Behold: The Popeyes fried chicken challenge

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Let’s face it — we can all be forgiven for self-medicating with junk food at various periods during the COVID-19 lockdown. Stress eating is very normal, and some experts even say stress eating is OK.  I certainly find solace in comfort food, and for me, Popeyes fried chicken is probably the most comfortable food there is. But this story is about something very different. In fact, there’s one guy that eats Popeyes fried chicken with such ferocity, you might get a little uncomfortable watching him.

I am talking about competitive eater Matt Stonie, who, not too long ago, completed the Popeyes chicken challenge. Now, before we get into the details of this truly remarkable feat — or judge Matt or this particular fast food restaurant too harshly — just know that Popeyes is a favorite among many very well known chefs, including Danny Bowien, Dale Talde, Paul Qui, Hugh Acheson. David Chang, Wylie Dufresne and the late, great Anthony Bourdain, who said, “Late at night, I’ve been known to sneak in there with a hoodie on — and I always get nailed. People are like, ‘Dude, I’m going to put this on Instagram.’”

Stonie has a long list of eating accomplishments — he even won the famed Nathan’s hot dog eating contest on Coney Island, dethroning perennial champ, Joey Chestnut, one year. His YouTube channel boasts tens of millions of views and the challenges documented there are varied. Spicy noodles, wings and most recently, Fruit Loops.

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But the Popeyes challenge is truly a site to see. In this video, Stonie manages to consume an entire 16 piece meal (he went with classic instead of spicy, which in my view, was a huge error). That means that in addition to the chicken, he ate a box of biscuits, and large servings of mac and cheese, red beans and rice, and coleslaw. In all, it adds up to more than 8,000 calories. He eats all of it in just under 25 minutes. Watch below, if you dare.

I’ll be honest with you, as much as I love Popeyes, I had trouble getting through the whole video. Particularly the moment in the middle where he just devours the mac and cheese. That said, I’ve been craving Popeyes ever since watching it. Not sure what that means about me. 

This article originally appeared on MediaFeed.org.

 

The concept of combining chicken and waffles has been around since the 1600s when  early versions of waffles were being topped with pulled chicken and gravy by home cooks in Pennsylvania Dutch country. But it wasn’t until 1938 that the soul-food-inspired concept of fried chicken and waffles first appeared in the Wells Supper Club in Harlem, New York.

 

Today, chicken-and-waffle dishes can be found all across the country in diners, formal restaurants, bars and other eating establishments. And there are many unique takes on the classic dish.

 

While a small number of these restaurants have closed temporarily due to COVID-19, all of the other restaurants on this list are open for business and offering at least take-out, if not outdoor or indoor dining.

 

So, whether you’re new to the concept of chicken and waffles, or you’re a devoted fan looking for new places to try, we’ve got you covered. Check out some of our favorite haunts around the country for great chicken and waffles.

 

Facebook / Howlin’ Ray’s

 

Yo’ Mama’s, Birmingham

Though Yo’ Mama’s cut its teeth by serving up breakfast of all kinds, its chicken and waffles makes it a hot spot for Birmingham foodies. The restaurant tops its fare off with a hearty side of live entertainment — musicians from many genres regularly perform at Yo’ Mama’s.

 

 

Facebook / Yo’ Mama’s

 

Waffle Rush, Anchorage

Waffle Rush combines culinary influences from all over North America to procure The Last Frontier’s quirkiest chicken and waffles. Whether it’s adding french fries or thick poutine gravy, Waffle Rush’s enthusiastic experimentation yields yummy results.

 

Facebook / Waffle Rush

 

Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles, Phoenix

Lo-Lo’s has turned enthusiasm for juicy chicken and light-as-air waffles into undeniable success. Although Lo-Lo’s serves up a variety of soul and Southern dishes, its chicken and waffles makes it a true Arizona powerhouse. The restaurant has locations in Phoenix and Gilbert, Arizona, and is expanding into Nevada and Texas.

 

 

Facebook / Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles

 

Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie, Bentonville

Tusk & Trotter is a high-end, farm-to-table eatery developed by local talent Rob Nelson. The restaurant has received acclaim for a dish called, “Which Came First?” It’s a carrot cake waffle topped with chicken, caviar, sorghum syrup and other delicacies. This makes Tusk & Trotter a can’t-miss for chicken and waffle enthusiasts.

