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Chicken and Waffles at Forthright

Chicken and Waffles at Forthright
Living the urban lifestyle in downtown Austin is an emptynester’s dream. The moon is bright in the morning sky, and the pool lights reflect on the leaves of every cherished tree surrounding it. Whenever we get ready for a big weekend breakfast after a long walk around Lady Bird Lake, there are a jillion places in walking distance. However, there’s only one with this kind of chicken and waffles. It’s called Forthright.

With a Name Like Forthright, It’s Gotta be Good

At the previous law firm where I worked, we had a white board. It hung inconspicuously, clean and dry, on the wall behind my desk – until Fridays.
Once a week, when people were bringing donuts to share, and eating their weekly breakfast tacos, and wearing their jeans, I found that my coworkers could let their hair down, just a teensy, and share something about themselves on-the-white-board.
Sometimes I posted a question, like, “What was your favorite summer activity when you were a kid?” Or, at Halloween, “If you trick-or-treated today, what would you hope to find in your pumpkin?”

A Word for the Office White Board

And then one day, someone suggested we all answer this one:  “What’s your favorite word?”
That’s a pretty hard question, I’ll tell you. But then again, these were l-a-w-y-e-r-s. Lawyers got words.
Words flew thoughtfully onto the board, written in red, black or green marker.  Big words like “propitiation” and unknown words like ichorous.  I can’t remember what word I wrote on the board – probably something that displayed my stellar intellect, like “buddy-roe.”  (I just love that compound word, highly used by Father Tim in Jan Karon’s Mitford novels.)
If this amazing restaurant had been open at the time, I would definitely have borrowed its name to use as my Friday word-for-the-white-board.

Straightforward and Honest

 forth·right – ˈfôrTHˌrīt/ –      adjective – (of a person or their manner or speech) direct and outspoken; straightforward and honest
Both Forthright’s menu selections and the easy atmosphere are true to its name. This place has a distinctively sort of hospitable air about it. I’m wondering why it feels that way, and I’m thinking it could have something to do with the crisp white aprons worn by the servers. Maybe that’s what makes me feel like like I’m seated in someone’s kitchen.

The simple white cups, saucers and plates also lend themselves to the straightforward feel at Forthright. Popular items like beet toast and asparagus scramble certainly do look scrumptious on a shiny white plate.

Today We’re Here for the Hearty

Come back with your girlfriends for the yogurt parfait, I whisper to myself. You can eat it outside on the patio, I plan ahead in my hungry brain.
But today, right now, with our college son, home for a brief and fleeting moment – we’re hankering for the hearty. Chicken and waffles for the guys. French toast with bacon for me.

Chicken and Waffles at Forthright

When did Chicken and Waffles Get to Be a Thing?

Growing up in the Texas panhandle, I never had chicken and waffles together, at the same time on the same plate, but they’ve been a popular combo since 1938 when Wells Supper Club opened in Harlem. Later known simply as Wells Chicken & Waffles, the restaurant continued to be a late night hot spot where jazz musicians could enjoy a mix of breakfast and dinner after performing into the early morning hours.

Alson Farley (Head Chef), Mrs. Wells (Owner) – Wells Chicken & Waffles. The restaurant closed in 1982.

Since we have a college son, we’ve scouted out plenty of plates filled with crispy fried chicken & puffy waffles.  From Harlem to Houston, together we’ve tried ’em, and, well, that boy of ours uses some pretty forthright descriptors when it comes to this kind of breakfast.
Words like yum and wow.

A Secret Hint of Spice

In Forthright’s recipe, there’s a very pleasant hint of spice in the chicken. It’s understated, but it’s also noticeably present. I had to ask our server, “What IS that spice that makes this chicken so good??”
He wouldn’t tell me.  He tried to act like he didn’t know.  “It’s the chef’s special blend,” he said. 
Well, it’s special, all right. 
The French toast is good, too, but when that sweet man who married me shared a bite of his chicken, he could tell by the expression on my eyes-closed face that I liked his better and switched plates with me. That’s about as sweet as they come, if you ask me!

Forthright Also Has a Patio

This is the urban patio at Forthright. The trees are beautiful in the summer, but there are outdoor heaters if you want to sip hot coffee and watch the world go by during the winter months as well. Just down the street is easy access to the trail around Lady Bird Lake.

Chicken and Waffles at Forthright

I highly recommend a trip downtown on a nippy January Saturday morning. For a few dollars, you can ride the Metro from up North, get off at the Downtown station, stroll south a couple of blocks and have the best chicken & waffles you’ve ever put in your little Southern mouth. Walk it off on the trail at Lady Bird Lake, or rent a bike and pedal a while. If you drive, there’s free parking in the lot right in front.

There You Have It

So there you have it.  A word for the white board at your office, and a straightforward recommendation for the best chicken and waffles I’ve had thus far in my whole long-legged life.
Encouraging intentional adventure and a delightful breakfast with someone who will trade plates,
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