Tom's Home Cookin' is a stick-to-your-ribs dispatch for soul-food seekers and Southerners, blue-collar workers and chefs, chatterers, chewers and chicken chasers — the latter a devoted force of purists who know the difference between a great cluck and a forgettable one. There's nothing at Tom's we wouldn't kill for, but the fried chicken, profoundly moist with skin crusted the color of copper, flies right every single time. It's a sign of more goodness to come: peach cobbler, banana pudding, macaroni and cheese (it's the Velveeta, people), cornbread stuffing, candied yams and whatever else owners Steve Jankousky and Tom Unterwagner have on the day's chalkboard. But that chicken? That chicken would make even a hardened vegan fly the coop.

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