Chicken and Waffles

Unusual, tasty, and now available in Oak Park

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By David Hammond

Chicken and waffles sound like an odd combination, but the first record of this menu item is from the Supper Club in Harlem, which started serving these somewhat unlikely plate-fellows in 1938. According to legend, the club wanted to fill the bellies of lingering revelers who needed something to eat way after dinner time and hours before breakfast would normally be served.

Probably the most famous source for this double-feature dish is Roscoe's House of Chicken n' Waffles, which opened in Los Angeles in 1976.

In 2008. When Tonya and Darnell Johnson named their new place Rosscoes House of Chicken and Waffles (3947 S. King Drive), it didn't take long for the L.A. restaurant with the very similar name to bring legal action that prompted a name change.

But the name on the sign is not nearly as important as the food on the plate, and this first location of Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles has been doing strong business, with lines out the doors on Sundays after church and throughout the week. Tonya Johnson told me that many of her customers are from the west coast or the south, where people already know and love this dish.

Johnson, who used to be a hair stylist in Oak Park, says she "always thought a chicken and waffles restaurant would be a good fit for the village."

We visited the Bronzeville location last year, and have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the Oak Park branch. In the meantime, we created some homemade chicken and waffles (pictured) to tide us over: they turned out well. The richness (or, if you will, greasiness) of the fried chicken is absorbed by the waffle, and both are complemented by a sweet or even sweet-hot sauce.

If you haven't tried this combo platter yet, give it a try. Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles is now open at 543 W. Madison.

If you're looking for something other than fowl and a dimpled flapjack, try my personal favorite: the fried chicken livers.

Reader Comments

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Jalon from Berwyn  

Posted: August 1st, 2012 11:49 AM

Hated it !!! Hated it !!! Went to the oak Park location with my wife for a "date night".. Tried something new had a Groupon for the both of us $5 for $10... Never been to the place before and thought that this would be the best of both worlds. Giving us a new place to have a date at, also not over spending. Instructed the waiter that I had the groupon and was told "no problem" order my food... waiter came back & said that we are out of chicken wing parts... "WOW" and a chicken a waffles house..

Chris  

Posted: December 28th, 2010 8:07 PM

Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles was well worth the wait indeed. It's cozy, friendly and makes some of the best soul food I've had. Their chicken and waffles are perfect. Their fried catfish, which is very hard to find done well in Chicago, is fresh, sweet and perfectly fried in a cornmeal crust. I could go on and on - collard greens, candied yams, mac and cheese are all delightful. Give them a try. They deserve love and support from Oak Park.

Dorothy from River Forest  

Posted: December 19th, 2010 8:30 AM

We've taken the family several times to the Bronzeville location. The food is great and the service superb, a really gracious wait staff and management. We've been waiting with bated breath to visit a Chicken and Waffles close to home. So happty they've finally opened.We'll go today!!

JimP from Oak Park  

Posted: December 17th, 2010 7:34 PM

After years of waiting, the word last Wednesday was that Chicken and Waffles was finally open. I wasn't sure if they would be open for breakfast, but there was the open sign in the door at 7:00 am. Unfortunately, they were not able to actually cook any food -- something about cooking gas? I wasn't quite sure, but we had to venture down to Al's for regular father and son Wednesday breakfast. We'll try again in 2011....although I'm not sure if I am ready for fried chicken that early in the morning

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