As so many diners chase this sweet‑savory darling, riffing becomes rampant and variations are brazen, as these challengers prove.
Macallans Public House
Pros: House-butchered, free-range breast, thigh, and drumstick are twice-brined in herbs and buttermilk then fried. The deep-pocketed waffle is fluffy and tall, thanks to White Lily flour. Top-grade honey, infused with Buffalo Trace bourbon and
black truffle, makes the golden chicken sing.
Bonus: The dish is a steal at $5. Brea, macallanspubbrea.com
Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern
Pros: Pounded breast meat is tender, boneless, and fried in a peppery seasoned flour. Malted‑ale batter forms nut‑brown waffles, and the maple syrup is the real deal.
Cons: Where’s the crispness in the applewood smoked bacon? And the wan thyme gravy is insubstantial, providing only a dribble of moisture. $18, Dana Point and Brea, j-fat.com
THE WINNER: The version at Macallan’s, right, is top o’ the morning.