By Daniel Paris

As I was driving to Brown’s BBQ, a medley of Mississippi delta blues started to take over and stimulate images of crispy fried catfish waiting for me on a plate.

This was my third visit to Chef Charles Brown’s hidden-gem restaurant in the north Palm Springs area.  His tiny establishment is among a collection of worn structures that could be sitting along the south’s Highway 61 corridor.  I feel transported as I pull into the gravel parking lot flanked by a barber shop and a bar that has seen better days. 

As I enter and find a spot at one of the four tables I am greeted with a big smile from Charles the chef/owner of the restaurant.  The menu and sides cover the beloved recipes of classic southern comfort food, including the mandatory sweet tea.  Slow ribs, brisket, hot links, tri-tip and pulled pork from the backyard smoker.  Crunchy deep-fried shrimp, wings, chicken and catfish are the mains.  The sides include mac- and- cheese, potato salad, grits, yams, coleslaw, black-eyed peas, red beans and rice and fries. Moist and crunchy cornbread accompanies the plates and meals.


There is a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce on each table to add a little sting to your taste buds.  The BBQ sauce is homemade and has a nice slow burn hiding behind an initial sweetness.

I come for the catfish.  Deep fried with a crispy cornmeal crust that shatters in your mouth providing a great intro to the unique flavor of the fish.  A three-piece plate is an ample serving for nearly any appetite.  I love the little plastic packets of tartar sauce that accompany each order. 

The buttermilk-marinated fried chicken is perfectly moist with a nicely-spiced crispy coating.  It will make you swear off any franchise fried chicken forever.

Brown’s does a brisk take-out business.  Call ahead and wait a few minutes.  You can kick back and sip on some sweet tea and maybe, if you are lucky, catch some Jerry Springer re-runs.

Brown’s is one of a few places left in the Coachella Valley where you can get a quality full meal for less than fifteen bucks. 

Brown’s BBQ and Soul Food

410 West San Rafael

Palm Springs, Ca. 92262

(760) 832-6985


11am-7pm every day.