Appease Your Munchies Any Time of DayCover Story
June 9, 2019
Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
For the uninitiated, the concept of a dish called Chicken and Waffles might seem a little outrageous and new.
Historians believe the dish Chicken and Waffles was introduced in America in the early 1800s. It was a breakfast extravagance in the antebellum plantations of the South, and served in jazz clubs in Harlem in the 1930s. In the mid-1970s, Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles opened its doors in Los Angeles. By the time Oahu locals Juli and Jason Sung lived and attended college in Southern California, the plate had become a full-blown phenomenon there.
“When we moved back to Hawaii, we realized there were no chicken and waffles in Hawaii,” says Juli. “We couldn’t find it!”
So the Sungs decided to fill the empty space themselves with Pancakes & Waffles, B . L . D. , an awesome local-style diner with locations in Kalihi and Waimalu. Not surprisingly, the Honey Butter Chicken and Waffle ($11.45 two pieces, $12.95 three pieces) is an undisputed star of the show. Thanks to Jason’s super-secret crispy fried chicken recipe, the perfectly golden-brown waffle, and a generous dollop of homemade honey butter sauce, the sweet and savory appeal of this delectable dish is simply off the charts.
Apple Caramel Pancakes, another delectable entree on the regular menu here, are available for $8.95 for a short stack of three, or $10.25 for a full stack of five. “We top our buttermilk pancakes with apples, graham crackers, whipped cream, and caramel sauce,” says Juli. “It’s one of our most popular dishes.”
Pancakes & Waffles has a Specials menu that includes some truly inventive takes on local favorites. The Kalbi Bacon Steak ($12.95), available with rice and your choice of mac, potato or spring mix salad, is marinated in kalbi sauce to create a spectacularly tempting treat. “It’s a super-thick piece of pork belly! It looks like a piece of steak, so we call it a Bacon Steak,” says Juli.
The Kalbi Loco Moco ($11.95) is another dish that fuses flavors to great effect. “We serve it with kalbi, boneless braised short rib, in place of the hamburger patty,” Juli explains. “It comes with egg and gravy, and you can get it with fried rice for $1.50 more.”
The restaurant’s take on the Argentinian dish Chimichurri Steak & Shrimp features a New York beefsteak with a truly divine cilantro pesto. “People who try this one just love it, and they even come back for it!” reports Juli. “It’s a favorite. Nobody has ever been disappointed.” The dish is accompanied by rice and choice of salad ($16.95, or $13.45 for steak only).
Generally featuring a dozen entrees and a few scrumptious desserts, items on Pancakes & Waffles’ Specials menu are available only in limited quantities. Hugely popular, the Kalbi Loco Moco is one that sometimes runs out early on weekends, according to Sung. “We sell out of specials, and stay sold out till we make more!”
Last month Pancakes & Waffles B.L.D. and other merchants and restaurants proudly participated in City Square Shopping Center’s May the 4th Be With You fundraiser. Pancakes & Waffles offered Star Wars-themed BB-8 Pancakes and Jedi Milk for the month and contributed $1 from each sale to Special Olympics Hawaii, helping raise awareness and donations for the program.
Much to look forward to
After a long renovation, Pancakes & Waffles’ original location in City Square Shopping Center reopened in November 2018 with a bigger kitchen and larger dining area. That’s not the only upgrade, though. The restaurant now offers bentos for group events (there’s a minimum order of 10 at $6 apiece) and serves Hawaiian Isles coffee, fresh-ground daily, at its Kalihi and Waimalu locations. And for orders from anywhere on the island, Pancakes & Waffles offers delivery through BiteSquad.