle of rain, snow, ice and little to no sun. When we are trapped in a loop like this in the dreary winter months, it’s easy to settle into a seasonal depression. The best cure I can think of to help curve this sadness is the ultimate source of pleasure: comfort food. Nothing truly soothes my soul like fried anything, especially when I am at a table surrounded by friends and family who also are searching for comfort.

This weekend was my first National Marquette Day, and the hype around it has had me looking forward to this day for months. My mom and stepdad decided to join in on the fun of National Marquette Day and drove in from Chicago on Friday night. After a long week of studying, homework, and bad weather, I decided the only thing that I was craving was southern food. It’s hard to find an authentic southeast comfort food restaurant in Milwaukee, but we certainly achieved this goal.

Tupelo Honey is a southern revival restaurant that has locations in twelve states across the country. The Milwaukee location is located on Broadway Street near the Historic Third Ward, which is known for feel-good food and atmospheres.

We started off the meal with their famous fried green tomatoes and biscuits. Both appetizers were the highlight of the meal. The biscuits were warm and fresh and accompanied by a homemade blueberry jam that was the perfect complement to the sweet dough. The tomatoes were fresh and crisp, but the grits that came with it were lacking seasoning.

For my main course, I ordered one of their bowls, which had cauliflower rice, sweet potato, lettuce, avocado and spiced pecans, and I added their fried chicken on top. I would consider this to be a solid meal, but it was still missing flavor across the board. All the items separately had a lot of appeal to them, but when mixed it felt like all the effort behind it was lost in a mushy mess.

My best friend Anna Ring ordered the smothered chicken, fried chicken covered in gravy which she said was dry and lacking a certain crispness. My mom also got the plain fried chicken but said the sides that came with all the meals had outshined what was supposed to be the star of the show: the chicken.

We all decided to split the banana pudding, which isn’t my go-to because I am not the biggest fan of pudding texture. But I do have to say the banana flavor was refreshing and provided a good end to the meal.

One thing I find difficult to achieve in southern food is making it feel fresh. It is typically is smothered in grease. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious, but the freshness that Tupelo Honey was able to offer through its fried food was out of this world. I just feel like due to how crisp and light the meal was, the flavor was lost in the preparation, which provided a so-so meal.

As for the atmosphere of the restaurant, the casual and homey décor provided some of the feelings that the actual taste of the food was lacking. We all came to the consensus that we would probably go back to the restaurant just to get the appetizers and desserts, but wouldn’t miss out on much by skipping the main course.

My rating for Tupelo Honey is six out of ten stars.

This story was written by Phoebe Goebel. She can be reached at phoebe.goebel@marquette.edu.