I had my first opportunity to eat chicken and waffles for dinner 10 years ago on a business trip to Atlanta and immediately fell in love with the combination!
Many of my friends and family cringed at first. “Chicken with waffles?!?” they said with that look I get too often. Well yes, chicken and waffles. It’s a great combination of salty and sweet — crunchy and fluffy. The contrast does amazing things to your taste buds, and if you really think about it, is not that different from eating pancakes with bacon.
It has become a very trendy dish with a number of area restaurants serving some version of this classic that has roots in Harlem and the South. My two favorites in the area — offering very different interpretations — are The Cozzy Corner and Proof.
When Cozzy first opened its doors in downtown Appleton in 2012, I was one of the first in line. The Southern inspired menu that includes ribs, pulled pork and catfish was an immediate draw! It seemed that the tastes I loved from my visits to the South were somehow magically transported to our Midwestern downtown area. You truly feel what they call “CozzyLove” in both the food and the hospitality of the owners and staff.
As you eat the chicken and waffles at The Cozzy Corner you know you are getting the real deal. The crispy, yet juicy bone-in chicken is outstanding! When coupled with their waffles, maple syrup and (for some people) hot sauce, it is elevated to a whole new level. After tasting many flavors of their waffles including sweet potato, red velvet and others, I have narrowed in on the butter pecan. It has come very close to ruining all other waffles for me!
As you pull up to the unique building —constructed in 1876 for the State Bank of De Pere — you just know that what is inside has to be special as well. Proof is renowned for its amazing craft cocktails to their cuisine. The menu offers foodies a chance to explore items like bone marrow, pork belly and duck tacos while knocking more standard items out of the park with one of the best burgers in the area up to their beef tenderloin chateaubriand.
The chicken and waffle is as gorgeous as it is tasty! Three large Southern-style strips of boneless chicken breasts are carefully stacked on the waffle and adorned with a flower. Proof then adds new and exciting elements to the flavor profile with a fantastic maple-serrano pepper lime sauce over a persillade (herb garlic) waffle and a house made coleslaw. It has everything I was looking for — salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy, hot, cold…simply a fantastic dish!
If you’ve hesitated ordering this in the past, now is the time to say “Yes” to chicken and waffles. You can’t go wrong with either of these great options.
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