The combination of chicken and waffles first appeared in Pennsylvania in the 1600s. The first chefs tossing the two together combined a waffle, pulled chicken, and gravy. Yes, originally the chicken was not fried

The dish flew under the radar until 1938 when the Wells Supper Club started serving it in Harlem, NY to musicians arriving between breakfast and dinner time. 

Chicken and waffles is now one of the most popular brunch dishes across America today because Harlem native Herb Hudson moved to LA and opened Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles.

Since its popularization, chicken and waffles has become a staple of the American south. Restaurants all over are serving up their own renditions of the dish, but here are some of the best in the south. 

Dame's Chicken and Waffles (Durham, NC)

Dame's starts off this list with a high bar. They offer up 10 different variations of chicken and waffles.

There are different waffle flavors, chicken seasonings and toppings for every palate, ranging from sweet potato waffles to panko crusted chicken to slivered almonds to strawberry butter to whiskey creme sauce. Now that's a lot of options!

Lucy’s Fried Chicken (Austin, TX)

Lucy's Fried Chicken has several locations across Austin under the operation of chef James Holmes. The two locations that serve brunch both offer chicken and waffles, with the innovative take of frying both the chicken and the waffle.

Visit the South Congress location if you want jalapeño honey butter and coffee syrup to top it off. Try the Burnet Road location for cinnamon honey butter and maple syrup. Or, try both!

Jonathon’s Oak Cliff (Dallas, TX)

As the name may suggest, this popular breakfast and brunch spot is run by Chef Jon. Jonathon's Oak Cliff's signature and award-winning “chicken fried chicken" and waffle dish comes topped with a house-made peppered gravy.

Basically, it also combines biscuits and gravy and chicken and waffles. What can go wrong with that?

Kitchen 208 (Charleston, SC)

At Kitchen 208, chicken and waffles is no longer a brunch menu item. It’s graduated to full-time menu status as a sandwich.

They elevate every component of the dish from adding bacon to the waffle batter to topping the fried chicken with swiss cheese, mustard aioli, lettuce, and tomato. You might have seen it before, as this sandwich was even featured on Food Network’s Ginormous Food!

The Breakfast Klub (Houston, TX)

You know the chicken and waffles must be good here because when The Breakfast Klub first opened in 2001, the only dishes they served were catfish and grits and (you guessed it) chicken and waffles.

Since then, they’ve expanded their menu, but kept the chicken and waffle formula simple. One giant belgian waffle topped with four fried chicken legs or wings with the bone in for extra flavor. 

YardBird (Miami, FL)

While chicken and waffles is typically a dish of heavy on heavy, Yardbird puts a light beachy twist on it.

Their waffle batter has Vermont white cheddar, which counteracts the sweetness of the bourbon maple syrup and hot honey sauces that are served alongside spiced watermelon to round out the dish in Miami style. 

Buttermilk Kitchen (Atlanta, GA)

Buttermilk Kitchen prides itself in nurturing people with food made in-house from scratch with local and sustainable ingredients.

Chef Suzanne Vizethann puts so much effort into her chicken and waffles that they’re only offered as a special occasionally. You’ve got to be in the know to catch this chicken and waffles dish — lines are often out the door.

Milkwood (Louisville, KY)

While chicken and waffles is typically served as a heavy entree at any meal throughout the day, Milkwood decided to put a lighter twist on the dish as an appetizer.

Their waffle component is a yeasted waffle crouton. It’s served alongside marinated and fried dark meat chicken on a smear of buttermilk dressing with fresh herbs. 

Chef Eddie’s Restaurant (Orlando, FL)

Chef Eddie’s attracts thousands of visitors with the variety they offer. Their waffles come in 10 flavor options from blueberry to sweet potato to red velvet to banana walnut. They also give customers the option of having fish or shrimp instead of chicken to top it off. 

Early Bird Diner (Charleston, SC)

This Charleston establishment starts serving up delicious chicken and waffles early and doesn’t stop until late at night.

That gives you plenty of time to stop by and try Early Bird's unique take on the classic dish by adding cinnamon to the waffle batter and crusting the chicken in pecans, then topping it all off with honey mustard sauce. 

Nana G’s Food Truck (Atlanta, GA)

This food truck is stepping up the chicken and waffle game with another one of America’s favorites — bacon. Nana G's Food Truck crumbles up bacon into the Belgian waffle batter to create a to-go chicken and waffle dish with big flavor that rivals any fancy pants sit-down establishment. 

Bacon Bros. Public House (Greenville, SC)

Bacon Bros. Public House chef Anthony Gray puts a gourmet twist on chicken and waffles by switching up a few ingredients to give it a more complex flavor. He adds sorghum and then layers the waffles and fried chicken, or rabbit, with thinly sliced country ham and fresh sage.

You’ll have to hit this restaurant just at the right time to get a taste, because their chicken and waffles is only served as a special about once a week. 

