Sweet, comforting soul food pours its goodness into one dish — chicken and waffles. The crispy, savory fried chicken and syrup-soaked waffles are the tastiest culinary odd couple. The chicken and waffle craze has caught on from soul food shacks to some of Phoenix's most upscale restaurants. While not every place does this tasty, unique meal justice, here are the 12 best spots in town to hit up on your quest for the best chicken and waffles.
It might be slightly cringe-worthy to walk into any local restaurant that has the godawful neon stencil of Guy Fieri on the wall, but, hey — it isn't Over Easy's fault that it rocks breakfast so hard that (obnoxious) TV personalities have taken note. The secret to this Arcadia breakfast hots pot's chicken and waffles has to be the sauce. Though it's just a combination of syrup and Cholula stirred tableside, it complements the crispy fried boneless chicken breast and slightly overcooked (but in a good way) waffle equally with the sweetness and spiciness that both need.
O.H.S.O. Brewery + DistilleryMultiple Locations
Beer is a reason to get a little silly, and if you're attending a beer brunch, then you're bound to get downright wild. Good thing during O.H.S.O. Brewery + Distillery's beer brunch, the chicken and waffles are there to weigh you down a little. The dish consists of crispy chicken with Belgium waffles, complete with spicy maple syrup, maple butter, and plain bacon. Your entree also includes a 10-ounce Arizona beer or Monster Mimosa, so feel free to pace yourself. Beer brunch runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.
Lo-Lo's Chicken and WafflesMultiple Locations
If you don't want some white-bread reduction of soul food's flagship meal, go to Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles — because chicken and waffles is literally in the name. Many Phoenicians' first introduction to this dish is via Lo-Lo's and there's good reason: Lo-Lo's tops the list of favorite chicken and waffles time and time again with a classic, uncomplicated, and perfectly executed take on the dish with a reasonable price tag. You can pair it with grits, greens, or mac and cheese. You can even choose what parts of the chicken you want. We recommend going all out if you're a first timer with the KK's plate with three pieces of chicken, two waffles, grits, and two eggs with cheese and onions.
10600 East Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale
In a world of fancy places serving down-home entrees, Proof at the Four Seasons pretty much takes the cake. If you're ready to fork over north of $20 for chicken and waffles, which is hard to justify considering other places serve it up for under $10, you'll get a hefty serving of perfectly fried chicken over a fluffy, Belgian-style waffle bed. But wait, there's more. Proof's chicken and waffles also come with bacon brittle, bourbon-heavy peach syrup, and house-made serrano and jalapeño verde hot sauce. Enjoy your pricey plate at sunset for best value, because the view from Proof's hillside north Scottsdale balcony is absolutely beautiful.
Tuck Shop2245 North 12th Street
While batter-drenched, floury fried chicken is standard for most fried chicken places, Tuck Shop in central Phoenix takes another approach with its version of the dish. The crispy, citrus-brined fried chicken skin, not breading, gives Tuck Shop's chicken its crunch and flavor. It's also possibly moistest chicken on this list. The waffle is savorier with a cornmeal texture and sweet butter on top. While this plate doesn't come with syrup on the side, it does come with sweet succotash, which pairs with the waffles in the same way syrup would if you get brave enough to dip one in the succotash.
Jewel’s Bakery and Cafe
4041 East Thomas Road
Anyone who knows gluten-free restaurants in Phoenix knows, and recommends, Jewel’s Café. Menu items are 100 percent free of gluten, and use locally sourced ingredients. But in addition to the food being gluten-free, it’s also unique — especially during brunch. Somewhere on the menu, there’s chicken and waffles with honey Sriracha, and buttermilk syrup. And next to that, there's hot chicken and waffles, i.e. Nashville-style chicken thighs with waffles and buttermilk syrup.
Rag's Real Chicken & Waffles
12242 North 111th Avenue, Youngtown
Found in the city of Youngtown, this family-owned restaurant plates sky-high chicken and waffles. Yes, when you order the namesake dish off the menu at Rag’s Real Chicken & Waffles, it must stand about six inches off the table. Rag refers to the owner, Ken Smith, a.k.a. Rag, who’s been operating the 50-seat eatery since 2015. For the chicken and waffles, white meat means a breast and wing; dark means a thigh and drum. If you go white, this is a shockingly big chicken breast with divots, so it can be pulled apart more easily. The waffles are cooked to order with cinnamon, and come with a cup of butter and communal syrup. This is an excellent choice for chicken and waffles in the northwest Valley.
The Mission3815 North Brown Avenue, Scottsdale
While we fondly know The Mission for their addictive aguacate margaritas, the Old Town Scottsdale staple also offers a killer chicken and waffles dish with a Southwestern vibe. Sold exclusively during brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., the pollo a la brasa y waffle makes some modest changes to the soul food classic with half-roasted roasted chicken smothered in the spicy aji rocoto sauce. That, paired with the bacon-studded, maple-syrup-covered, fresh, pecan-kissed waffles, makes for a one-of-a-kind, kicked-up take on an already flavorful dish. Plus, it is nice to have a not-fried option when you're craving chicken and waffles.
1515 North Seventh Avenue, #170
Set in the food court over at Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road, Vovomeena grants the Willo District a chance to brunch local. Vovomeena gets a little creative, even putting a whole new spin on the classic chicken and waffle dish. The b.m.o.c. is a "massive" smoked pork chop and a waffle, sided by two eggs, a Portuguese doughnut, and apple maple syrup. If you join it with the Japanese cold brew, there's a chance you might not slip into a food coma.
This quintessential Phoenix area breakfast has been around since 1986. U.S. Egg is known for serving eggs every old which-a-way, topping off your coffee, and now, chicken and waffles. Found under the section of the menu titled "Pancakes, Waffles & Such," the chicken and waffles dish comes with three fried chicken strips and the well-known house Belgian waffle, plus a a side of gravy and two eggs.
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Yes, Hash Kitchen has a buck-wild Bloody Mary bar, but the four Valley locations also offer full breakfast, brunch, and lunch menus. Among the inventive dishes is the herb-fried chicken and waffle. It's a plate of waffles with herb-fried chicken, as the dish's name would have you guess, plus fried leeks and warm maple reduction as your syrup. Pair it with one of Hash's weekend-worthy morning cocktails.
The Root and Soul
14144 North 100th Street, Scottsdale
Grandson of Elizabeth White, founder of Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe, Christian Buze recently opened a soul food restaurant in north Scottsdale. The prior Root and Soul location opened last year in DeSoto Central Market, but after its closure, Buze opened his 74-seat eatery across town. On the specials menu at Root and Soul, find an order of chicken and waffles with choice of chicken tenders or bone-in, Southern fried chicken, plus waffles, maple syrup, and the house Cajun sauce.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on August 27, 2013. It was updated on August 24, 2019. Heather Hoch contributed to this article.