 

Facebook / Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie

 

Howlin’ Ray’s, Los Angeles

California is replete with restaurants that bring Southern fare to the West Coast, but few enjoy as much buzz as Howlin’ Ray’s. The restaurant serves up chicken and waffles with true Southern flair, giving guests the options of white, dark, wing or “skinny Jimmy” meat. Howlin’ Ray’s attention to detail makes it one of LA’s best chicken and waffle stops. Because of the pandemic, they’re only offering delivery through Postmates at this time.

 

Facebook / Howlin’ Ray’s

 

Urban Steam American Bistro, Colorado Springs

This is a restaurant known for its hipster feel, craft coffees and cocktails. What people may not know is they have well-respected chicken and waffles with names like “Southern Comfort,” a blue cornmeal waffle, buttermilk fried chicken, two eggs and topped with bourbon maple syrup. Need something a little more extra? Try the “Chicken & Waffle Stacker” consisting of buttermilk fried chicken, bacon and pepper jack cheese on a blue cornbread waffle with a side of bourbon maple syrup.

 

Urban Steam / Facebook

 

Bella’s Cafe, New Haven

Bella’s is out to reaffirm that the best part of the dish is its thickly buttered waffle. Many of the restaurant’s dishes get their flair from the creative use of butter, cream cheese and other spreads — and the restaurant’s coveted chicken and waffles offering is no exception. Take note, New Haven foodies.

 

Facebook / Bella’s Cafe

 

1861 Restaurant, Middletown

This restaurant puts a spin on the classic breakfast/brunch dish by serving it for dinner with a green tea ginger waffle, pistachio and pickled daikon radish, and topped with honey mustard and syrup. If you want to expand your chicken & waffle palate, this might be a good pick.

 

1861 Bar / Food / Friends / Facebook

 

The Coop, Winter Park

The Coop bills itself as “A Southern Affair” whose cuisine revolves around that most sacred of regional staples: chicken. The restaurant offers an enviable plate of Southern-fried chicken atop a waffle doused in bourbon syrup. With such a delectable meal on the menu, it’s small wonder that folks from Florida and beyond flock to The Coop.

 

Facebook / The Coop

 

Atlanta Breakfast Club, Atlanta

They claim to have the “best breakfast in Atlanta” at this premier spot in Mid-Town, and with 772 reviews on Yelp for their chicken and waffles alone, it seems people agree. Try their “Crispy Fried Chicken & Waffles” containing a crispy chicken breast, Belgian style waffle and house syrup to see what all the hype is about.

 

 

Atlanta Breakfast Club / Facebook

 

Pancakes & Waffles BLD, Oahu

Pancakes & Waffles BLD packs some of Oahu’s most delicious chicken and waffles. Its signature dish is a chicken and waffle platter topped off with savory honey butter, which makes the restaurant stand out in the state and national waffle scenes. And they also offer brown and country gravy.

 

Facebook / Pancakes & Waffles BLD

 

Abracadabra’s, Idaho Falls

Voted a top Idaho brunch location by several local publications, Abracadabra’s is building an empire on its acclaimed chicken and waffles and its friendly staff. The restaurant regularly polls the “Abracadabra’s Nation” on what to feature next, although its mouthwatering combo of light-as-air waffles and deep-fried chicken topped with over-easy eggs remains a consistent favorite.

 

Facebook / Abracadabra’s

 

Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles, Oak Park

Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles is precisely that. The restaurant heaps crispy chicken atop wide, thin waffles, making Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles a darling for fans of that meal. Though headquartered in Chicago, the restaurant is making inroads in other cities.

 

Facebook / Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles

 

Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles, Indianapolis

Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles has made its titular dish to customers’ exact specifications for years, no matter whether they want wings or white meat piled onto their waffles. Maxine’s meticulousness has earned it hot spot status among locals and visitors.

 

Facebook / Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles

 

Bubba, Des Moines

Bubba is a Southern comfort juggernaut in the Des Moines food scene, serving everything from collard greens to hot chicken for residents of the Hawkeye State. Though Bubba planted its flag by offering all manner of soul food, its buttermilk-fried chicken and honey butter-slathered waffles gobble up much of the diners’ attention. Chicken and waffle seekers should make time for a stop in Des Moines.

