Chicken and Waffles in An Alley in San Francisco
Psst…I can hook you up with a fix at a good price.
Primo stuff, too, bro.
This way. Come on. Come on. Down this alley.
In San Francisco, if someone beckons you down an alley like that, don’t be afraid. They’re just leading the way to Little Skillet, a lunchtime walk-up window serving Southern-style fried chicken and waffles that is indeed located in an alley.
The to-go window is open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Get in line, then place your order for fried chicken, waffles, “BBQ pork sandwich,” Cobb salad, or Red Velvet cupcakes.
If you’re lucky, you can take your cardboard box of goodness to enjoy at the lone bench on the sidewalk in front of the window. Or do what most people do — grab a foam cushion from a stack nicely provided at the condiment stand — and cross the street to take a seat on a loading dock to chow down on your grub. Packages of wet ones also are conveniently available to clean your hands afterward.
After all, this is definitely food to dig into with your fingers. My two pieces of chicken and one waffle was $8. The Belgian-style waffle was dusted with powdered sugar and came with a small container of very good syrup. It was pleasantly yeasty, but not super-duper crisp on the outside, as it hadn’t been made to order. On the other hand, the chicken was very crisp. It was seasoned nicely, too — just enough to give it interest, but not so much that you gagged on garlic and pepper like at some other more heavy-handed places. The breast was a little dry, but the dark meat thigh was wonderfully moist.
If you need a pick-me-up afterward, walk two steps next-door to Cento, a coffee window that serves fabled Blue Bottle Coffee, which the entire coffee-swilling Bay Area has gone nutso about. For good reason. Get it dripped to order for $2.50, and enjoy a rich, balanced, full-bodied cup of joe that doesn’t have a modicum of bitterness.
Smack your lips on all of that — in an alleyway of all places.