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’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?