This is part two of my interview with Larry White, Jr. (Lo-Lo), the owner of Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles. In case you missed it, you can read part one of my interview with Larry White, Jr. of Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles, which ran yesterday.
Explain the history of chicken and waffles: The chicken and waffle thing started at Wells Cabaret in Harlem, New York in the 1920s. Customers would come in for something to eat after getting out of the clubs. At 3 or 4 in the morning, they didn't know if they wanted dinner or breakfast. Wells came up with the idea of giving them a little of both, and it blew up.
What's the proper way to eat chicken and waffles: Spread your butter over your waffles, put that warm syrup over your waffles. Cut 'em up. Drench your chicken in that Red Rooster hot sauce. Get a forkful of waffles, and with your other hand, pick up that chicken. Put the waffle in your mouth and bite into the chicken. You got chicken, hot sauce, waffles, syrup all in your mouth at once. It bothers me when somebody done ate all their waffles and now they're working on the chicken.
Why is your fried chicken so good: We take no shortcuts. It comes in fresh daily. We put it in an egg and water wash, and it comes out gooey so the seasoning salt sticks to it. We make our own seasoning salt from a family recipe. The wash makes it stick to the chicken. Now we put it in the flour and lightly coat it and then we deep-fry it in canola oil at 350 degrees and Wa-la.
What's your favorite dish (other than fried chicken) at Lo-Lo's: Shrimp and grits, fried catfish and banana pudding. Our banana pudding is the real deal, made with Vanilla Wafers.
What's your favorite piece of chicken: The breast. I like to get to the back of the breast, suck that seasoning off the bone. People say I pick a chicken bone clean. When I'm through with it, that bone looks like it's been in the desert for a week -- like the lions have eaten it, then the vultures came, then the rats and then the ants. I leave a piece of chicken like the ants have got to it.
What's up with the Kool-Aid: How can you have fried chicken and mac and cheese, without Kool-Aid? Those three go together -- especially the red Kool-Aid. When I was a kid, my dad would bring home fried chicken in a brown paper bag and I'd put my Kool-Aid in the freezer to make it like a slushy. Then I'd sit there watching cartoons and eating cold fried chicken with Kool-Aid, another good food memory.
What are your favorite local restaurants other than your own: Hillstone -- not that they need any pull-up. We love their ribs, their steak, their fish and they have great desserts. Their sundae and their key lime pie? Awesome! We love Oregano's pizza. They have the best hands down. I also love the Chuck Box.
What are your favorite restaurants elsewhere in the US: My wife and I went to Las Vegas recently, and we went to that place, what is it? John and George? Jean Georges? That shit was absolutely delicious. Oh, and The Griddle on Sunset in LA is ah-mazing. Their pancakes? Oh my goodness. I tried The Griddle after Al Roker recommended it on the Today Show. It was like from one fat cat to another fat cat.
Do you consider yourself a cook, a restaurateur or a businessman: I'm all three. I sometimes get in the kitchen and I cook. Everybody has seen me mop the floors, wash the dishes and take out the garbage. They see me do everything they do. It's good for morale.
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Lots of famous athletes and music people have come to eat at Lo-Lo's. Who have you most enjoyed meeting: Muhammad Ali. When he comes into my store, and he's come many times, the hair on the back of my neck stands up. I can remember sitting on my daddy's lap and watching him fight on TV. He's the greatest of all time.
Enjoy this Chef Salad? Check out Nikki's previous interviews with: Lori Hashimoto of Hana Japanese Eatery