For many, chicken and waffles is the quintessential comfort food. A plate of crispy fried chicken served on top of fluffy waffles with sweet maple syrup is like a favorite pair of pajamas on a rainy day or during the worst hangover. Speaking of hangovers -- if you have one, this is the meal you need to be eating
Phoenix has been blessed with some of the best at Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles, but we've been hearing rumors that a tiny chain chicken joint in South Phoenix called Louisiana Fried Chicken is cooking up a mean plate of our favorite comfort food.
Can its Louisiana spiced chicken take down long-standing champ Lo-Lo's Phoenix fried fowl?
May the best chicken (and waffles) win!
In This Corner: Lolo's Chicken & Waffles
The Set Up: With two locations in the Valley, this soul food staple has been Phoenix's go-to spot for chicken and waffle's for close to a decade. The original Phoenix location is a small hole-in-the-wall south of Downtown with mismatched tables and chairs and sometimes a long wait in the heat. The newer Scottsdale location is big and shiny with big windows and sparkly matching red and chrome tables and chairs.
The Good: Our Lo-Lo's plate came out hot and fresh with three giant pieces of chicken cooked "southern style" with crispy seasoned skin on the outside and juicy meat on the inside. The two thin waffles were golden brown just as promised and had the unforgettable kiss of cinnamon that pairs perfectly with the meaty chicken. We slathered it all with a generous helping of warm maple syrup and polished off the whole plate.
The Bad: We don't have a complaint about the food -- it was hot, fresh, and delicious -- but the service was a different story. A couple of the items we ordered were forgotten, drinks were never refilled, and a couple members of the staff seemed annoyed we'd come to dine. While most of the staff was super friendly, one bad apple can ruin the bunch, and we don't care how good your chicken is, if you make us feel unwelcome, we'll looking elsewhere for our chicken and waffle fix.
In The Other Corner: Louisiana Fried Chicken
The Set Up: The locally owned Phoenix branch of this California chain cooks up tasty batches of fried chicken, fish, and shrimp. The tiny restaurant sits in the corner of a South Phoenix strip mall and is probably easily overlooked if you're not specifically on a fried chicken mission. The place is really small -- there are just two tiny tables inside -- so it's best to grab your food to go.
The Good: Our four piece chicken and waffle plate came with FIVE pieces (only three are pictured because two piece got snagged off the plate before we could snap the photo). Score one for us! LFC's chicken was super fresh (we watched them dust it with flour and drop it in the fryer) and unbelievably flavorful with a kick of spicy. This stuff is about as good as fried chicken can get. The pieces of meaty chicken were smaller than Lo-Lo's but that made the juicy thighs and drumsticks easier to scarf down. The waffle was Belgium style with thick pockets to soak up the sweet syrup and had a great homestyle flavor.
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The Bad: Since the place is so tiny, we had to take our food home. By the time we made it to the casa, the chicken wasn't quite as crispy as we would have liked. We threw it in the toaster over for a couple minutes and it was back to good-as-new.
And the winner is ...
It's a tie -- both places are really freakin' good. Lo-Lo's is an experience that every Phoenician should try at least once -- even if the service is hit-or-miss and it's great for large groups of people looking to sit down to a meal. The giant drumsticks and unforgettable waffles are one of the states true culinary gems. But if you're just looking to grab some really, really awesome fried chicken to take home, hit Louisiana Fried Chicken. It's worth the drive and just because it's a franchise, doesn't mean it isn't locally owned.