Here are the best chicken and waffle dishes in TuscaloosaBy Ellen Johnson | 04/16/2018 10:45am
Chicken and waffles is a classic, if unusual, Southern dish, but some theorists trace its origins back to distinctly Northern and foreign locales. The recipe is believed to have dawned with the creativity of early 20th century Harlem cooks, or even with Thomas Jefferson’s purchase of a French waffle iron in the late 1700s. Today, chicken and waffles is, while a staple at many diners and brunch spots, an often unexpected addition, as well as a welcome surprise, to refined menus. Many chefs try their luck at altering the recipe and implementing their own twists. Tuscaloosa chefs are of the group that has found success with this reconstruction of the marriage between bird and batter. We compiled our favorite local takes on chicken and waffles. Tuscaloosa brunch is better because these dishes exist.
With only five entree options on the menu at FIVE’s weekend brunch, the Chicken ‘N’ Waffles is an easy choice. FIVE’s interpretation is nutty and sweet. Fried chicken and honey walnut waffles are the key players; whipped butter and maple syrup are stellar backups. Paired with hot coffee or a fresh-squeezed mimosa, the FIVE chicken and waffles is flavorful and uber brunch-friendly.
Side by Side
Side by Side’s version of chicken and waffles is a classic one, but it’s not diminished by its adherence to normality. Embassy Suites’ auxiliary restaurant serves up a tasty take on chicken and waffles that is at once both warmly flavorful and deliciously crispy. The brunch experience there is pristine, too, but hotel guests usually permeate the restaurant, so reservations are probably a good idea if you’re thinking of Side by Side for brunch this weekend.
This dish demands a serious appetite. The chicken and waffles at Metro Diner is crowned with a scoop of pink strawberry butter, an irregular but refreshing garnish. It’s on the pricey side at just under $16, but not so much if you consider the plate comes with an entire half chicken.
Central Mesa serves up perhaps the most creative take on chicken and waffles in Tuscaloosa. The Mexican restaurant, whose owners also operate Avenue Pub, replaces waffles with churros, a tactic that pays off in streams of sugary syrup. Central Mesa is relatively new to Tuscaloosa’s culinary landscape, but it’s standing strong as both a mature dining establishment and a lively brunch destination.
Sweet Home Food Bar
This downtown eatery’s brunch is one of the best. They only serve brunch one day a week on Sundays, but after one serving of their chicken and waffles, you’ll be jonesing to go back every week. The waffles are especially fluffy and the chicken especially crispy. Sweet Home Food Bar's chicken-waffle combination is a Tuscaloosa classic.
This brunch is swingin'. 301 Bistro, Bar and Beer Garden is known for its lively Sunday jazz brunches where they, too, serve up a delicious take on chicken and waffles. 301 utilizes uncommon ingredients like a sweet potato waffle and chipotle honey to create a distinct entree. They also have a variety of flavorful brunch cocktails that pair well with chicken and waffles.