 

Facebook / Bubba

 

Doo-Dah Diner, Wichita

The Doo-Dah Diner’s spin on chicken and waffles makes it a Kansas foodie must-try. The restaurant pours delectable sausage gravy over its chicken and serves its waffle with a side of chocolate-coated bacon. That flavor combo may seem unorthodox, but it’s helped the Doo-Dah Diner garner rave reviews from guests.

 

 

Doo-Dah Diner

 

The Silver Dollar, Louisville

The Silver Dollar’s motto is “whiskey by the drink,” and the restaurant is no less enthusiastic about chicken and waffles. One of the establishment’s most popular meals is buttermilk-fried chicken served either spicy or sweet on a house-made waffle. If the reviews are any indication, The Silver Dollar owes its success as much to its chicken and waffles as to whiskey.

 

 

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The French Press, Lafayette

The French Press is a playground for James Beard-nominated chef Justin Girouard to combine Cajun and American cuisine. One of his most eclectic creations is cheddar waffles (you read that right) topped off with LeBlanc Cane Jelly-fried chicken. This eccentric combo produces an unmistakable flavor that chicken and waffle fans in Louisiana shouldn’t skip.

 

 

Facebook / The French Press

 

Hot Suppa, Portland

Portland’s Hot Suppa imports soul and Southern influences to the rugged coast of Maine. As with several other eateries on this list, customers came to Hot Suppa for its wide range of soul food but ended up staying for its syrup-coated chicken and waffles.

 

Yelp / Cecily T.

 

Simply Marie’s, Baltimore

Simply Marie’s is one of Baltimore’s most charming breakfast spots. Regulars swear by the restaurant’s chicken and waffles, which comprises three wings scattered over a large Belgian waffle. Top that combo off with maple syrup, and the result is a chicken and waffles platter that makes Simply Marie’s simply delicious.

 

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Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen, Boston

Darryl’s corners the market on enthusiasm for chicken and waffles. Their chicken and waffles are so popular that the restaurant serves it up during an all-day “Glorifried” happy hour for less than the regular price. In addition to fried tenders, Darryl’s also offers its waffles up topped with dark or white meat.

 

 

Facebook / Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen

 

Beans & Cornbread, Southfield

Beans & Cornbread gets by on, well, beans and cornbread, but Wings & Waffles wouldn’t be an inaccurate backup title for the restaurant. The establishment serves plenty of both and has earned the adoration of foodies in Southfield and beyond. Guests can also pair their chicken and waffles with selections from an abundance of inspired sides and cocktails.

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Facebook / Beans & Cornbread

 

The Lowry, Minneapolis

The Lowry entices customers with larger-than-life quotes printed on its floors and walls, then charms them into staying with a hearty offering of chicken and waffles. The Lowry tops this hand-breaded dish off with generous helpings of syrup and gravy.

 

Facebook / The Lowry

 

10 South Rooftop Bar & Grill, Vicksburg

It takes skill to stand out in the heartland of soul food. Luckily, 10 South Rooftop Bar & Grill also has a beautiful view and some of the state’s best chicken and waffles. Patrons can enjoy the Vicksburg skyline, the game on TV or both while eating the restaurant’s signature sweet potato waffle.

 

Yelp / Mike K.

 

Juniper, St. Louis

Juniper offers a more upscale-feeling brunch experience for you to enjoy your next plate of chicken and waffles at. They also offer Sunday brunch specials and drinks to go to help you enjoy your next order no matter if you’re eating in our taking it home.

 

Juniperstl / Instagram

 

Roost Fried Chicken, Bozeman

Montana isn’t commonly associated with chicken and waffles, but Roost Fried Chicken in Bozeman is changing that. Roost’s famed chicken and waffles come standard with heavenly maple pecan butter and zesty tenders, which have helped make the restaurant the toast of Bozeman.

 

 

Facebook / Roost Fried Chicken

 

Overeasy, Omaha

Overeasy is committed to bringing farm-to-table flavor to Omaha, and no dish reflects that commitment more than its chicken and waffles. The dish combines locally sourced chicken, wheat, buttermilk and fruit to make a chicken and waffle meal that is uniquely Nebraskan — and delicious.

 

 

Facebook / Overeasy

 

Gritz Cafe, Las Vegas

The Gritz Cafe has been a soul staple in Vegas for over a decade. Patrons can look forward to, among other dishes, a delightful chicken and waffle platter. In a unique twist, customers can swap out the chicken with fish.

