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Lucky to Have ‘Em

29 May 2009 2,362 views 5 Comments

It’s been so long since I promised Jodi this post on Lucky J’s, you’d think I’d forgotten all about the experience. Au contraire.

I was never really sold on the idea of chicken and waffles as a viable combination until I caught a Throwdown episode last year. Bobby Flay went up against a woman from Harlem who’d been making chicken and waffles with a recipe dating back to the 1930s. I was drooling. I was entranced. I was ready to move to Harlem. Suddenly, it all made sense, at least in my mind.

During my first visit to Lucky J’s, it made sense to my taste buds as well. In fact, I’m pretty sure a million baby light bulbs went on over each taste bud when I took my first bite.

food Both components were worthy all on their own. The waffles were fresh and warm, soft throughout with just a little crisp around the edges. The breading they use for the chicken – well, I’ll have to go back and ask what they dip it in before it goes in the fryer, because the end result was pretty close to perfection. But throw these two together, and it’s nothing short of genius.

A few in the group had been keeping Passover, so they were perhaps a little extra-enthusiastic at the thought of eating anything in the carb family that didn’t come out of a Streit’s box. There was a little grumbling by someone about the lack of fresh syrup (we were given little plastic packets), but when we asked if they had any other kind of syrup, they provided a small container of warm sweet goo out of a crock pot. (I found it strange that we had to ask for the warm syrup, and I’d advise the otherwise brilliant owner of this miraculous little trailer to just chuck the packets if they haven’t already …)

friends_001 Side note: You can tell by the photo it’s been a while since the visit – we camped out on the grass where there are now tables, chairs and tents. In fact, Lucky J’s will soon take over the building next to their trailer, so you can enjoy air conditioning with your chicken and waffles.

I’m pretty sure Lucky J’s is our city’s first chicken-and-waffle trailer, but I heard somewhere that at least one more has popped up. Maybe I dreamt it. Regardless, I hope the trend continues. We could definitely use a little more Harlem in Austin.

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  • Anonymous

    There used to be a chicken & waffles place down 'round Ben White. There's been a void in Austin's culinary landscape since its demise.

  • sisterdarkness

    She ain't lyin'…this place is fabulous. And, mind you, though the chicken was delicious, it was the waffle that really did it for me.

    They definitely lean more toward the thinner, custardy, almost crepe-like waffles rather than the big, fluffy Belgians, but they are delightful & just the right amount of crispy. For the record, likening anything to a crepe is just about the highest compliment I can give.

    Go get lucky, people. :)

  • Jodi

    Thank you so much for posting, Laura! I’m starving though — did you really have to whet my appetite like that with yummy sweet and fried foods?!

    My friends at Boots in the Oven just posted about Lucky J’s as well. From their pic, they were served real maple syrup so maybe the packets are no more but unfortunately it looks like they were less than thrilled with the food.

    I’m going to have to give both Lucky J’s and Shuggies a try (they have fried chicken and waffles too). Glad to hear I won’t have to bring my own maple syrup, like I would at Roscoe’s in Harlem (hate corn syrupy syrup).

  • double tonic

    Shuggie’s! That’s where I saw a sign for chicken and waffles. I’ve still never tried Shuggie’s. As much as I’m dying to, I can’t show up to the Trailer Park without a Brushfire Taco from Torchy’s — my favorite taco in Austin, hands-down. I could write a whole post about them.

  • Lisa

    We had Lucky J's last night and I was not impressed. The waffle was rubbery and the chicken was over-fried and not very tender. Maybe I'm just not a chicken-n-waffles kind of gal, but the individual component parts did not yield a better whole.