MESS Waffles, Etc. (College Station, TX)

MESS Waffles, Etc. (a tiny food truck), boasts big flavors in their dish “The Original.” It’s comprised of double battered fried chicken, freshly made waffles, and your choice of three sauce toppings.

Maple aioli is the most common, but they also have maple syrup for those with a sweet tooth or honey mustard for some extra tang. 

Metro Diner (Jacksonville, FL)

Guy Fieri has featured this northeastern florida diner chain on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives," so you know it’s going to be good.

Metro Diner's gigantic portion of chicken and waffles is served with unique toppings of strawberry compound butter and sweet-and-spicy syrup.

Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe (Memphis, TN)

Located in the middle of Beale Street, a strip known for its endless variety of bars, Miss Polly's Soul City Cafe serves up a chicken and waffles plate that will satisfy even those plagued by the most severe cases of the munchies.

For breakfast, your chicken and waffles will come with two eggs and potatoes or grits. If you visit for lunch or dinner, you have four options offering different cuts of chicken, sides, and waffles. 

Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles (Atlanta, GA)

Gladys Knight's chicken and waffles dish named “Midnight Train” features four fried chicken wings and an original waffle. By frying the chicken bone-in, they ensure it will be juicy, and delicious, AF.

I guess that’s why so many Atlantans claim Gladys’ is the no. 1 chicken and waffles in Atlanta. 

24 Diner (Austin, TX)

24 Diner makes the path of chicken and waffles from plate to mouth so much easier by serving boneless fried chicken.

Their yeasted waffles are super high quality, made with butter, madagascar vanilla, and raw sugar. It’s all topped off with brown sugar butter and grade A light amber Michigan maple syrup, for your sweet tooth.

Poogan’s Porch (Charleston, SC)

Poogan’s Porch makes brunch chicken and waffles for the sophisticated palette. The sweet potato waffle and all natural fried chicken breast are topped off by a combination of sorghum butter and maple syrup for the perfect balance of sweet and savory.

In case the waffle carbs aren’t enough for you, Poogan’s starts each table off with a basket of fresh biscuits. 

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken (Nashville, TN)

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken puts a Nashville twist on chicken and waffles by coating the chicken in their famous hot chicken sauce.

They often come out on top in the highly contested debate of who makes the best hot chicken in Tennessee and it only gets better when you add the sweet note of waffles. 

Gritz N Greenz (Tallahassee, FL)

While the chicken and waffle flavors are very traditional at Gritz and Greenz, that means that they can focus on making them perfect.

The chicken is so perfectly seasoned and moist that it doesn’t need sauce, but Gritz and Greenz serves house-made Southern Sauce to take it to the next level. 

Dilly Diner (Tulsa, OK)

chicken, waffle, gravy, syrup, pork
Sami Canavan

Dilly Diner proudly calls itself Tulsa’s favorite diner. Maybe if Chandler had tried their chicken and waffles, he would’ve actually looked forward to working in Tulsa.

Chef Agustin Castro puts his own twist on the dish by topping the traditional fried chicken breast and Belgian waffle with Sriracha honey and sesame seeds. 

Bruxie (Las Vegas, NV)

Bruxie lays claim to the original chicken and waffle sandwich. Not only is their sandwich version more portable, but it also comes in a variety of traditional and unusual flavor options.

There are five fried chicken and waffle sandwiches on the menu, not to mention a variety of other waffle sandwich options, so there’s something for everyone here. 

Bird & Bone (Miami, FL)

Bird & Bone celebrates southern comfort food in a city surrounded by palm trees and warm beaches.

Award-winning chef Richard Hales created a one-of-a-kind chicken and waffle dish by topping it with hot chicken, house-made pickles, and a honey mustard sauce.

It’ll satisfy all of your chick-fil-a cravings and more on a Sunday. 

Founding Farmers (Washington DC)

I’m really pushing the definition of the south with this one, but I can’t help but include such a unique restaurant.

Founding Farmers is owned by over 47,000 farmers and supplied by hundreds of farms. That means their breakfast and dinner versions of chicken and waffles are made from the freshest ingredients, making them as flavorful as possible.

For breakfast, the normal chicken and waffles are accompanied by scrambled eggs and white gravy. At lunch or dinner, you’ll get mac and cheese and green beans with your dish. 

Billy Jack’s Wing and Draft Shack (Harrisonburg, VA)

Billy Jack’s keeps it simple with their motto: “Beer Bacon Beef Bird.” But what else could you ask for?

The chicken and waffle dinner dish is made with a malt waffle accompanied by country fried chicken, maple syrup, and hot sauce. If you’re lucky enough to stop by for brunch, you can order a chicken and waffle benedict comprised of bacon waffles, fried chicken, a yolky farm egg, and house-made hollandaise.

So many varieties of chicken and waffles, so many locations with their own twists on the dish, so little time — which will you try first?