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Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles brings Southern comfort to Cleveland (photos) |

Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles brings Southern comfort to Cleveland (photos)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – “Chicken and waffles” has a long history in American cuisine.

But until last year, the Southern classic was hard to find in Cleveland. Chicken and waffles arrived downtown, by way of Chicago, in December of 2016 with the opening of Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles.


“Southern cooking has similarities with many other cuisines, including European,” owner Tonya Johnson told The Plain Dealer at the time. “You know, chicken and waffles goes back to the 1700 and 1800s in the South, and it took off after jazz musicians embraced it in Harlem in the 1920s.”

It was the third restaurant for Johnson and her husband, who own two Home of Chicken and Waffles restaurants in their hometown of Chicago. They were smitten with Cleveland on visits to see her husband’s family.

“I’ve been watching it develop and grow,” Johnson told the paper. “You know, our Chicago restaurants aren’t located downtown — but we’ve been seeing all these things happening downtown and decided this would be the place.”

Since opening a little more than a year ago on Prospect Avenue downtown, Chicken and Waffles has been a part of the city’s urban growth. From breakfast through dinner, and then as a late-night hangout, it’s become a hot city destination.

We visited the sleek and chic restaurant — lots of cool leather and chrome and midcentury-modern lighting — on a recent weekend at lunchtime, but ate breakfast foods, which are served all day here. Chicken and Waffles has a wide-ranging menu of Southern comfort foods, from omelets to skillets to sandwiches and “Soul Food Specials” and “Down Home Faves.”

We had to have the signature item, of course, so two of our group ordered chicken and waffles. I opted for Monique’s Love, a fried-chicken breast served with a waffle and syrup ($10.50). The huge breast was succulent and tender under its crispy coating, a perfect complement to the fluffy waffles. My companion opted for The Saint Carol, dark meat (a quarter-chicken) served over more fluffy waffles ($14.50). Both were a great choice on a frigid winter day. His sides of flavorful rice and beans and rich and deliciously creamy macaroni and cheese completed the indulgent meal.

My other companion went with a breakfast option, too — one of Chicken and Waffles’ fantastic omelets. He chose Evelyn’s Eggstasy ($11.50), a five-egg veggie omelet filled with cheese, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. It was both creamy and fluffy — rarely have I tasted such perfectly done eggs. Ditto for the velvety scrambled eggs that came with my 10-year-old’s Bern’s Biscuits and Gravy ($8.95). Her biscuits were also a delight, hot out of the oven and topped with rich gravy.

A shared Mario’s Catfish Sandwich ($9.95) was also excellent, with the crispy fish topped with cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato and served with zesty, crisp waffle fries.

My 10-year-old loved this, too, as did her grandfather. We were one of multiple tables of families in this restaurant, which successfully balances being for all ages during the day and a chic date spot late night. To that end, the adults at our table sampled some of their craft cocktails, including a kicky Chicago favorite, the Mamie Taylor, made with Dewar’s, lime juice and ginger beer ($10), and their version of a Long Island Ice Tea, the Verdict ($10).

Both drinks were handmade by our wonderful server, Jessica. Chicken and Waffles was unexpectedly slammed the day we visited, and Jessica was called in on her day off — to our benefit. She was a great server, friendly, knowledgeable and very efficient (even making the drinks when the bartender was too busy). She made us feel like family in this all-ages favorite that’s brought a new cuisine and energy to downtown. Our verdict: We’ll be back.

Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles.

Address: 1144 Prospect Ave.

Online: https://chicagoschickenandwafflescle.com/

Phone: 216-600-8600

Hours: Restaurant hours, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday – Thursday; 9 – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday. Bar open till midnight Monday – Wednesday and Sunday; 1 a.m. Thursday; 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Prices: Chicken and waffles and catfish and waffles, $10.50 – $20.50; omelets, $9 – $13.95; entrees, $12.25 – $20. Kids plate, $7.

Reservations: Recommended on weekends.

Credit cards: All major.

Cuisine: Southern

Bar service: Full bar with creative cocktails, beer, wine.

Cleanliness: Very clean.

Kids: Small children’ menu, plus children will like much of the main menu.

Quality of service: Very warm and welcoming.

Accessibility: Fully accessible.

Rating: * * *

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