Chicken and Waffles

The way to rate a good plate of chicken and waffles is by how big the pockets in the waffle are. The larger the pockets, the more syrup and butter will stick to every bite. Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles restaurant chain in Los Angeles was the first to serve this dish exclusively. Not surprisingly, Chicago, the food capital of the Midwest, quickly adopted it. If fried chicken and warm waffles smothered in butter and maple syrup sounds like the best savory and sweet culinary combination on the planet, you are sure to satisfy your fix at one of these Chicago neighborhoods restaurants. 

Bistro Dre (2965 N. Lincoln Ave.)

This new French, Italian, and Southern American fusion restaurant serves one of the best brunches in West Lakeview. The staff is gregarious and highly attentive. Don't be surprised if the owner and his wife float by to refill your teapot, check-in on your meal, or even serve your meal. This lunch, brunch and dinner restaurant makes ample use of the high tin ceilings and bright storefront windows. The whole place has the feeling of an old-fashioned lunch counter complete with a bar at the back for additional dining.

The chicken is fried with a sweet buttermilk batter and the waffles are made from cornbread. Sausage gravy and a side of potato salad finish off this perfect dish. In every bite of chicken you get a burst of sugar. You won't need a lot of maple syrup, but don't skimp on the butter. Bistro Dre's take on this now classic dish is out of this world. 

Waffles (3617 N. Broadway Ave. / 1400 S. Michigan Ave.)

Waffles Chicago

It may be a chain, but that doesn't change the fact that its chicken and waffles are spot-on. Bacon is crumbled over a generous portion of tender fried chicken and a fluffy Belgian-style waffle with bacon baked inside. At Waffles, the wait staff will fill you in on the difference between waffle styles, but the best choice is a Belgian waffle with an airy inside and crunchy outside. Stray away from dense waffles when paired with heavy fried chicken. Waffles offers many other familiar breakfast dishes with a waffle twist such as waffles and gravy. 

Chicago Home of Chicken & Waffles (3947 S. King Dr.)

Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles

I was desperately hoping that I could replicate my experience at Sylvia's in Harlem, NYC here at Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles. While it wasn't my favorite place for this popular dish, Chicago Home of Chicken and Waffles is a south side institution in line after Daley's restaurant.  Your order here is highly customizable.

I ordered the two piece fried chicken with waffles, which is far too little. Make sure you order half a bird or at least a thigh and a few wings. Being a mid-western corn-fed boy, I ordered the cornbread as a side, which was the highlight for me. The collard greens are another classic side offered here as well. On the way to the restaurant, you will be driving your car or riding the bus down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard where some of the most exquisite, yet not all restored, Richardson Romanesque town homes still stand. 

Daley's Restaurant (809 E. 63rd St.)

Though Daley's has only been serving chicken and waffles for about the past six years, this American diner has been at its Woodlawn location just south of Hyde Park in one form or another since 1892. Daley's serves up five dark meat chicken wings with fluffier Belgian style waffles sprinkled with powdered sugar. The restaurant has had three generations of owners starting with Irishman John Daley who came to USA to lay the first elevated rail lines in Chicago before the first South Side "L" train began running in 1892 to serve fairgoers traveling to the World's Columbian Exposition of the next year. Some of its most famous customers have been Mario Van Peeples, David Soul (Hutch from TV's Starsky and Hutch), Mayor Daley, of course, Sam Cook, and Chicago's first black mayor Harold Washington. These patrons as well as others are featured on a wall of memorabilia in the restaurant.

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