Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles

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I admit it – I eat at Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles a lot more than I should. How can I not? They are quite literally out the front door of my apartment complex. And I have this thing for fried chicken livers.

Somewhat dark inside, I often have to ask to have extra lights turned on and it worries me that they might be trying to keep costs down by having the lights as dim as they are. And service can definitely be hit or miss. No, that is not true. It is usually a miss in that I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had to ask two or three times for something I have ordered; be it remoulade for the chicken livers (since it comes with gravy), a glass of milk, or simply water

What is the appeal? For us die-hard groupies who care little for our health or cholesterol, it is – of course – crisp fried chicken and homemade waffles. Are either exceptional and worth going out of the way for? Probably not. But both have some things going for them. With the waffles, it is their house made brown sugar syrup. Maple is of course available but I much prefer the brown sugar syrup for some reason. Many people pour the syrup over the fried chicken as well, but I am a purist, preferring to consume them separately.

They also have a variety of other waffle flavors available, including sweet potato, cornmeal, and more, but I admit I haven’t gotten beyond the plain ole standard round, thin crispy waffle. Not a thick, fluffy Belgian waffle – nope, these are the thinner versions. And the fried chicken? I like the spicing and the crunch of the coating, but tend to find their white meat pieces dryer and less enticing as the wings or thighs.

There are a number of side dishes available, some worth trying and others worth avoiding. Having a sweet tooth, I don’t necessarily mind that the candied yams are soft and suspended with cinnamon-spiced goo that would indicate they are from a can. I grew up on those canned yams so there is some ancestral memory calling to me, I’m sure., which makes them taste like they should – soft to the tooth and unctuous.

The Mac-N-Cheese is one of the most regrettable and forgettable ever conceived. Dry and pasty, one taste was more than sufficient. I know many that adore their mashed potatoes and gravy and I’m not sure why. Adequate enough, the gravy itself is forgettable in its thick, gloppy nature. Red beans and rice are similarly thick and pasty, but surprisingly I enjoyed their flavor more than I expected to.

I am a huge sucker for sweet potato fries and here Gussie’s does not disappoint. A large bowl would make a happy meal for me in a carb frenzy of crunchy ecstasy. And then there are those chicken livers. Large and delightfully spiced, these are not over-battered to hide the desired mealy texture of the liver and are served topped with thinly sliced, fried onion rings. Gravy is served on the side but again, I recommend asking for their remoulade as the dipping condiment. This is perfection in a comfort food, offal sort of way.

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