Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

AMY RUTH'S, 113 West 116th Street (between Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd and Malcolm X Blvd), Harlem

Photo by Donny Tsang

I don’t get up to Harlem nearly as often as I should, which is a shame since there’s a whole world of food options up there. I did some exploring recently with my friend and food photographer extraordinaire Donny Tsang in preparation for an upcoming video. And we got a taste of some of NY’s best chicken and waffles.

I’m not yet devoting months to searching for the best version in the city (although I bet Donny would love that challenge), but it’s not such a far off idea. Amazingly enough, chicken and waffles is a very New York dish. Most people associate it with the South, but it gained popularity during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s and 30’s.

Chicken and Waffles at AMY RUTH'S

Amy Ruth’s is not nearly as old as that (they’ve been around since 1998), but most will agree that they currently serve the city’s standard. Called the Rev. Al Sharpton on the menu, the combination of chicken and waffles is very simple. You get a choice of dark or white meat chicken, which is breaded and fried. The golden meat is placed on a soft and warm waffle waiting for you to add as much maple syrup and butter as your heart can take (the more, the better, of course).

If anybody’s ever been unsure of this sweet/savory combination, Amy Ruth’s will assuage any doubts. The brined chicken is crisp and salty, which both matches and complements the sweet yeasty waffle below. Anybody who tries this combo will understand why it’s become such a classic. And it gives me reasons to make more frequent trips to Harlem.

AMY RUTH’S
113 West 116th Street (between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Malcolm X Boulevard),
West Harlem
(212) 280-8779
amyruthsharlem.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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