It’s a classic brunch dilemma: savory or sweet? Fortunately, the inspired combination of fried chicken piled on top of waffles means there’s no need to choose.
There’s magic in the rich, fatty salt of fried chicken, tempered by the sugar of maple syrup and a crispy waffle. And there’s satisfaction in having breakfast and dinner at once—no matter the time of day. It’s a recipe that has stood the test of time, spread across the nation, and gotten only more appetizing.
The classic chicken and waffles we know and love can be traced to the late 1930s, when the Wells Supper Club opened in Harlem. The joint drew Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, and Gladys Knight, often looking to refuel after a show. One of the regulars, Herb Hudson, moved to L.A. and opened the now-legendary Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.
Some chefs have since been inspired to tinker. Kentucky’s MilkWood serves a chicken and waffles appetizer on a bed of parsley, dill, and buttermilk. In Greenville, SC, chef Anthony Gray of Bacon Bros. Public House layers waffles with thin slices of country ham and fresh sage leaves and fries the chicken to order in a cast-iron skillet.
In the name of research, we even stopped at one of the Coolhaus trucks for an ice cream version: brown butter loaded with waffle bits and swirls of homemade caramel, infused with organic fried chicken skins.
For a full meal, hit up one of these chicken and waffle restaurants. Some take the classic approach, others skew creative, but all do justice to this satisfying comfort food.