The Chicken ‘N Waffle at Butter & Zeus.

The Chicken ‘N Waffle at Butter & Zeus. (Jeff Cianci)

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor

A classic American comfort food, fried chicken is a delectable guilty pleasure. Traditional Southern fried chicken is typically marinated in buttermilk, then dredged in flour and deep-fried. However, from batter and frying methods to secret spice blends, chefs tend to lend their own interpretations to the dish. Furthermore, fried chicken can be served as a savory dish or paired alongside fluffy waffles for a sweet spin. Here is a collection of 10 South Bay restaurants serving up unique versions of Southern fried chicken. If we missed your favorite fried chicken spot, please be sure to share it in the comments.

Cornflake crusted fried chicken with chicken-thyme gravy, waffles, whipped cranberry butter and maple syrup.
Cornflake crusted fried chicken with chicken-thyme gravy, waffles, whipped cranberry butter and maple syrup. (Jeff Cianci)

A New Orleans theme complete with Mardi Gras beads and hurricane cocktails make Nola a popular party destination in Palo Alto. The restaurant serves classic dishes of Creole and Cajun cuisine such as jambalaya, étouffée and gumbo. A mashup of sweet and savory, the fried chicken is free-range boneless chicken that is dipped in buttermilk, coated in cornflakes and served with chicken-thyme gravy, waffles, whipped cranberry butter and organic maple syrup.

Nola
535 Ramona St. [map]
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Ph: (650) 328-2722
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm; Sat 12-11pm; Sun 5-9pm
Facebook: Nola
Twitter: @NolaPaloAlto
Price Range: $$$ Entrees ($18-$24)

Cafe Stritch’s fried chicken and waffles.
Cafe Stritch’s fried chicken and waffles. (Jeff Cianci)

A popular venue for live music in downtown San Jose, Cafe Stritch serves a menu of American comfort food including buttermilk fried chicken with waffles. Large pieces of leg and thigh meat are dipped in a batter that gives the fried chicken a delicious thick and flaky crust. The chicken is served alongside fluffy Belgian waffles and a spicy coleslaw. Cafe Stritch only serves their popular fried chicken dish on Friday and Saturday.

Cafe Stritch
374 S 1st St. [map]
San Jose, CA 95113
Ph: (408) 280-6161
Hours: Wed-Sat 4pm-2am; Sun 4pm-12am; Closed Monday and Tuesday
Facebook: Cafe Stritch
Twitter: @cafestritch
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Fried chicken with pancake at Oak & Rye.
Fried chicken with pancake at Oak & Rye. (Jeff Cianci)

While this Los Gatos restaurant may be bustling with guests enjoying wood-fired pizzas and craft cocktails, Oak & Rye also features a popular fried chicken dish on their brunch menu. The crispy fried chicken is plated alongside a pancake with cinnamon butter and served with maple syrup and a Louisiana style hot sauce.

Oak & Rye
303 N Santa Cruz Ave. [map]
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Ph: (408) 395-4441
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-11pm; Sat-Sun 10am-11pm
Facebook: Oak & Rye
Twitter: @OakRye
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

The Chicken ‘N Waffle at Butter & Zeus.
The Chicken ‘N Waffle at Butter & Zeus. (Jeff Cianci)

Located walking distance from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Butter & Zeus features a menu of waffle sandwiches, both sweet and savory. The popular Chicken ‘N Waffle features a boneless, skinless breast fried with a rosemary batter and sandwiched between two warm waffles. Butter & Zeus also serves their fried chicken alongside a churro waffle that has been coated in cinnamon sugar.

Butter & Zeus
2213 Tasman Dr. [map]
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Ph: (408) 727-1800
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:30am-8pm; Sat-Sun 9:30am-8pm
Facebook: Butter & Zeus Waffle Sandwiches
Twitter: @ButterAndZeus
Price Range: $ (Entrees under $10)

Fried chicken at The Table served over a cheddar cheese biscuit with country sausage gravy and a fried egg.
Fried chicken at The Table served over a cheddar cheese biscuit with country sausage gravy and a fried egg. (Jeff Cianci)

The Table serves contemporary American cuisine prepared with locally-sourced ingredients in a homey setting. A recent renovation added a full bar and patio space to this popular Willow Glen restaurant. Fried chicken is featured on The Table’s brunch menu and is served atop a cheddar biscuit covered with country sausage gravy and a fried egg. A side of crispy potato wedges completes this rich dish.

