I grew up in the South, so when a restaurant in California advertises southern food, I am a little skeptical. What could they know about collard greens and cornbread?
I went to brunch last Sunday with my best girlfriends. We were hoping to eat at this famous brunch spot but the wait was too long. Instead, we walked down 3rd street and found this little hole-in-the-wall place advertising “fried chicken and waffles”.
The restaurant was Hard Knox Cafe (www.hardknoxcafe.com) at 22nd and 3rd in the Dogpatch. And I wish you could’ve heard the confusion that ensued from the strange sign. My California friends could not imagine fried chicken at the same restaurant as waffles, much less on the same plate. My friend Brianna was experienced in this southern tradition and she fought hard to convince the others to give it a chance. There were several agonizing minutes of “it’s fried chicken. with waffles. you take fried chicken. and serve it with waffles.”
Finally, everyone gave in, we went inside and sat in a booth in the back. This restaurant is pretty scary-looking on the outside, but it was nice inside, and the people were really friendly. We started off with the corn muffins to ease everybody into the Southern experience. They were delicious! Then it was time to order our meal. After much deliberation, my friends ordered the chicken and waffles.
The C&W entree came as a plate of waffles and a plate of fried chicken. Our little table was covered in Southern goodness! I watched my friends take a slow, cautious bite, chew slowly and then BAM! Their eyes lit up and “YUM!” They were hooked! And even dipped their chicken in the syrup by the end.
You know the song Hillbilly Bone? That song describes brunch perfectly. My west coast friends took to chicken and waffles “like a pig to mud, like a cow to cud”.