Chicken & waffles: they're a little bit of everything on a plate -- meaty, crunchy, savory, and sweet. If we learned anything by eating them all over Chicago, though, it's that they're never the same from one place to the next (sometimes the waffles aren't even waffles!). Here's a look at the best we had, power-ranked from 10 to 1:

Mike Gebert

10. Wâfel

West Loop
We’re still not convinced that eating a sandwich made on a waffle instead of bread is something grownups have any business doing. But this fried chicken and waffle "sandwich" was way better than we expected -- a really well balanced combination of spicy boneless chicken, cooling apple slaw, waffle, and maple syrup.

Mike Gebert

9. Breakfast House

Near West Side
Some places we tried seemed to be a little skimpy on the chicken. Not this West Side breakfast hideaway, which gives you a Belgian-style waffle and THREE big pieces of buttermilk-brined, extra-crispy chicken (which scatters flaky fried bits like snow with every bite). The chicken was a little underseasoned, but the honey mustard dipping sauce took care of that.

Mike Gebert

8. Three Chefs

Auburn Gresham
You're right, those aren’t waffles -- the day we trekked to the far South Side to try this place, the waffle machine was out for repairs and we had to have our waffle in pancake form. No matter; the chicken wings were good, if a bit greasy, but the sweet potato-pecan pancakes were great, and the waitress ensured a return trip by saying magic words we’d never heard before -- "peach cobbler waffles".

Longman & Eagle

7. Longman & Eagle

Logan Square
Of course this epitome of Logan Square hipsterdom has chicken & waffles. It incliudes a couple of excellent pieces of buttermilk-brined Slagel Farms chicken, served on a waffle that might seem a little skimpy -- if it didn’t also come with a serving of sweet potato pork belly hash. Of course.

Mike Gebert

6. Grandma J’s Local Kitchen

Humboldt Park
Yeah, you’re right, those aren’t waffles either -- they’re big, doughy fritters made of waffle batter, which fit right into the personality of this cute, chill neighborhood spot. The chicken was tasty even if just a smidge on the dry side (though the Harold’s-like sweet-hot sauce helps), but the whole place is just so darned lovable.

Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles

5. Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles

Bronzeville, Evanston, Oak Park
Reportedly one of Rahm Emanuel’s favorite restaurants, the Bronzeville location of this local chain is a see-and-be-seen Sunday morning spot for the South Side. The chicken is good, the waffles are thin and soft, Waffle House-style, and the secret is to actually order your chicken separately, smothered under the terrific onion gravy.

Mike Gebert

4. Batter & Berries

Lincoln Park
A unique restaurant for Lincoln Park, Batter & Berries does the wackiest version we’ve seen -- the sweet potato waffles are stuffed with bits of chicken (a little dry, frankly) and are accompanied by a scarfable boneless chicken breast in a sweet-hot sauce. It’s just crazy enough to work!

Sable Kitchen & Bar

3. Sable

Near North Side
You know chicken & waffles have made the big time when they turn up at a posh Downtown spot like this hotel cocktail bar and restaurant. The buttermilk-brined chicken and perfect little round waffles are terrific, while the secret weapon is the dark, rich Burton’s maple syrup from Indiana.

Mike Gebert

2. 5 Loaves Eatery

Greater Grand Crossing
Not that there’s anything wrong with the waffle at this friendly, homey South Side breakfast spot --but it's just kind of a throw-in with the well seasoned, gorgeously crispy chicken, which wowed us to the point that it could be a new contender for best fried chicken in town, too. Extra bonus: the only place we found where your chicken &waffles can come with a side of grits.

Mike Gebert

1. Fork

Lincoln Square
Lincoln Square’s underrated farm-to-table restaurant is a dark horse winner for one big reason: doing every single component of chicken & waffles better. The chicken, brined in black tea, ginger, and thyme (!), is fantastic, like having fried chicken and chicken soup at the same time; the waffle, made with malt flour, is light as a cloud; the syrup is Burton’s; and did we mention that it comes with a side of maple pecan-crusted bacon? Yes, BACON. Genius.

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Mike Gebert is a James Beard Award-winning food video producer and writer, and founder of Follow him on Twitter @skyfullofbacon.

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1. Wafel 217 N Clinton St, Chicago, IL 60661 (West Loop)

Wafel's got, uh, waffles, and they're serving 'em up stuffed with things like honey-glazed chicken, BBQ salmon gravlax, and many more creative fillings in West Loop.

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2. Breakfast House 1800 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

This West Side breakfast hideaway is one of the best spots in the city for breakfast (duh), as well as chicken and waffles, which comes with big pieces of buttermilk-brined, extra-crispy chicken (which scatters flaky fried bits like snow with every bite) with a Belgian-style waffle.

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3. Three Chefs Restaurant 8125 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60620

This Auburn Gresham joint serves some of the best food in the city, including some awesome chicken & waffles.

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4. Longman & Eagle 2657 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Longman & Eagle, the Michelin-starred gastropub in Logan Square, has an exclusive whiskey selection (clocking in at over 400 labels), a craft cocktail menu, and an extensive beer list all fit for the most pretentious of drinkers, in the least pretentious of atmospheres. Longman takes a flavor-forward, honest approach to eating and drinking, and because it doesn’t accept reservations, there is always a wait for brunch, happy hour, and dinner alike. (And it is always worth it.) While whiskey may be king, the regional American fare has just as much to offer, hence the Michelin star. The menu changes often, but expect anything from beef tallow beignets and veal brains to wild boar sloppy joes, chicken and waffles, and a burger that, if you know what's good for you, you will order.

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5. Grandma Js Local Kitchen 1552 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60651 (Humboldt Park)

This funky brunch spot has an appropriately vintage feel, eclectic antiques, a ceiling tiled with old tablecloths, and some damn good food: shrimp and grits, monte cristo, and chicken and waffle fritters. Oh, did we mention you can BYOB? Lunch is also served.

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6. Chicago's Home Of Chicken & Waffles 3947 S King Dr, Chicago, IL 60653 (South Chicago)

The South Side locale of this Chicago hotspot is doling out just-as-delicious Southern breakfast foods at all hours -- head here on a drive home and get the mac and cheese.

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7. Batter & Berries 2748 N Lincoln, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

While they aren't serving deep-fried Cap'n Crunch spinoffs, Batter & Berries is still willing to fatten up your morning meals within its perky, 68-seat nook, where framed floral art hangs on lemon walls, and the mosaic-laden tables were crafted by the owners themselves, though choosing which one to sit at will only be the start of your waffling.

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8. Sable 505 N State, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Sable's a 153-seat dark-hued, brightly lit, open-kitchened dining room and lounge whose haute cuisine-meets-comfort menu is designed to marry with a cocktail program crafted by a Violet Hour alum, who can in turn help you graduate beyond your usual schnapps and soda.

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9. 5 Loaves Eatery 405 E 75th St, Chicago, IL 60619

Start with great fried chicken and, you know, what waffle? Not that there’s anything wrong with the waffle at this friendly, homey South Side breakfast spot. It's just that we were so wowed by the well-seasoned, gorgeously crispy chicken, which could be a new contender for best fried chicken in town, too. Extra bonus: your chicken and waffles can come with a side of grits.

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10. Fork 4600 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Lincoln Square)

Lincoln Square’s farm-to-table restaurant is a jaw-unhinging “showstopper” destination. Whether you're joining them for a brunch filled with fantastic chicken and waffles, "brunch-ready monster," which features a 1lb prime beef patty poised atop a Belgian waffle "bun" and smothered in cheddar and Swiss, or just popping by to enjoy something from their impressive wine and beer lists, you'll feel like a winner.