But it left me with a powerful hankering. I wanted some real chicken and waffles. I wanted some of Big Mama’s Chicken and Waffles.
I had been driving by the spot – a long abandoned drive through burger joint on a shady corner of the diciest intersection in my section of the city – but I had never actually stopped by. Now it was about time.
I had to drive past the place and do a U-turn at an apartment complex to get into the drive-through. As I went through the intersection, the smell hit me. The wonderful smell of fryers and soul food. It floated through the neighborhood like a greasy cloud of deliciousness. The miasma of saturated fat was enough to give you coronary artery disease before you ever pulled up to the barred ordering window… but who wants to live forever?
I leaned out my window and looked the menu over. They don’t have an intercom so I drove to the window to speak directly to a live human being and ordered a “three piece regular, with waffle.”
There are several things that separate a place like Big Mama’s from the vast conspiracy of corporate franchise clone grease-heaving locations.
- The prices on the board include tax. It said five-fifty, it cost five-fifty.
- Your order comes in a plain brown paper sack. This adds a subtle flavor, in addition to the visual appeal of grease soaking through brown paper.
- Heavy black iron bars welded on the drive-through and walk-up windows.
- A confused history of decorations. The crumbling tower overhead boasted two old clocks, hands long gone missing. A big banner proclaimed, “Under New Management – Same Great Taste.”
- Cash only.
- Friendly, human service by people that give a damn.
- They even serve Kool-Aid.
I paid my cash and collected my brown paper bag. There were two little metal tables on site, perched over a muddy drop down to a stagnant creek hidden back in a thick stand of trees, but I had some errands to run so off I went, eventually gulping my meal down in another parking lot.
There is something terribly primitive about eating fried chicken in a car.
The food was great. The chicken spicy, but not too much. The waffle was big, soft, and waffle-y. They drop little tubs of Country Crock and Chef’s Quality Breakfast Syrup into the bag. There’s no way to keep from getting a little sweet syrup on the chicken… and that’s a good thing. If you don’t know any better, you might be a bit confused by the combination of Chicken and Waffles. Get over it. Waffles and Fried Chicken go together like grits and greens.
Everybody knows that.