Not long ago, the only time you had chicken and waffles after 10am was when your school had the nerve to call chicken nuggets and Eggos "Breakfast for Lunch". But now in addition to being an essential brunch food -- and part of any self-respecting boozy brunch -- it’s become a comfort-food favorite. And these seven places make 'em better than anyone... including your favorite lunch lady.
The 7 best chicken and waffles in Miami
When you name your restaurant after fried chicken and you don’t end up on every single list like this, then you’re basically the restaurant equivalent of Johnny Manziel. Fortunately for this South Beach favorite, their version -- served on a cheddar cheese waffle with honey hot sauce and spiced watermelon -- lives up to the hype, and hasn’t gotten beaten out for anything by Brian Hoyer.
South Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
The Broward-based burger stalwarts and their chicken & waffles bring something to Miami that’s almost nonexistent: efficiency. That’s because they don’t make you fight with a chicken bone to get to the hot, juicy, all-white meat on top of their mini waffles. Each piece is boneless and placed atop said waffles, then topped with candied bacon. You can devour all of it without ever needing a knife.
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, there’re a lot of good chicken and waffles in Miami. But only one was named the essential chicken and waffles by our brunching gurus. It also might be the only thing other than pool parties that people will wait outside in line for during the summer.
Yes, we can hear you laughing, “Oh that Thrillist, they love strip clubs sooooo much they actually think the chicken and waffles at this place are better than fill-in-the-name-of-a-restaurant-you-like-that’s-not-on-this-list”. But have you HAD the chicken and waffles at Tootsie's? Just hit the sports bar in back and you’ll see why we think these pepper-buttermilk babies on top of hot, fresh waffles with bourbon maple syrup are the best thing about this place. And remember, this place is full of scantily clad women.
Given the name of this Wynwood burger-and-beer bar, you might think that people are ingesting their chicken and waffles because they've been inhaling something else, but no, it’s probably got more to do with the bacon-topped waffles, the crispy fried chicken, and the glorious powdered sugar they sprinkle over the whole thing.
Miami's second best steakhouse serves oversized chicken pieces on top of equally king-sized waffles w/ maple syrup. They're so good you might want to make a reservation so you can get seated within 60 minutes of... oh who are we kidding? Better bring an extra $75 for drinks at the bar, you’re gonna be there for an hour and a half.
According to the menu at every food truck ever, kimchi is the key ingredient to making any kind of "best food" list. This fact is not lost on the folks at OTC. They marinate their chicken in Korean red miso and kimchi paste before frying it up, putting it on top of homemade waffles, and plating it all with miso aoli, carrot slaw, and maple syrup. Now if only they’d had kimchi in middle school...
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1. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar1600 Lenox Ave, Miami Beach
2. ROK:BRGR5800 SW 73rd St, Miami
3. Morgans Restaurant28 NE 29th St, Miami
4. Tootsie's Cabaret150 NW 183rd St., Miami Gardens
5. KUSH Wynwood2003 N Miami Ave, Miami
6. Prime 112112 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
7. OTC1250 S Miami Ave, Brickell
Before Yardbird opened in 2011, Miami wasn't known for its Southern comfort cuisine, which somehow seemed odd for a city that's geographically part of the American south. All that changed when Top Chef finalist Jeff McInnis, along with restaurant vets Chris Romero and John Kunkel, opened Yardbird in Miami Beach and instantly made a name with their fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and watermelon salad. The menu is chock full of quintessential down-home foods, and the well-stocked bar doles out house cocktails like blackberry bourbon lemonade and Bloody Marys with bacon-infused bourbon.
ROK specializes in gourmet burgers like the King James (Kurobuta pork belly, red onion marmalade, brie, truffle aioli), craft brews and cocktails. Also, flatscreens to distract you from your imminent heart-attack.
From a chef who teaches at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health in NYC, and has reworked classic comfort dishes via healthier ingredients and methods, Morgans sits in a 1930s family home re-worked as a resto, with dining downstairs and downstairs.
Tootsies is a North Dade superclub with over 300 dancers, non-stop sports on plasma Televisions, delicious bar cuisine, sky boxes and champagne rooms. It's the closest thing you'll get in Miami to a Vegas strip club, with the added bonus of a full liquor bar and full nude, full friction dancing.
From the folks who brought you Lokal and with a mission to bring seriously high quality craft brews to SoFla, Kush has 18 speciality suds on tap and a limited-edition menu featuring made-from-scratch items like chicken and waffles. Menu highlights include a frita burger, which blends guava jelly, melted Gruyere, potato stix, and crispy bacon, as well as the Johnny Utah, topped with hot pastrami, cheese, and special sauce.
Located in the historic Browns Hotel, this chef-driven boutique steakhouse offers an innovative menu in a high-energy, sophisticated environment. There’s no better place in Miami to people-watch as celebrities chow down on dry-aged steaks and truffle-sprinkled sides, but you may have to do it for a while, as Prime 112 in SoFi promises notoriously long waits.
OTC does it right with fast, order-at-the-counter service and a laid-back Southern Florida atmosphere. There's a progressive menu with a fresh ingredient presence (duh). Also, they're pretty proud of their Indie-rock music selections.