Red Velvet Waffles and Fried Chicken

Good Bite

BY ANDREW FABIAN SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING TUESDAY JUN 30, 2020

The chicken-and-waffle combination almost seems like a joke, as though a non-American sat around dreaming up absurd and unhealthy combinations with which to caricature Americans. But if chicken and waffles—like the donut burger, deep fried hot dogs, or Cincinatti chili—sounds like a joke, that’s just fine by Mike Whalen, owner/operator of Gulf Gate Food + Beer. “We like to have fun here,” he says. The menus at the restaurant look like a propaganda flier or a ransom letter, but within the playful assortment of offerings like That Jawn (cheesesteak), ‘Mericuhh (burger) and Dad Jokes (egg breakfast) is an undeniably food-first ethos that elevates culinary Americana into something bordering on gourmet.

The Chicken n’ Red Velvet Waffle from their brunch menu (Sat and Sun, 10am to 3 pm) is emblematic of their whole shtick—quirky, approachable and damn good. The chicken is “the real deal,” says Whalen, which means it’s made from scratch. Perfectly seasoned and breaded, it could stand alone as its own offering but comes nestled in between quartered, red velvet Belgian waffles. The waffles offer a smooth, delicate contrast to the bite of the fried chicken, but the addition of a drizzle of cream cheese glaze and a ramekin of sriracha maple syrup take it to the next level. Depending on how spicy one likes their brunch, the spicy maple syrup can almost turn this into a Nashville-style fried chicken mash-up. Overall, the dish manages to raise the aesthetic stakes of plain ol’ chicken and waffles while staying true to the simple joy of the more basic iterations.

Like any good restaurant owner, Whalen zips around the restaurant asking each diner if their food met their expectations. If they have ordered the chicken and waffles, the answer is a foregone conclusion. A second location on Fruitville Road, Sarasota Food + Beer, has the same weekend brunch menu.

Gulf Gate Food + Beer, 6528 Superior Avenue, 941-952-3361

Click here for more information.

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