National Chicken and Waffles Day
annually on October 20th (since 2021)
Food & Drink
The lip-smacking and finger-sticking-inducing culinary combo of savoriness and sweetness that is chicken and waffles is celebrated today with National Chicken and Waffles Day. The day was proclaimed by Roscoe's House of Chicken 'N Waffles in 2021, at the same time they launched Roscoe's Motivation for Change Foundation (RMCF), which helps communities through charitable giving and focuses on "public service, culture initiatives, community empowerment, job skill development and programming in culinary arts and media training."
At the time of the day and the foundation's creation, Roscoe's founder Herb Hudson said, "Spreading joy through charitable activities is an integral part of our foundation and the core of our initiatives. We want to take ownership of the day by inviting everyone to celebrate with us and use this as a date to follow your purpose for good and join us." For the holiday's first observance, Roscoe's introduced the waffle tender, which was available for a limited time at select locations, and also introduced a new hot sauce, which was available at all locations.
Chicken and waffles generally consist of a waffle that is served with fried chicken and covered with butter and syrup. Variations of the dish may date as far back as the seventeenth century. The traditional Pennsylvania Dutch version comes from this era, and consists of stewed and pulled chicken atop a waffle, covered in gravy. It became a symbol of Pennsylvania Dutch Country over the next two centuries. The African American-created, Southern soul food version, made with fried chicken, is the most common version today. It became a menu favorite at the Wells Supper Club in Harlem in the 1930s, and at other locations in the New York neighborhood, and Wells is credited with boosting its rise in popularity.
In the 1970s, Herb Hudson moved from Harlem to Los Angeles and opened Roscoe's Chicken 'N Waffles, which made the crispy combo even more popular, in part because celebrities were known to frequent the restaurant. Roscoe's isn't the only restaurant known for chicken and waffles; Metro Diner also has some skin and syrup in the game. Regardless of where one eats chicken and waffles, it remains a staple of both Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine and soul food, and is specifically eaten today, because it's National Chicken and Waffles Day!
How to Observe National Chicken and Waffles Day
Celebrate by having chicken and waffles at Roscoe's House of Chicken 'N Waffles, Metro Diner, or one of the other best places in the United States to have it. Check for specials and events in honor of the day. You could also make some chicken and waffles at home. Make the Southern version with fried chicken, or try the Pennsylvania Dutch version with gravy and cooked chicken.