The Skeptical Diner: Betty Jean’s Chicken-n-Waffles

Sometimes, you just feel like a waffle and fried chicken. Maybe some gravy gets involved. Possibly some maple syrup. Who can tell?

While it wasn’t the perfect thing to do several hours after eating Russian food for lunch, a prior social engagement brought me to
Betty Jean’s Chicken-n-Waffles. [WARNING: website plays madness-inducing jazz/scat music].

And, some food coma-related problems aside, I’m fairly glad that it did.

The place is located right at the beginning of 1st Avenue’s clubland, and is a surprising (and, frankly, charming) cross between old-school country and big city Yuppie. The menu groups together rustic sides and meats as items named after relatives with names like Sophonia and Uncle Kennard, but the immaculate booths and high ceilings are reminiscent of Town Talk — a modern, upscale spin on what used to be no-frills dining.

But unlike Town Talk’s Californian gloss on diner eats, the food at Betty Jean’s is pretty damn straightforward.

Hickory BBQ chicken wings were a great way to kick things off; they packed a reasonable balance of sweet and spicy, and were “real” (i.e. actual wings, and not preformed boneless lumpy nuggets).

For a main dish, a combination of sausage patties and a waffle turned out to be a stroke of unalloyed brilliance. Maple syrup can be spread liberally all over the plate, and, frankly, you can and probably should just eat the sausage right on top of the waffle.

The same approach was also surprisingly successful with Betty Jean’s delicious fried chicken, but the baked chicken didn’t fare as well, as it kept offering rude hints of its previous life (tiny bits of blood, gristle, a backbone) that would have, in a happier world, been kept off the plate.

The sweet iced tea at Betty Jean’s is monstrously, horrifyingly sweet. It is a sugar atrocity. Laws of physics must have been broken (or at least severely bent) in order to cram so many grains of sugar into the iced tea without it reverting to an opaque syrup.

But there you have it. Refills are free, however, and I wound up drinking three glasses of it.

My only real regret: I was too stuffed to even consider ordering the buttermilk or sweet potato pie.

Next time.

5 Comments so far

  1. Erica M (unregistered) on October 5th, 2007 @ 7:31 am

    Ooh, I’ve been dying to experience the chicken-n-waffles phenomenon. I’ve heard nothing but positive things about it (mostly along the lines of what you said — good, but not knock-your-socks-off).

  2. sarah green (unregistered) on October 5th, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

    we drive/wander past there every once in a while. For a while, I thought it was a strange front for an exclusive club.

    At least now I know where to go to satiate a wings craving downtown.

  3. Clint (unregistered) on October 6th, 2007 @ 11:35 pm

    The whole menu (yes, I’ve had just about everything on there by now) is surprisingly good, and I hold rural southern/soul food to a pretty high standard.

  4. Stu Borken (unregistered) on October 8th, 2007 @ 10:56 pm

    So, you couldn’t give an address? I just drove up 1st Ave to get to 3rd to go to 112 Eatery. Where was Betty Jean’s?
    I had fantastic chicken’n waffles at Bull Dog’s before the mustard altercation. The chicken and waffles were wonderful. Do they make it at Cafe Barbett? Same chef.
    Anyway, I’ll just have to keep my eyes open.

  5. Erica M (unregistered) on October 9th, 2007 @ 7:56 am

    So, you couldn’t give an address?

    So, you can’t look it up?

    No chicken and waffles at Barbette.

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