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Flowers Soul Food: Southern cooking at its finest

A peek inside some of South Florida's unique food shops.

Name: Flowers Soul Food Restaurant

Address: 4300 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation

Phone: 954-990-6082

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday

Wow factor: With all due respect, Paula Deen has nothing on the Flowers family. Here, you will find home-style Southern cooking at its finest. Call ahead for takeout, or dine al fresco on the large wooden deck adjoining the kitchen. A peek into the order window reveals fresh collards piled high and co-owner Lashawn Flowers busy prepping for the day's rush. The tender, juicy collards are flavored with smoked pigs tails and are so popular that they are prepared twice a day. Dwayne Flowers, co-owner and Lashawn's husband, can be found outside barbecuing the dry-rubbed succulent ribs that are also a customer favorite. And Lashawn's mother, Georgia native Elizabeth Crockett, is responsible for the luscious banana pudding, red velvet cake, sweet potato pie and other fabulous desserts. The menu is extensive, featuring many soul food favorites such as smothered pork chops, fried catfish and shrimp, pork souse, potato salad and butter beans. Flowers features daily dinner specials such as shepherd's pie, $5 lunch specials (include a drink and are available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and free delivery locally.

Quote: "We have the best soul food in town," Lashawn Flowers says. "All I ask is that customers try us one time, and they will be back for sure."

Background: Since the beginning of their marriage, Dwayne and Lashawn Flowers were always the go-to household for parties and gatherings. The pair loves to cook, and friends and relatives would rave about their food and encourage them to open a restaurant. Three months ago, the couple decided to give it a go.

Buy this: There are so many tasty menu items that it's difficult to limit yourself to just the two sides that are included with dinner. Luckily, you can order extra side dishes. The barbecue ribs ($11.25) consist of a large portion of dry-rubbed, tender and meaty ribs with a sweet sauce. We all agreed the collard greens ($3 for a side) were the best we'd ever had, while the mac and cheese ($3.25) was rich with real cheese and gooey goodness. The smothered pork chops ($11.25) entree featured two huge, bone-in chops liberally doused with a peppery brown gravy on top of steaming white rice. Enough for two people, the chops were tender, flavorful and nicely spiced. Potato salad ($1.50 small, $3 large), an extra creamy version made with eggs, is an excellent accompaniment for anything on the menu. The sweet potato pie ($2.25) is the perfect blend of richness without being too sweet, while the same can be said for the banana pudding ($3), which is homemade pudding with fresh bananas, vanilla wafers and a toasty meringue on top. Red velvet cake sells out quickly ($3.25) and has a cream cheese frosting and a dusting of nuts on top.

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