 

 

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Bar One, Milford

Besides the popular chicken and waffles (made with a coriander sweet potato waffle batter) served with candied bacon and bourbon maple syrup, this woman-owned-and-operated gastro pub offers other popular dishes like duck confit poutine, mac & cheese flatbread, fried or blackened catfish  and craft cocktails.

Related: Check out The Best Young Chef in Every State

 

Bar One

 

Tops Diner, East Newark

Few restaurants know breakfast like Tops Diner. The diner has been in business since 1942 and enjoyed an unsullied reputation for excellence all those years. That reputation is due in no small part to the restaurant’s chicken and waffles, a dish whose savory flavors draw hungry patrons from all over New Jersey.

 

 

Facebook / Tops Diner

 

Frank’s Famous Chicken & Waffles, Albuquerque

Frank’s Famous Chicken & Waffles built its fame on a combination of authentic, Southern-fried chicken and ultra-fluffy waffles. Frank’s has leveraged its dedication to delicious ingredients (including thick, sugary maple syrup) to establish itself as a culinary beacon in Albuquerque.

 

Facebook / Frank’s Famous Chicken & Waffles

 

Sylvia’s Restaurant, New York City

Sylvia’s has been a Harlem hot spot for years, and no wonder. Visitors can order chicken and waffles fresh from the griddle and enjoy this Southern creation in the heart of Manhattan. Sylvia’s is also frequented by local artists and performers.

 

Facebook / Sylvia’s Restaurant

 

Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Raleigh

As implied by its name, Beasley’s presents a different take on chicken and waffles than many of its contemporaries. The restaurant drizzles much of its chicken in sweet, savory honey, and customers can – and often do – elect to have that deep-fried divinity served up on a deep-pocketed waffle. Chicken and waffle enthusiasts shouldn’t dare to pass Beasley’s honey-coated meals up.

 

 

Facebook / Beasley’s Chicken + Honey

 

The Boiler Room, Fargo

Fargo’s prestigious Boiler Room restaurant is a staple of North Dakota’s food scene. This eatery built much of its reputation on such local favorites as deep-fried hard-boiled eggs, and its chicken and waffles is also a Boiler Room heavy hitter. After all, who could refuse chicken and waffles topped off with sausage gravy and cheesy tater tots?

 

Facebook / The Boiler Room

 

HangOverEasy, Columbus and Cincinatti 

Looking for Ohio’s best chicken and waffles? Who better to task than college students after a long night! They offer a vast array of breakfast and other comfort foods, including chicken and waffles, a favorite of Ohio State University students.

 

HangOverEasy / Instagram

 

Waffle Champion, Oklahoma City

Waffle Champion makes its mark on chicken and waffles with a combination of Tabasco-infused honey and crisp herbs. The restaurant piles copious amounts of both onto its chicken and waffles for a creation unlike those of any other waffle joint.

Related: Check out our run down of Incredible Dive Bars in Every State.

 

Yelp / Michan I.

 

Screen Door, Portland

This cute Portland eatery’s claim to fame is perfectly fried chicken on a sweet potato waffle. Patrons may  try to start with a single piece of chicken if they wish, but face it: It’s hard not to level up to the full three-piece experience..

 

Facebook / Screen Door

 

Green Eggs Cafe, Philadelphia

With apologies to Dr. Seuss, the Green Eggs Cafe has less to do with cherished children’s books than novel brunch creations. One of the cafe’s most acclaimed meals is chicken and waffles served with poached eggs and a hearty drizzle of hollandaise. Chicken and waffles lovers can find this unrivaled delicacy at one of the Green Eggs Cafe’s four Philly locations.

 

Yelp / Mark N.

 

Bucktown, Providence

Bucktown keeps Providence full of eclectic, down-home fare, but the restaurant’s chicken and waffles is one of its signature dishes. Bucktown takes a no-frills approach to its presentation , serving three pieces of chicken atop a Belgian waffle with some syrup. But this simplicity hasn’t dampened locals’ enthusiasm for ordering it.

 

 

Yelp / Alison F.

 

Early Bird Diner, Charleston

The name Early Bird Diner is a misnomer, since customers can mosey into the restaurant for brunch without being too late for its chicken and waffles. Early Bird’s rendition of this dish combines sweet, salty and savory flavors into an unforgettable taste.

