Sunday, October 25, 2009

Loves Me Some Chicken and Waffles

Without a doubt, chicken-and-waffles is one of the best inventions to come out of the 1800’s, right alongside the light bulb, the telephone, and industrialization. Seriously. More recently, this historically soulful concoction has found a little cubbyhole in my heart that I never knew existed. And while I generally don’t love mixing savory with sweet, I’ve developed a shameful lust for C-n-W that demands to be fed.

To that end, I’ve been making my way around town in hopes of locating the very best iteration. Fried Chicken? Awesome. Waffles? Awesome. Fried chicken and waffles together? Triple awesome.

It may sound obvious, but chicken-and-waffles is essentially two dishes cooked separately, then smashed together. What I’ve learned is that most restaurants place *great* emphasis on one half, while completely disregarding the other. For shame! Research below.

The Breakfast Klub
This place is firstly famous for its Wings and Waffles dish, and indeed the chefs here crank out batch after batch after batch, breakfast and lunch, Monday through Saturday. In terms of experience, no one beats these guys. As expected, the chicken here is 100% incredible, but they have *got* to do something about their chewy, reheated, Eggo-like waffles which do this dish a severe injustice.

Max’s Wine Dive
The Sunday brunch menu is where you’ll find Max’s Wing Cakes, an enormous plate of beautifully seasoned fried chicken waaaangs served over pancakes. Not surprisingly, the chicken here is great -- golden, spicy, and without grease oozing out everywhere. But the pancakes are just average. Also? They’re not waffles. And honestly? It seems semi-wrong to eat soul food in a wine bar. Just sayin’.

Dry Creek
Dry Creek’s brunch menu features crispy wings over Grandma’s Waffle. This was, by far, the best waffle of the lot -- airy, thick, and golden -- but the fried chicken was an overly-breaded salty pool of grease. Yikes! If we could only get the waffle peeps here to meet the chicken peeps at The Breakfast Klub, we’d be in Wings ‘n Waffle heaven. Only I don’t think that’s happening this century. Poochie.

This new Heights diner serves chicken-and-waffles all day. I went in with low expectations (Lola is new, after all), and was pleasantly surprised by the gold-medal goodness. The fruit-laden waffle is nicely crisp and the chicken is expertly breaded, then fried without a mess of excess grease. While the waffle, itself, is a bit chewy, this dish is great. Theo didn’t like his, but I truly enjoyed mine.


Sparkle’s hamburger joint has exactly the ambiance you seek for chicken-and-waffles. It’s a run-down shack on a run-down corner south of downtown. Perhaps my expectations were a little too high when I laid eyes on the place because I was severely disappointed with the food. The chicken was *beyond* salty and the waffle, tough. They are not afraid of the butter (as noted in the picture below), but even that godly substance couldn’t jack the love.

Despite their ups-and-downs, I’ve enjoyed most iterations of the dish, at least to some extent. However, I definitely haven’t found the golden standard. Any suggestions?


tshu said...

Holy crap that's some serious research. You get a gold star, or at least a oversized web 2.0 badge "badass food research award."

Judging by your photo of the chicken and waffles at Lola, it looks like we got totally different dishes. Your waffle looks golden brown, whereas mine was yellow, limp and sad. I can't explain why my chicken was so off. I'll try it again in a few weeks; it always takes a new place a few months to really get in a groove.

I agree on your take on Max's. pancakes != waffles. Breakfast Klub has always been my go-to for the dish, but they've been slipping for a while.

Interesting that these are all ~ 5 miles from each other. There HAS to be others. ANYONE? Will travel for good waffles!

JKL said...

I love the fried chicken at Frank's Chop House (Tuesday night special), and I just read that starting November 1st they'll be open on Sundays and serving chicken and waffles at brunch/lunch. Hopefully they'll have a great waffle to pair with their fantastic fried chicken!

Ruthie Johnson said...

Ohhhh... Thanks for the tip, JKL!

Tina Marie said...

You missed the fantastic chicken-and-waffles at Grand Lux Cafe. The chicken fingers have some sort of pecan flavor in the breading, the waffles are great, and it's all served with a pecan syrup.

Frugalista said...

Thanks for the great list. I've tried The Breakfast Klub's and Max's Wine Dive's chicken and waffles and they were delicious. I can't wait to try your other suggestions. Thanks!

apronless said...

I applaud this extensive research. Never having eaten chicken and waffles before, this provides me with a wealth of places to start!

JM said...

Dang Ruthie, where do you put all that food? You're not a one bite spit it out kinda gal are ya?

sashanker said...

do you know who larry johnson is?? DO YOU??

CrayonGirl said...

Thanks! - Love Lola's Chicken and Waffles and the fact that they are served ALL day!

going now for some before i flop on the couch & tune into reality-TV trash tonight !

tinyspaceship said...

Have you tried Grand Luxe cafe?? They have Chicken & Waffles on their menu. I haven't tried it yet though.

Patrick said...

Harry's on Bagby has chicken strips and waffles. The waffle and the chicken were both pretty solid. They make a decent attempt at the spicy southern breading like breakfast club. Not quite as good, but I like the boneless.

Ruthie Johnson Miller said...

Thanks for the tip, Patrick -- Definitely gonna try that one!

Megan said...

Zelko on 11th has a version of chicken and waffles, it's on my list of food to get to!

Houston Love said...

I don't typically like main stream restaurants and never thought much about the cheesecake factory line of restaurants but grand lux has AMAZING chicken tenders and waffles! It's like their made to go together, the chicken is breaded with pecans and the syrup is a perfect complement!


I love the wings and pound cake waffles. That's my favorite.

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