FINALLY, after years of watching (and drooling during) shows on the Food Network profiling places in L.A. and Harlem that serve chicken and waffles, Indianapolis has its own. We eagerly headed to Maxine's Chicken and Waffles at 132 N. East Street on a late weekday afternoon. We read that it was attached to a gas station so we assumed that it would be a very casual, no menus, walk up to the counter, pick up your own order kind of place. We assumed wrong. Once inside, you'll quickly forget that it is attached to a gas station and you'll soak up the nice atmosphere. There are tables and booths and a huge fountain in the middle with TVs suspended at the top of it. A very welcoming hostess sat us down in a booth and we perused the menu. There are plenty of choices here if, by chance, you or your dining companions don't want to try chicken and waffles. You can click the photos of the menu for a larger image to see the other options. We ordered the regular sweet tea and the D&K tea (a blend of sweetened iced tea and lemonade). We ordered the Chicken and Waffles and the Turkey BBQ sandwich. The sandwich came with a side and when we chose the Fried Corn Bread, the server kindly informed us that it would come with our order anyway in case we wanted to try something else (Our server was wonderful. She is actually the service manager and she did a great job). So, we went with the grits just because they aren't something that we see on Indiana menus everyday.
Our drinks came and the Fried Corn Bread, which can aptly be called little disks straight from heaven, came. They were golden brown, crunchy, and delicious. They are delicious on their own but they come with a couple of packets of easy-to-spread whipped butter if you are feeling indulgent. Further endearing herself to us, our server told us that we could have as many of them as we wanted. We took her up on that as we emptied the first plate and she brought out more. Then, out came our Fried Green Tomatoes. They surrounded a bowl of "Southern Sauce" which is a horsey-Dijon sauce that is the perfect compliment for the lightly breaded tomatoes.
We had just polished those off when the entrees came to us. The Chicken and Waffles plate is impressive with 3 entire wings on top of a huge, thick waffle. In the center of the mammoth waffle, was a semi-melted dollop of peach butter. The peach flavor was very subtle providing a nice hint of peach in every bite, but it never intruded on the dish. Syrup is brought out on the side, but taste everything before you pour it on, you may find the waffle/peach butter combo doesn't need it. The chicken wings were lightly breaded and fried, but were not greasy. We can't tell you why the combo of fried chicken and waffles works, but it comes together both in texture and taste. The contrast of fried and sweet is a match made in epicurean heaven. Consider it brunch, only you get the breakfast and lunch items at the same time. The portion was so generous, we had to bring a wing home for later.
The Turkey BBQ sandwich was equally wonderful. The sauce was really thick and had a little kick to it but not an uncomfortable amount of heat. 1/2 of it came home with us because it was so packed with turkey.
Just to get a taste, we ordered the cobbler to take a few bites of and then bring home. The menu says "seasonal cobbler" and we were served a peach one. There are just no words. If you were lucky enough to have a Mom who made peach cobbler, this is what it probably tasted like (don't tell, but it might be even better). If you didn't have a Mom who made you this, order Maxine's and make up for lost time. The peaches and pastry revel in the thick, sweet, warm fruit filling.
The bottom line is this: we strongly encourage everyone to try Maxine's. We know other people might have different markers for when they think their city is a worthy culinary destination but, for us, having our own independent chicken and waffle place is a huge feather in Indianapolis' cap.
There is a parking lot just beyond the front door of Maxine's off of N. East Street. Carry-out is available. On their menus and on their sign it says "A taste of love in every bite". We actually believe that and we tasted it. Thanks Maxine's for a memorable dining experience.
Maxine's Chicken and Waffles
132 N. East St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
7AM-8PM Mon-Thur; 7AM-12:30AM Fri & Sat; 8AM-6PM Sun