Chicken and waffles— the juxtaposition of savory and sweet flavors help this dish remain popular. A few weeks ago, I set out on a mission to find the best chicken and waffles in town.
I judged the dishes based on the taste of the chicken tender, the flavor of waffle, the balance of both ingredients, the presentation and price.
Here are my top three chicken and waffles locations in Fayetteville.
In last place, Southern Food Company, located on Wedington Drive across from Slim’s Chicken. I love the atmosphere of the restaurant, and I think it would be the perfect Sunday brunch spot. The chicken and waffles plate costs $13.14 and comes with a fruit cup or potatoes as side options.
While I like both the chicken and the waffles, I can’t say the flavors went together very well. The chicken is salty and the waffle is crisp but very sweet. Both of these items are great on their own, and they aren’t so bad together, but the plate as a whole was not one of the stronger dishes in town, but it is one of the more expensive out of the three restaurants.
No. 2 is KDK’s Chicken, which I would call a “hole-in-the-wall,” but there really aren’t any walls. KDK’s chicken is a food truck in the Car Mart parking lot on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. But don’t be misled by the location, the chicken is prodigious.
The chicken is savory and even has a little bit of a spicy flavor to it. This is because they marinate their chicken for 12 to 15 hours before frying it, according to Keith Kidd, owner of KDK’s chicken. Customers have a choice of either a homemade Belgian, blueberry or chocolate chip waffle to go along with their chicken. I ordered the Belgian waffle and was very impressed with how they were able to perfectly create a harmonious blend of savory and sweet flavors.
This meal comes with a side of either mac and cheese, french fries or okra with prices ranging from $7.49 for three tenders to $8.49 for five tenders. However, these prices will be increasing soon, Kidd said. Not only are their chicken and waffles spectacular, but their ideas for this dish are unlike anything I’ve ever heard. One being chicken and mac and cheese in a waffle cone. I didn’t get the chance to try it while I was there, but I’ll be back just for that.
And first place is Hopping John’s— a unique little spot located on North Lee Avenue. This place has the absolute best chicken and waffles in Fayetteville. It’s also the most expensive chicken and waffles at a price of $15.50. But it’s worth the extra cost because it comes with a side of—get this— fettuccine alfredo.
At first a side of fettuccine alfredo probably sounds strange, but in some way, it’s the perfect side to chicken and waffles. It turns a sweet chicken and waffle treat into a filling, real meal. And it doesn’t lean either too salty or too sweet, so it creates a great balance.
The waffles are homemade, crispy and covered in powdered sugar. They have a taste that’s similar to funnel cake, and they come with praline pecan honey butter, which is a total hit. It was so good. The chicken was tasty, but not spicy or too salty, creating a perfect blend of flavors with the waffles. Another thing I loved was the cool location and friendly staff. I will definitely be back for brunch.
While I was doing this ranking, Alchemy Macarons was sampling a special chicken and waffles flavored macaron, which is something I never would have thought of but it actually worked. It tasted sweet and salty, and I could taste the maple syrup. I was really impressed.
Chicken and waffles is a unique and iconic dish, especially in the South. What I loved about each of these restaurants was that they all did something different which made them stand apart from the standard chicken and waffles. Their creativity with this dish is what makes each location’s rendition special and desirable.