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'Proper' Southern food comes to Boston's South End

Chef Jason Cheek is serving up a slice of North Carolina in the Hub.
Southern Proper Boston
Southern Proper is now open in Boston's South End. Photos by Regan Cleminson

We may be damn Yankees, but Boston is quickly becoming a hotbed for great Southern food.

The latest addition to the city's surging culinary scene is Southern Proper, a South End restaurant owned by executive chef Jason Cheek. After honing his skills in the kitchen at local hotspots like Toro and Merrill & Co., Cheek decided to go back to his North Carolina roots with his exciting new venture.

"I spent much of my childhood on my grandparents' farm in North Carolina, where we picked dinner from the fields and slow cooked whole hogs over coals," Cheek said in a release. "My memories from an early age revolve around homemade Southern food and the experience of eating together — with family and at large community gatherings."

The menu at Southern Proper reflects Cheek's love for traditional, North Carolina fare, featuring regional favorites like shrimp and grits, hushpuppies and an array of smoked and salted meats. All of the tasty condiments and sauces are made in-house as well, including the sweet and spicy pineapple hot sauce and a lavender-infused honey.


Cheek and his team truly hit it out of the park with their delicious take on comfort food staples like the charred okra and pimento mac and cheese. Southern Proper also offers an amazing fried chicken, which features a perfect combination of crispy skin with a flavorful bite of meat.

The drink program by Katie Gilroy features plenty of Southern flare as well, with an extensive list of whiskey, rye and bourbon to go along with a vibrant cocktail menu, plus rotating taps of New England craft brews.

Aside from bringing a taste of Southern cooking to the Hub, the space itself feels like a modern take on a traditional home from down South, complete with antique lighting, colorful decor and even smoke-infused pine walls imported from North Carolina. 

"Every dish at Southern Proper carries this innate sense of character and soul," Cheek says. "I’m thrilled to share a taste of my 'home' with Boston."

If you go:

Tuesdays-Saturdays, 5 p.m.-11 p.m., 600 Harrison Ave., Boston, southernproperboston.com

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