The Table
1110 Willow St. [map]
San Jose, CA 95125
Ph: (408) 638-7911
Hours: Mon-Tue 4-10pm; Wed-Thu 9am-2pm and 4-10pm; Fri 9am-2pm and 4pm-12am; Sat 8:30am-2pm and 5pm-12am; Sun 8:30am-2pm and 5pm-9pm
Facebook: The Table
Twitter: @TheTableSJ
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

The Farmers Union fried chicken with pan-roasted squash, buttermilk mashed potatoes and bacon gravy.
The Farmers Union fried chicken with pan-roasted squash, buttermilk mashed potatoes and bacon gravy. (Jeff Cianci)

This American gastropub is inside a historic building which once served as an agricultural depot for San Jose ranchers during the turn of the century. The Farmers Union features a massive bar set in the center of the brick building and serves modern American cuisine. The classic fried chicken is served with pan-roasted squash and buttermilk mashed potatoes. A rich and flavorful housemade bacon gravy elevates the dish to a higher level of American comfort food.

The Farmers Union
151 W Santa Clara St. [map]
San Jose, CA 95113
Ph: (408) 277-0545
Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-10pm; Fri 11:30am-11pm; Sat 4-11pm; Sun 10am-2:30pm and 4-10pm
Facebook: The Farmers Union
Twitter: @TheFarmersUnion
Price Range: $$$ Entrees ($18-$24)

The fried chicken at Scratch served with cornbread and Boston baked beans.
The fried chicken at Scratch served with cornbread and Boston baked beans. (Jeff Cianci)

Scratch serves modern American cuisine in a cozy, refined setting.  The fried chicken at Scratch is an edible ode to American comfort food on a single plate: tender pieces of chicken in an extraordinarily crispy batter served alongside a moist cornbread cake and Boston baked beans presented in a cast iron cocotte.

Scratch
401 Castro St. [map]
Mountain View, CA 94041
Ph: (650) 237-3132
Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-10pm; Fri 11:30am-11pm; Sat 10am-11pm; Sun 10am-9pm
Facebook: Scratch
Price Range: $$$ Entrees ($18-$24)

Fried chicken and eggs at Southern Kitchen Coffee Shop.
Fried chicken and eggs at Southern Kitchen Coffee Shop. (Jeff Cianci)

Southern Kitchen Coffee Shop is a no-frills breakfast joint in South San Jose that serves ample portions of American comfort food and Mexican breakfast dishes. The fried chicken with eggs is served alongside breakfast potatoes, two eggs and toast but can also be purchased a la carte.

Southern Kitchen Coffee Shop
3378 Monterey Hwy. [map]
San Jose, CA 95111
Ph: (408) 225-4381
Hours: Mon-Sun 6am-3pm
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Southern fried chicken at Lillie Mae’s House of Chicken and Wafflez.
Southern fried chicken at Lillie Mae’s House of Chicken and Wafflez. (Jeff Cianci)
Southern fried chicken and waffles at Lillie Mae’s House of Chicken and Wafflez.
Southern fried chicken and waffles at Lillie Mae’s House of Chicken and Wafflez. (Jeff Cianci)

One of the few restaurants in the South Bay for soul food, Lillie Maes has two locations side by side. Next door to the original House of Soul Food is Lillie Maes House of Chicken and Wafflez. The restaurant serves Southern-style fried chicken with cornbread and baked beans as well as fried chicken and waffles made with a special family blend of spices.

Lillie Maes House of Chicken and Wafflez
1240 Coleman Ave. [map]
Santa Clara, CA 95050
Hours: Tue-Thu 11am-8pm; Fri 11am-9pm; Sat 12-9pm; Sun 12-4pm
Facebook: Lillie Maes House of Chicken and Wafflez
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

The fried chicken and waffles at Louisiana Bistro.
The fried chicken and waffles at Louisiana Bistro. (Jeff Cianci)

Serving a menu of classic Cajun dishes Louisiana Bistro aims to bring the food and music of New Orleans to San Jose. The bistro serves po’ boys, gumbo and jambalaya accompanied by live music on Friday nights. The chicken and waffle plate showcases their specialty in preparing Southern comfort food. Leg and thigh meat are first tossed in a special blend of Southern spices before being deep fried and served alongside fluffy buttermilk waffles and maple syrup.

Louisiana Bistro
19 N Market St. [map]
San Jose, CA 95113
Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-2pm and 5-9pm; Fri 11am-2pm and 5-11pm; Sat 2-11pm; Sun 2-9pm
Facebook: Louisiana Bistro
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Bay Area Bites Guide to 10 Favorite South Bay Restaurants Serving Southern Fried Chicken 5 January,2016Jeff Cianci

Author

Jeff Cianci

Jeff Cianci is a freelance food writer based in San Jose. While studying journalism in college, Jeff’s curiosity landed him at a busy California bistro where he experienced a crash course in culinary training over two summer breaks, learning on the job with a very patient chef as his mentor. Around the same time, Jeff married his journalism degree to his appreciation for the restaurant world and determined food writing would be his career path. In his work Jeff most enjoys profiling chefs and learning their background, finding a new favorite restaurant and sharing his experiences with others through his reviews and social media. In addition to KQED's Bay Area Bites, Jeff writes restaurant reviews for Metro Silicon Valley and new restaurant guides for Eater National. Follow Jeff on Twitter @Cheffreycianci.