Your lunch is safe in Southern Hands, Hickory Hill's home cooking powerhouse

Southern Hands Home Style Cooking has been serving southern soul food classics from their Hickory Hill location for nearly a decade. Not just soul food but great soul food. The restaurant is one of the busiest in Hickory Hill, with a packed parking lot at midday and often evenings too. 

“There's nobody in Hickory Hill that doesn't know us,” said co-founder Cassandra Pye.

Pye is equal partners in the business with her siblings Daryl Green, Racquel Adams, Earlena Brown and Earl Baskin.

The Hickory Hill location at 6025 Winchester Road attracts people from Southeast Memphis and across the Mid-South. The siblings also own and operate two other locations, one in Raleigh and one in Olive Branch.

Pye said they'll open their fourth location on Millbranch Road in April 2020. Their longer-term plans include restaurants in Jackson and Nashville, Tenn. 

The siblings manage each locations and are accustomed to filling in wherever they're needed from seating customers to cooking and washing dishes.  

The menu includes appetizers, 11 classic southern-style entrees, a plethora of well-seasoned sides, and desert. A personal-sized loaf of cornbread accompanies every meal. 

It's worth noting that Southern Hands passes one of the best test of great soul food restaurants — it lists spaghetti as a vegetable.

Pye said the fried chicken and meatloaf are the most popular dishes, along with Kam’s Pork Chops topped with gravy, onions and peppers. 

The prices are more than reasonable and the portions generous. Lunch platters run from $7.29 to $8.99. The most expensive dinner entree is less than $15. 

Terrance Adams is a repeat customer at the Hickory Hill location.

“It's delicious. The food is always fresh and warm. Everything here is very tasty," said Adams. "The customer service is awesome, and the prices are really good."

The Hickory Hill location is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Terrance Adams prepares to tuck into his lunch at Southern Hands Homestyle Cooking located at 6025 Winchester Road. (A.J. Dugger III)

Handing it Down

Pye and her siblings learned to love cooking in their mother’s kitchen. Their mother, Betty Baskin, was also foundational to the development of the Southern Hands restaurants. She helped run the business until her death in May 2018.

“My mom was a great cook,” said Pye. “I asked her 18 years ago to open up a restaurant. I talked her into it, and we opened up our first spot in 2002 on Danny Thomas. It was a carryout place ... That was our first shot at it.”

After briefly moving to a location in Collierville, the family relocated the business to Hickory Hill in 2010. The Raleigh location opened in 2016 and the Olive Branch location in 2017.

“Hickory Hill chose us,” said Pye about their decision to relocate. 

World Overcomers Church owned the building, which sits at the northern edge of the former Hickory Ridge Mall complex. The church purchase the mall after its closure and rebranded it as a town center. It's now home to faith-based meetings, government services and locally-owned shops, boutiques and food vendors. 

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Pye said Hickory Hill doesn’t have many sit-down restaurants for families and friends to gather. Southern Hands helps serve that need, in addition to their delicious dishes.

Southern Hands was previously an Applebee's. Its history is indicative of the large number of big-box and chain restaurants that left the neighborhood beginning in the late 1990s. It's also a great example of the many local entrepreneurs who've moved in to fill the spaces left vacant and needs left unmet in their absence. 

“It gives people somewhere to go,” she said. “There's not many restaurants like that, especially on Hickory Hill and Winchester roads.”

Read more articles by A. J. Dugger III.

A.J. Dugger III is an award-winning journalist and native Memphian who joined High Ground as lead writer for its signature series, On the Ground, in August 2019. Previously, he wrote for numerous publications in West Tennessee and authored two books, “Southern Terror” and “The Dealers: Then and Now.” He has also appeared as a guest expert on the true-crime series, “For My Man.” For more information, visit ajdugger.net. (Photo by April Stilwell)
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