Nashville hot chicken is served with cole slaw and sweet...

Nashville hot chicken is served with cole slaw and sweet potato casserole at Mara's Southern Kitchen in Syosset.  Credit: Raychel Brightman

The season for savory, homey food is year-round. But the fare is especially appealing with the start of autumn. Here are three restaurants that prepare it with care.

Mara's Southern Kitchen, formerly Mara's Homemade, is a warm, friendly eatery for hearty, soulful dishes, with a taste of New Orleans and Arkansas barbecue. Recommended: crawfish-stuffed bread; okra, chicken, and andouille sausage gumbo; chargrilled oysters; oyster po'boy; shrimp and grits; blackened redfish; jambalaya; crawfish étouffée; southern fried chicken; Nashville hot chicken; smoked meat sandwiches and platters; St. Louis and baby back ribs; cheese grits; macaroni and cheese; no-mayo coleslaw; chocolate cream pie. Moderate.

Mara's Southern Kitchen, 236 W. Jericho Tpke. (Muttontown Plaza), Syosset, 516-682-9200,

Modern Snack Bar in Aquebogue has been in business since the Truman presidency. The local landmark excels with pies. And don't forget to bring home the mashed turnips, for tonight or for Thanksgiving. Recommended: Key lime garlic oysters; roast turkey with stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce; sauerbraten with red cabbage, potato dumplings, and gingersnap gravy; meatloaf; fried chicken; New England-style clam chowder; lobster salad; fried fluke sandwich; egg creams; root beer float; all pies. Moderate.

Modern Snack Bar, 628 Main Rd. (Route 25), Aquebogue, 631-722-3655,

Cooperage Inn in Baiting Hollow is decorated for each season and specializes in country style. So traditional, it's refreshing. Recommended: shrimp cocktail; crabcakes; eggplant fries; Waldorf salad; meatloaf with roasted garlic mashed potatoes; chicken potpie; marinated and grilled pork chop with apple-mango chutney; marinated and grilled flat iron steak with chimichurri; potato-and-onion crusted fluke; grilled chicken Cobb salad wrap; ahi tuna wrap. Moderate.

Cooperage Inn, 2218 Sound Ave., Baiting Hollow, 631-727-8994,

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