Apparently, July 30th is National Chicken and Waffles Day. I’m not always a fan of these seemingly made up “national holidays” that Instagram and the morning news delights in, but sometimes there’s one that hits me right in my heart so hard that I can’t avoid celebrating it.
This might not be official, there are other places out there that say other dates are “Chicken and Waffles Day” but do they have a sign in their chicken and waffles establishment proclaiming it so?!
I can’t pin point the exact day I had my first chicken and waffles meal. It was probably in Oakland at Home of Chicken and Waffles, around 2012. I probably had something super normal and uninventive for a menu like their’s with so many options. My love of this meal coincided with my move back to California after living in Washington for two years. Since that first meal, I’ve developed a slight obsession with it.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love breakfast. I’ll order it whenever I can make any excuse to have breakfast for dinner. Chicken and Waffles is just such a solid meal. It’s not quite breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s really the perfect brunch meal because it’s hardy enough to fill you up for a while. Plus it pairs best with sweet and savory sides. I hesitate to call it my ~favorite~ meal because I love having it every so often as a special treat, but then again because it has so many variations, it’s always special.
In the past five years, I’ve had this meal from at least two dozen different places. I have my favorite reliable places, as well as some stand out places.
If you don’t mind waiting 20 mins to get seated, this place has the most affordable bottomless mimosa brunch I’ve ever come across. They don’t fucking play around when they say bottomless. You take one sip of your mimosa and they rush over to fill it with champagne. The food is always great. It’s chicken wings, not entirely fried chicken so it’s still great. The waffle is the perfect Belgien size with deep divots to pour your syrup into. Imagine a diner and you’re likely picturing Pann’s. The service is delightful and the food is delicious. Actually, I can only speak for the Chicken and Waffles meal, which I think is the only thing worth getting.
Runner up: Home of Chicken and Waffles (Oakland, CA)
You never forget your first. They also have a great weekend bottomless mimosa brunch special. Their fried chicken is so great! And they have so many different meal combos. My go-to’s are Paige’s Pallette: 2 fried chicken wings, an egg (fried) and a waffle. OR Keiths Tackle: 2 chicken wings, a waffles and mac and cheese.
Maybe it’s because it’s made with Aloha, maybe it’s because I was on vacation mode when I had these, but my god this is exactly what I think of when I picture Fried Chicken and Waffles. Everything about it was perfect and exact, I couldn’t believe it. I got the right portion of everything, there wasn’t anything super fancy about it. It was simple, delicious and hands down the best meal I’ve ever had.
Runner Up: Neptune’s (Alameda, CA)
I went to this place on a whim and was delightfully surprised. The atmosphere was so darling. They really don’t play with their Neptune theme. We sat outside and enjoyed a really unique take on fried chicken and incredibly sweet waffles (there was a savory option as well). I went during their soft opening while they were still in the midsts of getting a liquor license. The one thing I would have enjoyed with this amazing meal was a mimosa.
Close Third: Brown Sugar Kitchen (Oakland, CA)
This place is quickly becoming an Oakland staple. It’s got a phenomenal soul food style menu and of course a very delicious Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Waffles meal. To top it off (literally) they serve it with brown sugar butter and apple cider syrup which makes you say “of fucking course, these tastes go together!” The only downside (for me not for them) is how popular they are and how early I have to come to get this amazing unique meal.
Not worth the hype
I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t love Roscoes. I’ve been there a handful of times and have tried many different items on their menu. But at best everything is very blah. The way I describe their food to people is fast food chicken and waffles. It’s not awful, but it’s also nothing special. The food comes quickly, like it’s hot and ready, which can be nice because their places can get really full. I know I know, Barack Obama loves Roscoes, and maybe I would too if I had a meal named after me. It’s not the worst, but when there are so many better options around, it’s not my first choice.
This is an obvious one. Of course, people don’t come to Universal Studios to get a Chicken and Waffles sandwich from Cletus’ Chicken Shack. They come for the butterbeer. But in case you were in the neighborhood, saw it on the menu and wondered if it was good or not, let me tell you it’s not. It’s literal fast food. The waffle is soggy from the slaw, the chicken is more baked than fried and it’s honestly too hard to eat. I’ve unfortunately had it twice and it didn’t get better the second time.
Go forth, my friends! Celebrate this glorious day right! Let me know what you’re eating!