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There are two main ways that this family-run business distinguishes itself from the competition: having lower prices and serving food more quickly than any just about any other soul food restaurant in town. The somewhat surprising key to the restaurant’s success is that almost all of the food is served from a steam table. That and, of course, the fact that the food is damn good, whether you’re talking about the bargain-priced fried chicken, fried fish, and other 99-cent menu items; the daily specials that run the gamut from braised oxtails to smothered turkey wings; or the down-home vegetable sides. The steam table model works because Lena’s is popular enough to ensure that nothing sits in the steam tray for very long, allowing the kitchen to cook everything in small batches throughout the day. After all, it’s not uncommon for there to be a line out the door, even at, say, 3 p.m. on a random weekday.

— Luke Tsai

Hours: Tue.-Sun. 11 a.m.–8 p.m.


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Price: $-$$

Payment Type: Cash, all major credit cards

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