Chicken and waffles is a soul food favorite. Some accounts trace its origin to Harlem in the 1930s, when late-night performers like jazz singers would often miss dinner time but weren’t quite ready to eat breakfast when they left the club. The chicken and waffle duo provided the perfect compromise of sweet and savory. Of course, you don’t need to work the late-night shift to enjoy chicken and waffles in Philadelphia today. It’s now a brunch staple on quite a few menus. These spots are serving the best the city has to offer.
120 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
At the age of 24, Jason Cichonski served as the executive chef at the Rittenhouse Hotel’s Lacroix. From there, he was a contestant on the popular Bravo show Top Chef. Today he can be found at one of his two Philadelphia restaurants, Ela or The Gaslight. Located in Old City, The Gaslight offers high quality, comfort food in a casual environment. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes “Sticky-Icky Cinna Waffles.” These sticky bun-style waffles are covered in cream cheese icing, cinnamon and sugar. Opt to add fried chicken to make this brunch favorite even better. The sweet and savory meal costs $19.
700 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Stephen Starr’s Jones is like stepping into the Brady Bunch living room. The down-home style comfort food is like your mom would make, but probably just a bit better. Choose from popular dishes like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, baked mac and cheese, and Thanksgiving dinner with all the traditional trimmings. Starr names the chicken and waffles as his personal favorite. The dish is served with either a half or whole Belgian waffle, and includes a crispy fried chicken breast and thigh. The $15 dish is topped with your choice of chicken gravy or sweet maple syrup.
1516 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
You don’t have to go to the South to get really good chicken and waffles. Let Chef Justin Swain of South Street’s Rex 1516 bring the Southern-style dish to you. Rex 1516’s version of the dish combines it with eggs Benedict. The $13 meal includes a fluffy Belgian waffle, crispy fried chicken, poached eggs and Creole hollandaise with the choice of breakfast potatoes or a side salad. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Silk City Diner Bar, Lounge and Beer Garden
435 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Part restaurant, part beer garden and part weekend hot spot, Silk City is a truly unique Philadelphia spot. Open daily for dinner and on weekends for brunch, Silk City offers classic American favorites with creative twists. Pancakes come with maple butter and candied bacon. French toast is served with caramelized pears and apples and fluffy whipped ricotta. The $13 chicken and waffles featured honey chipotle waffles and fried chicken along with sausage gravy and corn puree. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
509-511 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
The Twisted Tail has a new chef in 2015. Chef Andy Tessier (formerly from Pub and Kitchen, Farm & Fisherman and New York’s DBGB) is picking up right where Chef Leo Forneas left off by keeping things simple and accessible. This is all while introducing bold flavors and staying on the forefront of modern Southern American cuisine. His quail and waffle dish puts a fresh spin on the standard chicken and waffles, featuring a traditional waffle served with a buttermilk-fried quail that is cut in half. Topped with sweet caramelized apples and a savory maple syrup that’s made with rosemary, onion and espelette peppers, this $15 item packs a delightful combination of flavors. The quail and waffle is available during brunch on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1400 S. Columbus Blvd. at Reed St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Enjoy the Southern culture of food, rhythm and blues right in Philadelphia’s Warmdaddy’s. Nightly shows feature live entertainment from comedians, musicians and other performers. Dinner entrees come with two sides such as cheddar cheese grits, butter corn and candied yams. The “Down Home Chicken and Waffles” is $16.99 and includes a fluffy Belgian waffle with a crispy fried chicken breast, syrup and gravy.
Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer husband would love to open.
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