I love chicken & waffles with hot sauce and real maple syrup. I first had it in Georgia on my drive down to Florida about 10 years ago.
For some reason, I was convinced they were invented in the South. Other sources claim they were invented in Harlem, New York in the 1930’s.
According to Harlembespoke.com: Where did that new American classic Chicken and Waffles come from? Harlem legend would have it that Joe Well’s, proprietor of Well’s Supper Club came up with the idea in the wee hours sometimes in the 1930’s. Apparently, after all the jazz clubs had shut down, it was too late for dinner and too early for breakfast. So when performers such as Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday would arrive for a post performance meal, Mr. Wells came up with the now famous dish of fried chicken with a side of waffles.
The Chicken & Waffles Wikipedia page claims, that the combined recipe of chicken and waffles goes back to the 1600’s in the land of the Pennsylvania Dutch. The traditional Pennsylvania Dutch version consisted of a plain waffle topped with stewed chicken covered in gravy. Not quite the chicken and waffles I had in mind.
In my opinion, one thing is certain, chicken & waffles are a delicious combination when prepared correctly.
I’m talking boneless fried chicken thighs and homemade waffles hot out of the waffle iron, accompanied by hot sauce and either honey or real maple syrup.
Many places have their own version of this comforting dish. I once had them with a side of white Southern sausage gravy for the chicken, and a bottle of maple syrup for the waffles, and I liked it a lot.
In recent years, chicken & waffles have become a very trendy, dish especially in the Northeastern part of the United States.
People who live to follow trends act as if their favorite New York or New Jersey restaurant invented chicken & waffles. Let’s just call it a reinvention of old school comfort food.
I decided to do a deep dive to find places in New Jersey that make a mean plate of chicken and waffles.
I’m going to start in South Jersey and work my way North.