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 10 best spots in town to hit up on your quest for the best chicken and waffles.
Over Easy 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 hotspot's chicken and waffles ($9) 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. Over Easy also has locations in Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Mesa.
Searsucker The whole Searsucker menu is smothered in decadence, so it's no surprise that it features chicken and waffles -- as a $14 appetizer. The breaded fried chicken sits atop a light and fluffy waffle in a clean, simple presentation elevated above the typical chicken and waffle plate. It tastes as great as it looks. Pair it with any one of the other amazingly indulgent apps and you have a heart-unhealthy, happy-tummy (and tastebuds) dinner in the making.
Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles 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 thef chicken you want. We recommend going all out if you're a first timer with the KK's plate ($15) with three pieces of chicken, two waffles, grits, and two eggs with cheese and onions. We also recommend that you go to the original Phoenix location for an authentic experience.
Cowboy Ciao Hiding in plain sight on Cowboy Ciao's eclectic lunchtime sandwich menu, you'll find CC's take on chicken and waffles. How does Cowboy Ciao justify calling it a sandwich, you ask? Well for one thing, there really isn't another place to put it on the menu, but to quote the menu itself, "If I were you I'd spread the whipped Bourbon/maple butter on the red velvet waffles then put the sweet mustard slaw & southern-fried chicken between them." If you do that, it kind of makes a sandwich (which definitely should not be hand-held -- believe us, we tried) and definitely makes for a great $14 lunch in Old Town Scottsdale.
Del Frisco's Grille You're in luck if you're in the Biltmore area around brunchtime over the weekend because Del Frisco's Grille serves up some of the most devilishly decadent chicken and waffles in town. Picture three soft, fresh mini-waffles side by side, each topped with its own piece of fried chicken, then bacon and then syrup. Del Frisco's essentially has taken the chicken and waffles concept and combined it with a slider mentality, giving you three separate little treats for $15 that are perfect for sharing, although you may not want to once you've tried them.
Proof 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 $24 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 housemade Serrano and jalapeno verde hot sauce. Enjoy your pricey plate at sunset for best value because the view from Proof's hillside NoSco balcony is absolutely beautiful.
The Mission 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 ($16) makes some modest changes to the soul food classic with Peruvian 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.
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Lousiana Fried Chicken Some of the best chicken and waffle spots in town charge a lot for their take on the dish. Luckily, you don't have to spend top dollar to get some quality chicken and waffles. For about $7.50 (tax included), you get a full plate of the spicy, crunchy fried chicken LFC is known so well for, along with a cinnamon-y made-to-order waffle, a side of butter and two sides of syrup. While this meal doesn't cost much, it can definitely compete in the flavor department with any of the other, more expensive options on this list.
Tuck Shop 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 more savory with a corn meal 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. It's easy to see why this upscale preparation warrants the $19 price tag.
Citizen Public House While Citizen's "Piggy and Waffle" plate ($12) actually features a fried pork cutlet, it deserves a mention on this list because it is both tasty and entirely gluten-free. The waffle pretty much tastes like cornbread compressed into waffle shape and covered in nutty pecan butter. The chicken -- er, pork -- is crispy, crunchy and very salty. The simple celery root slaw on the side is the perfect palate cleanser between flavor-packed bites. Those three components along with the infamous Midwest Manhattan make this pseudo-chicken and waffles plate well worth the inclusion. Trust us. After 10 of these things, we're kind of experts.