Chicago Waffles


Mystifying origins of southern specialty

We all love waffles. We all love fried chicken. And have you ever tried Chicken Waffle, and if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?

Someone smart came up with this ultimate sweet-and-savory breakfast favorite by putting together all the best parts of a fried chicken meal and a waffle stack. Their creation is still satisfying tummies everywhere. The fried chicken, which is American in origin, is the crispiest and tastiest item you’ll ever put on top of waffles.

There are many different origin theories for chicken and waffles. Many of them claim that the idea of serving deep-pocketed batter and crispy thighs originated at the Wells Supper Club in Harlem in the 1930s or that Pennsylvania Dutch home cooks did it in the 1600s.

Peter Seibert Davis (1828–92) referred to chicken and waffles as the “stereotypical” Sunday lunch among the Pennsylvania Dutch in his 1861 local-color book The Young Parson. It is a confusing narrative how chicken and waffles became a staple of American cuisine. In particular, its emergence as a regional identity meal in the 1920s and 1930s, when Prohibition and the growth of automobile tourism coincided with the dish’s peak in popularity.

The food of European settlers, mostly German and Dutch, and the food of African-Americans came together to make chicken and waffles a popular dish in the United States. MyRecipes says that the dish probably got its start when African slaves made golden crispy rice waffles and put brined and fried chicken on top of them.

Southern origins? The Saint Paul Globe (MN), May 3, 1886, in an article about the differences of Northern and Southern cooking, printed, “Miss Parloa, the famous exponent of common sense cookery, has been making a tour of the South. As a result of her investigations she declares that the women of the South are better cooks than their Northern sisters. If the lady has allowed her judgment to become prejudiced under the seductive influence of the fried chicken and waffles which form the most complete expression of Southern culinary skill, she is perhaps excusable for her evidently biased statement.”

Whatever history lies behind the origin of this delicious dish it is available in restaurants around the country, and they are well-known for their versions.

Chicago Waffles included their version of this dish on the menu. When you pair well-seasoned fried chicken with a fluffy and crispy bacon and waffle, you’re almost certain to be happy. And happiness is called Bacon & Chicken Waffle.