A Chick and Her Waffles
Sometimes, we eat things not because we think they will be good but because they are strange, intriguing and different. Sometimes, we visit restaurants not because we’ve heard good things, but because we’ve heard lots about them. Such was the case with Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles. Restaurants with famous names hanging over their doors are always cause for concern. Do people go for the food or the name? I was determined to find out.
Let’s first consider the functionality of fried chicken and waffles. With syrup. Everywhere. What’s the point of putting bread on top of bread? I thought Taco Bell had copyrighted that redundancy alongside the right to stuff tacos in a gordita wrapped in a chalupa. At least there you can taste everything in one bite. In the case of fried chicken and waffles, is eating the two together akin to seeing a movie and watching the first half in one theater and the second half in another? Does hands for the chicken and silverware for the waffle mean I can’t taste the two in one bite, lest I eat fried chicken with a fork (like that’s going to happen)?
In my quest for answers, maybe RJ and I shouldn’t have picked a day that coincided with Whitney Houston’s death: the wait to get in was one hour and half. Did I mention it was 5:30 p.m.? Why was the wait so long at such an hour? But like good gourmands, we waited outside as the grey sky drizzled rain for the entire wait.
Once inside, it became a game trying to flag down a waiter. At first opportunity we ordered drinks (they don’t serve liquor?), fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles and sides of mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and squash casserole.
Conclusion? Well, I think Gladys and I share something in common. How she felt when she belted “Midnight Train to Georgia” was how I felt when I slugged my way through flavorless fried chicken, squash assaulted by pepper, and mac and cheese buried in crème cheese; the mashed potatoes skirted dangerously close to store-bought inspiration. The waffle is a different story. Fluffy and light — it’s a darn good waffle, but hey, not one-hour-and-a-half-waiting-in-the-rain good.
I don’t mean to be THAT guy who says, “Oh, you haven’t tried my family’s fried chicken. That’s the stuff.” But you know what, it really is the stuff. The batter here, while crunchy, lacked seasoning. Syrup became an unexpected route to flavor of any sort. At best, the duo is a weak play off sweet and salty.
Dejected and unsatisfied, my friend and I did what everyone should do after a sour meal: hit up Empire State South for two glasses of Mark Feluga and a cheese plate. Now that cheese, there’s something magical. As for Gladys, she sure can sing, but perhaps frying chicken isn’t her thing.
Gladys Knight & Ron Winans’ Chicken & Waffles
Old Fourth Ward
529 Peachtree St NE
Atlanta, GA 30308