Lexington’s Chicken and Waffle Showdown: A Culinary Quest for the Best

When it comes to comfort food, few dishes capture the heart quite like chicken and waffles. This delightful pairing of sweet and savory has become a staple in many brunch menus across the country. In Lexington, the culinary scene offers a vibrant exploration of this beloved dish, with each establishment striving to perfect their own unique take. Join me as I embark on a delicious journey to uncover the best chicken and waffles in town.

The Quest for the Perfect Plate

Chicken and waffles is a dish shrouded in mystery, with its origins speculated to range from early Pilgrim meals to the spirited jazz clubs of Harlem. Regardless of its beginnings, this combo has become a favorite among locals and visitors alike. To find the best, I visited thirteen local eateries, each known for their distinctive spin on this classic. The experience was more than just a culinary indulgence—it was a journey through the diverse approaches to a simple yet profound combination.

The Tasting Journey Begins

Slim Chickens – Classic and Competent

First on my list was Slim Chickens, known for their straightforward approach to chicken and waffles. They served up three crispy tenders paired with a classic buttermilk waffle. While the dish was competent, it lacked the depth and excitement found in more daring renditions. It was a solid choice for those who prefer a no-frills approach to this classic dish.

Josanne’s Homestyle Kitchen – Homely Warmth

Next, I visited Josanne’s Homestyle Kitchen, where the dish promised homely warmth. Three plain chicken tenders lay atop a simple waffle, accompanied by a choice of sides. While hearty, the flavors didn’t quite sing, leaving a bit more to be desired in terms of spice and seasoning. It was a comforting dish, but not the standout I was looking for.

East End Tap & Table – Subtle and Solid

East End Tap & Table offered a buttermilk waffle and two large, mildly seasoned chicken flats. This dish was perfect for those who prefer subtlety in their flavors. The mild seasoning allowed the natural flavors of the chicken and waffle to shine through. It was a solid entry in the mild category, though it didn’t quite reach the heights of the more adventurous options.

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Innovation on the Plate

Wild Eggs – Tradition with a Twist

Wild Eggs took a more innovative approach with their “seasoned chicken-infused waffle,” topped with Nashville Hot chicken. This spicier, more flavorful meal was a delightful departure from the norm. The added bacon and house-made buttermilk maple syrup enriched the overall taste, blending tradition with a twist that was both exciting and satisfying.

Eppings on Eastside – Gourmet Ambitions

At Eppings on Eastside, the promise of a gourmet experience was enticing. Their offering of Gerber farms fried chicken accompanied by house-made waffles and red chili honey sounded amazing. However, the execution left something to be desired. The ambitious ingredients needed better balance to truly shine. It was a dish with potential, but not quite there yet.

J. Render’s Southern Table & Bar – Robust and Traditional

J. Render’s Southern Table & Bar provided a more robust option with their traditional but crispy chicken cutlet and a Belgian waffle. This dish was a solid representation of the classic chicken and waffles, executed with precision and care. It was hearty and satisfying, making it a great choice for those who love a traditional take on this dish.

The Crown Jewel

Granddam at the Manchester Hotel – A Spicy Delight

The highlight of my tasting tour was found at Granddam at the Manchester Hotel. Their Jalapeño Chicken & Waffle not only delighted but truly distinguished itself. The spicy jalapeño-infused waffle, coupled with crispy, buttermilk-brined chicken tenders, created a harmonious blend of flavors that was both bold and comforting. It was a dish that stood out in every way, making it the crown jewel of my journey.

Conclusion: A Culinary Tour Worth Taking

This exploration through Lexington’s chicken and waffles offerings revealed a spectrum of flavors, from the traditional and simple to the bold and complex. Each restaurant provided a unique perspective on a dish that continues to captivate the taste buds of diners. Whether you’re a traditionalist or an adventurer in your food choices, Lexington’s diverse culinary landscape ensures that there is a chicken and waffles dish to meet every expectation. So, take a culinary tour and find your favorite—the city’s best chicken and waffles are waiting to be discovered.

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