Texas USA

Chicken & Waffles in Austin, TX… Without a Side of Cockroach

Two thumbs up for making it to Lucky J's!

Two thumbs up for making it to Lucky J’s!

“We HAVE to get chicken & waffles.” It wasn’t a question, it wasn’t a statement, it wasn’t even a thought… it was a definitive command.

My boyfriend (as he prefers a low-key online profile, for the sake of this blog, we shall call him Mystery Man (MM?) until he decides to reveal his secret identity) has raved about this chicken & waffles place since our first date. It’s crept up in conversations. Other chicken & waffle meals never compared. That bag of Lay;s Chicken & Waffles flavored potato chips only served as an unsatisfying reminder of this life-changing chicken & waffles restaurant in Texas. 

And now that we were finally there, in Austin, Texas, together, it was time to go to Lucky J’s. I’ve never had chicken & waffles before, and have declined the opportunity to try it for over a year just so my “first time” could be held at that highest standard.

It’s been featured on the Cooking Channel, CNN… I’ve waited all year for this place. Even though the sweltering Texas summer day suppressed my appetite, there would still be room for this dish.

LuckyJs-chickenwaffles-decor

We finally approached the building, coated in abstract graffiti of happy chickens & busty chicks. It made me chuckle. We walked down the crimson & gold-decorated hallway until we reached the window and ordered. It was warm. The ceilings fans lazily spun. My skin uncomfortably stuck to the vinyl chair. And we waited. And waited. Good things (like chicken & waffles) come to those who wait. We were the only souls in the restaurant. We waited, until someone exclaimed: “What. Is. THAT?!”

My eyes fixated on the disturbance. In less than a second I knew the answer. I’ve seen them in Detroit, scurrying down the sewers, invading the residence hall where I’d once lived…

But everything’s bigger in Texas.

And that cockroach looked menacing. It peeked from behind the framed photo. Scuttled up the wall on the ceiling. Flirted with the ordering window. Until it creeped along some ceiling wires over our heads and disappeared. Oh my.

Something not on the menu... cockroaches.

Something not on the menu… cockroaches.
(for those with a weak stomach, ignore that dark spot in the right picture)

As a Michigander, the biggest bugs I’ve ever encountered in a restaurant were annoying fruit flies. This was new. We were reassured by our local Texans that cockroaches are a common visitor… no big deal. With a few uncomfortable flinches, we brushed it off, imagined the insect as an ant, and carried on with our waiting game… still anxiously stealing glances toward the corners of the room.

I’ve waited too dang long to let a stupid bug spoil all that I dreamed of in chicken & waffles. NO. I would demolish the contents on my plate even if a tarantula hand-delivered my order.

Then it arrived (not by a tarantula). And all else was forgotten. So what makes Lucky J’s so special? It’s not just chicken & waffles… it’s a chicken & waffle TACO. Genius. A buttery, fluffy waffle “shell” holding a crispy, juicy chicken tender. Smother with hot sauce and syrup and you’ve got yourself a utensil-free (albeit messy) meal. It’s like breakfast and lunch eloped in Vegas and made little chicken & waffle tacos for all the world to enjoy. Well, at least for Austin, TX to enjoy.

Presenting: The Chicken & Waffle Taco from Lucky J's

Presenting: The Chicken & Waffle Taco from Lucky J’s

My first question after devouring this sweet/savory taco was: who the heck woke up one morning and thought the combination of fried chicken, a waffle, syrup, and hot sauce would make a dynamically delicious treat? My second question was: how can I get a Lucky J’s food truck in Detroit?  Gosh, I’m hungry now.  I should’ve ordered two.

Exiting Lucky J’s, you’ll never guess what I encountered. If you guessed a creepy crawly, you are incorrect. What I encountered was the overwhelming desire to turn around and get another chicken & waffle taco to go. Yes, it was that good and no six-legged fiend changed my mind.

With the graffiti on this building, you couldn't miss it! They also have a food truck...

With the graffiti on this building, you couldn’t miss it! They also have a food truck…

A masterpiece.

A masterpiece.

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  • I’m sorry, but I would not be able to eat after that! For some reason, those buggers freak me out like nothing else. Glad you enjoyed your chicken waffle taco!

    • Haha – I know… I gave MM that wide-eyed “should-we-leave?” look. If I hadn’t encountered cockroaches before, I probably would have bailed. Despite it all, that chicken & waffle taco was really good. Worth it. Although maybe next time I’d order it from their food truck – probably no cockroaches harboring there.

  • I’m with Katherine! I would have bailed once I saw the cockroach. Would totally have lost my appetite. Good to hear that the food was good enough to overcome the insect. However, I might let the owners know that they have an infestation that needs addressing! LOL My husband and I do our share of eating out and I have to say…we’ve NEVER witnessed a cockroach while dining in Austin.

    • Perhaps I am a cockroach magnet as I seem to run into them more frequently than the average person. I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope that it was a random visitor passing through from an open window vs. his staked out residence. Perhaps ordering from their food truck instead of their storefront would’ve been a more sanitary decision!

  • I’m looking to relocate to Austin, TX from Detroit so thank you for this great post. Even though I have never encountered a roach anywhere in Detroit outside of walking the streets of Greektown, I must “woman up” because they are the squirrels of the south (lol). I probably would have fled the scene too, but you got me to face a harsh reality about the new place I will be calling home. :-/

    • Haha you make me laugh! Relocating from Detroit to Austin sounds like a great adventure. I loved my stay in Austin and would probably consider moving there should any career opportunities open up. I loved the food, the eclectic shops and the energy of the city. Walking though Austin reminded me of a large-scale (& successful & established) midtown Detroit and gave me hope that maybe one day when Detroit bounces back it will be an artistic city like Austin. Luckily the only “large” insect I encountered during my stay was this one cockroach… can’t speak much more for any spiders, ants, etc.! LOL. Good luck with your move!

    • Yes! Austin is THE BEST place to live! It would be difficult for me to live anywhere else after experiencing life in Austin! Austin has a lot to offer! Let me know if you have any questions about the city during your transition. Happy to help. :-)

  • I’ve always wanted to try chicken and waffles!! Know any place in Detroit that is just as good?!

    • Hudson Cafe has chicken and waffles that Eric had once. He said it was really good. They serve it the traditional way with the bones though. Never seen it boneless like a taco in the D.

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