 

Facebook / Early Bird Diner

 

Slim Chickens, Sioux Falls

The chicken options at Slim Chickens are far from, well, slim! Their chicken and waffles are of course a fan-favorite, though, and they even come in shapes like hearts for holidays and other special occassions.

 

slimchickens / Instagram

 

Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe, Memphis

Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe puts chicken and waffles smack dab in the middle of the Memphis music scene. Located on the one and same Beale Street where jazz legends honed their skills, the restaurant shows off its own talent in the form of fluffy Belgian waffles and hearty chicken. Visitors to Beale Street should vie for front-row seats here just as vigorously as they would at a nearby jazz club.

 

Facebook / Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe

 

24 Diner, Austin

The 24 Diner turns the very concept of a late-night eatery on its head. In addition to a charming aesthetic and locally sourced ingredients, the chicken and waffles are prepared here with brown sugar butter. Perhaps best of all, 24 Diner doesn’t restrict its chicken and waffles to brunch — as implied by its name, guests can stop by anytime.

 

 

Facebook / 24 Diner

 

Bruges Waffles & Frites, Salt Lake City

What started as a waffle stand at Salt Lake City’s farmers market has become the states premier Belgian eatery. Bruges Waffles & Frites applies Belgian sensibilities to chicken and waffles, pairing delectable chicken tenders with a traditional Belgian waffle (and fresh fruit for good measure).

 

Bruges Waffles & Frites

 

The Friendly Toast, Burlington

This self-proclaimed environmentally-friendly establishment aims to locally source their food whenever possible. They also serve cocktails if you’re feeling the need for a Bloody Mary or mimosa with your chicken waffles. The chicken is made with a Rice Krispies coated chicken breast and it all comes served with bacon & fire roasted poblano corn, hot honey drizzle, zesty maple sour cream and scallions.

 

The Friendly Toast / Facebook

 

Hair of the Dog Eatery, Virginia Beach

Despite its name, the Hair of the Dog Eatery doesn’t explicitly condone drinking alcohol to remedy a hangover. It is, however, a bit more outspoken about its chicken and waffles, which come standard with thick strips of bacon and even thicker syrup. Hair of the Dog’s chicken and waffles plate has earned more than a few swoons from lucky visitors — chicken and waffle junkies will have the same reaction.

 

 

Facebook / Hair of the Dog Eatery, Virginia Beach

 

Fat’s Chicken and Waffles, Seattle

Fat’s affinity for New Orleans can be felt in everything from its vibrant murals to its music, though those aren’t some visitors’ main draws. No, that honor belongs to the restaurant’s combination of an ample, deep-fried chicken breast with a plate-size waffle that sports plenty of pockets for syrup and gravy. Yummy, indeed.

 

Facebook / Fat’s Chicken & Waffles

 

Table 9, Morgantown

Table 9 is but one of a growing number of West Virginian restaurants bringing farm-to-table fare to the Mountain State, but no other establishment does chicken and waffles like it does. Table 9 prepares the dish with locally sourced ingredients before topping the entire production off with a generous helping of bourbon-infused syrup. Table 9’s chicken and waffles helped put the restaurant on the map — both locals and visitors should likewise put it on theirs.

 

 

Yelp / Sher Y.

 

The Cozzy Corner, Appleton

The Cozzy Corner has earned nods aplenty for its delectable combination of tender chicken and Belgian waffles. The Corner deserves praise for bringing soul food to Wisconsin, but backs its culinary chops up with live music that patrons can enjoy while they dine.

 

Facebook / The Cozzy Corner

 

Cafe Genevieve, Jackson

Cafe Genevieve planted its flag in Jackson by offering delicious food in a charming atmosphere. Its chicken and waffles make a similarly appealing combo (and the addition of Vermont maple syrup doesn’t hurt, either).

 

Still hungry? Check outthe best bacon in every state

 

Ian Coppock contributed to this piece.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

Facebook / Cafe Genevieve

 

Featured Image Credit: PhanuwatNandee / istockphoto.

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Michael Schreiber

Michael Schreiber is MediaFeed’s founder and Editor-in-Chief. Michael is an Emmy- and duPont-winning journalist and media executive. He’s worked with the New York Times, Frontline, HBO, ABC News and NBC News (where he currently writes for NBC Nightly News from time to time). He’s the founder and principal of Amalgamated Unlimited (a company that helps organizations develop and execute content and editorial strategies) and MediaFeed.org (a content syndication network).