The best chicken and waffles in NYC
Do you find yourself harboring a 2am hankering for a steaming hot plate of homestyle fried chicken and waffles? This place has you covered. The 24-hour Harlem institution has been wowing locals and newcomers alike with its soul-hugging Southern fare since 1998. Its Waffle Menu lists several to-die-for sweet-and-savory combinations, including The Rev. Al Sharpton (two giant pieces of wonderfully moist and crunchy fried chicken atop an insanely fluffy buttermilk waffle) and the Tommy Tomita—named after the Japanese-American neighborhood legend, musician and tour guide Tommy Tomita—which subs in succulent chicken wings for the traditional fried chicken option.
While Carroll Gardens isn’t exactly known for top-notch Southern cuisine, Buttermilk Channel’s chicken and waffles stand out as an exquisitely executed modern take on a soul food favorite. Served only during dinner hours, the savory version of this cult classic features a heaping portion of juicy buttermilk-battered fried chicken resting on a hearty, crisp cheddar waffle and served aside a refreshingly fresh and crunchy savoy cabbage slaw. This dish alone makes a visit to Buttermilk Channel, which supposedly takes its name from the notoriously choppy waters surrounding Red Hook’s docks. But even the most harrowing journey would still be worth it.
They might be famous for their pancakes, but the real unsung hero of this beloved little Lower East Side breakfast joint is the chicken and waffles. During lunch and dinner, Clinton Street Baking Company serves up a giant portion of buttermilk-battered fried chicken, drenched in a sweet, punchy honey-tabasco sauce and set beside a perfectly crisp, vanilla-infused Belgian waffle covered in warm, homemade maple butter. Sure, there’s often a two-hour wait for a table, but you’ll forget all about it after your first bite.
Lovingly prepared American cuisine is the star of the show over at Melba’s, a welcoming uptown cafe owned and operated by chef Melba Wilson. Wilson has soul food in her blood—her aunt, the late Sylvia Woods, was the pioneering force behind Sylvia’s, the groundbreaking temple to all things Southern comfort—and her knack for smile-inducing homestyle flavor radiates through her fried chicken and eggnog waffles (they’re equal parts fun and festive). The perfectly crisped chicken and rich, nutty eggnog-spiked waffle work in harmony to create a melt-in-your-mouth deeply satisfying meal to rival any Southern Sunday supper.
In Brooklyn, Pies-n-Thighs has become synonymous with fried chicken and waffles. And justifiably so: The busy Williamsburg shop has truly perfected the art, nestling two pieces of well seasoned and expertly scalded fried chicken onto a bed of earthy buckwheat waffles smothered in fast-melting cinnamon butter and a gooey, pleasingly tart maple cranberry sauce. Available from 9am through midnight, this is down-home comfort food on a New York City schedule.
It seems like Red Rooster’s Marcus Samuelsson can do no wrong, and he’s got the chicken and waffles to prove it. At his flagship Harlem eatery, the award-winning chef and author offers two versions of the popular dish: an appetizer portion of Nashville-style hot chicken and waffles, covered in spiced maple syrup and seasoned with Samuelsson’s mouth-watering hot rub blend, shines on the all-day menu, while the more complete The Bird and the Egg—Red Rooster’s famous dry-rubbed “yard bird” perched atop a classic Belgian waffle and served with a sunny fried egg and a side of indulgently creamy red-eye gravy—dominates weekend brunch. Making the trek to 126th Street never sounded so good....
At Root & Bone, chef duo Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth are committed to fresh, seasonal and inventive farm-to-table takes on Southern mainstays. The cozy, year-and-a-half-old East Village spot turns the traditional platter on its head, opting instead for a sandwich piled high with sweet tea–marinated fried chicken, house-made pickled green tomatoes, peppery baby kale and melted sharp cheddar layered between chewy buckwheat waffles. Unorthodox, sure, but the surprising combination of tart, sweet, salty and spicy all come together to form an unforgettable culinary experience.
Bedford Avenue’s Sweet Chick is revolutionizing the chicken and waffles game one delicious meal at a time, daring to think outside the brunch, er, box by offering savory suppertime versions of the celebrated rise-and-shine dish. During breakfast hours, indulge in Sweet Chick’s traditional Belgian waffle, equal parts fluffy and crisp, resting atop two generous pieces of juicy, succulent fried chicken. For dinner, go savory and opt for bacon-cheddar, rosemary-mushroom, dried cherry, spiced pecan or walnut-parmesan waffles, served with that finger-licking fried chicken and as much Southern-style hot sauce as you can handle.