most authentic is a regular waffle with fried chicken. Some
people try to really gourmet it up with mushroom gravy, but
I think it loses authenticity.”
“It’s a sincerely good
plate of food that is rich,
savory and has crunch.”
Breaking with tradition, Todd Richards, chef de cuisine of The
Café at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, Atlanta, created his own
version of chicken and waffles. “After working in fine dining
for a number of years, I wanted to explore new ways to present
American comfort food,” he says. “I remember eating this dish
as a kid, and it has become a natural part of what I consider the
modern American comfort food movement.”
Chicken ‘n’ Waffle, featuring bourbon maple syrup, peaches
and arugula, is Richards’ version of the dish. It is served as
part of the restaurant’s three-course tasting menu and is also
available a la carte. “It’s a unique take on a traditional dish,” he
says. “I really like that it utilizes local ingredients like peaches
and Sparkman’s butter. Bourbon was also a big part of the
inspiration for the dish. The maple flavors you find in bourbon
really go well with waffles and the crispy-skin chicken.”
Gussie’s waffles are traditional buttermilk, about an inch
thick. The menu features eight chicken-and-waffle options,
including waffles with a chicken wing, drumstick, thigh,
breast or a combination of parts. “Some people order half
a chicken and two waffles,” says Wilson. “We don’t serve
it with a sauce, but some guests order gravy on the side to
make it smothered chicken and waffles.”
The chicken is brined for 12 hours in a citrus/tea mix. “The
citrus provides some acidity to an overall sweet dish. We leave
the skin on the chicken to provide some texture to the plate.
The peaches are seared in the same pan as the chicken, then
deglazed with bourbon, getting all of those crunchy bits from
the bottom. It’s finished with maple syrup and butter. We use a
malted waffle for the dish.”
The Uptown is the most popular item on the menu, a fried
chicken breast and a traditional waffle. The second most
popular is the Signature Sweet Potato Waffle, served with
two fried chicken wings. Also popular is the Fillmore
Classic, with three wings, a waffle and scrambled eggs.
The dish is popular with guests looking for a modern
Southern dish. “It’s sweet, salty, crunchy, peppery and
flavorful,” says Richards.
“Our menu includes other Southern specialties, but most
people, especially tourists, get the chicken and waffles.
They especially love the sweet potato waffles with chicken.
It’s hard to grasp the concept if you’ve never had it. But
they love the sweetness of the waffles and saltiness of the
chicken together. People order it all day long.”
Indian Harvest created a chicken-and-waffles recipe—coconut/
ginger waffles with adobo chicken—to showcase one of its
grains, red jasmine rice.
ABOVE: Gussie’s traditional buttermilk waffle comes with a choice of fried chicken pieces.
“I’ve been doing savory pancakes for years, but wanted to do
something new, so I went to waffles,” says Holleman. “We
originally were testing a red rice from the Philippines, and had
incorporated local staples like adobo chicken, coconut and