TACOMA, Wash. — "It's hard to explain," Buddy Brown says in a busy kitchen where chicken is frying and waffles are browning. "But this is literally my dream come true. It's weird to see it happen like this."
With Buddy's Chicken & Waffles, Buddy Brown has created a sensation on South Tacoma Way. Customers are calling in orders an hour before opening, and then waiting outside for a meal that promises to be sweet and savory.
On the hood of a car, Jamal Thompson and Edgar Perez started digging into their meals right away.
"Oh man!" Thompson said.
"Oh yeah!" added Perez.
"The best part about chicken and waffles is it's a good meal for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night," Brown said. "You can eat it any time of the day."
Brown and his team work inside an industrial kitchen inside Edison Square. Cassie Scott cooks up seven different kinds of waffles. Marques Johnson deep-fries chicken that spent the night in a secret buttermilk marinade. Davionna Jones is bagging up the meals but has the skills to take over at the fryer or waffle station.
"I have literally the best team anybody could ask for," said Brown, who grew up in that Northernmost of Southern cities, Baltimore. He has loving memories of time spent in kitchens with his mom and grandma.
"I knew that if I was in the kitchen then I would be one of the first people to eat," Brown said.
A few years ago he gave up eating pork and red meat.
"So I was kind of left with chicken," Brown said. "And then I wanted to make sure I had some variations."
That's why they offer more than buttermilk waffles.
Scott can add strawberries to the mix, blueberries if you'd prefer, chocolate chips, even Cinnamon Toast Crunch to the waffles she makes.
"So we mix it up a little bit," Brown said.
"I give this a high-10," Thompson said. "I recommend it."
The reviews have all been raves. And not just because of the food.
"My favorite reviews are the ones where people say everybody that works there has a really nice smile and seems to enjoy what they're doing," Brown said. "That's what feels best to me, I guess."
Chicken, waffles, and a nice smile. Now that's some kind of meal!
"Yeah, I'm about to order me another serving," Thompson laughed.
Buddy's Chicken & Waffles is located in the alleyway of Edison Square at 5415 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA 98409. They're open every day but Monday and Tuesday, from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.