What came first — the chicken or the waffle? No one knows, but sometime in history, chicken and waffles became a thing. In fact, there’s a lot of speculation about this unlikely pairing.
In researching chicken and waffles for the Florida Politics Brunch newsletter, I discovered a few tasty tidbits.
The history: Some sources say the waffle came to America with European colonists in the United States then got a boost when founding father Thomas Jefferson brought home a waffle iron from France. It’s believed that enslaved African-American cooks served fried chicken with waffles and after emancipation, the dish moved north.
Well’s Restaurant, the hot spot in Harlem, was famous for chicken and waffles in the 1930s. And let’s not leave out the Pennsylvania Dutch, who made its dish with stewed chicken and gravy.
Traditionalists may prefer bone-in fried chicken, but you’re unlikely to find it in Tallahassee. Nevertheless, here are some spots where you can indulge in this sweet-savory-crisp-crunchy treat. If you have any more suggestions, we can add them to this list.
- Beans at Betton and Food Glorious Food: You can order chicken and waffles in Beans at Betton, the cozy upstairs bar area at Food Glorious Food, except for Sunday when it’s served upstairs at Food Glorious Food. The dish: fried chicken breast, a waffle dusted with powdered sugar and a strawberry garnish. Brunch at Beans at Betton is served 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at FGF; 1950 Thomasville Road; 850-224-9974.
- Blu Halo: Chicken and waffles are part of the feast. This version is with fried chicken tenders, a vanilla bean Belgian waffle and country gravy with a side of a maple bacon bourbon glaze. It is served 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 3431 Bannerman Road #102; 850-999-1696.
- Kool Beanz: Executive chef/owner Keith Baxter dishes out the boneless fried chicken with sweet potato-pecan waffles. It’s not a family recipe, says the native of England. “I’m pretty sure no one in England eats fried chicken and waffles, much less sweet potato waffles,” said Baxter. 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday; 921 Thomasville Road; 850-224-2466.
- Liberty Bar & Restaurant: The laid-back venue, popular for its tasty food as well as its drinks, serves boneless fried chicken and waffles with honey butter, toasted pecans and blueberry compote, served with bacon or sausage. Chef/owner Jesse Edmunds theorizes that the dish “is “popular because it’s delicious, if ya ask me.” 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 1307 N Monroe St.; 850-354-8277.
- Madison Social: You’ll find buttermilk fried chicken on a sharp cheddar-herb waffle with a drizzle of spiced, local honey and maple-pepper bacon crumbs at this College Town restaurant. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 705 S. Woodward Ave. ; 850-894-6276.
- Table 23: Sit on the restaurant’s charming patio and chow down on Mr. B’s (chef Brandon Miller’s) “secret recipe” for chicken and waffles, made with fried chicken tenders, a waffle, blueberry sriracha syrup and fried sage leaves. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday; 1215 Thomasville Road; 850-329-2261.