Chicken and Waffles

There are essentially two kinds of restaurants: those run for the benefit of customers and those run as playgrounds for chefs. The Corner Office is unabashedly one of the former, and that “unabashedly”part is why it’s so successful. With no shame, no tongue-in-cheek, smirking irony, the bar will pour you a double whiskey while the kitchen lovingly plates up your requested bowl of Captain Crunch (with Crunchberries). Lemon edamame and fish tacos?

No problem. And not only does the kitchen offer Southern-style fried chicken and waffles, but it’s a really fucking good plate of fried chicken and waffles: three pieces of perfectly golden and crisp-skinned fried chicken done to order, crowded on top of an excellent Belgian waffle (like a sugary buttermilk cloud, crunchy at the edges, soft in the middle), the whole thing dusted with a drift of powdered sugar and served with a warm jug of syrup on the side. It may not be as good as the plates served at the best chicken-and-waffle joints in the country -- not as loved-up and traditional as Wells’s in Harlem or as freighted with history as those served at Roscoe’s or Lo-Lo’s -- but it’s the best you’re going to find in this part of the country. And at the Corner Office, there’s not much chance you’ll be eating your really fucking good plate of fried chicken and waffles next to a guy who just sold his blood at the plasma bank across the street to pay for his.

Which, just so you know, I’m talking about from experience. Not the sitting-next-to-the-guy-who-sold-his-blood part – no, I was the guy who’d just sold his blood. And though I didn’t do it specifically for a plate of chicken and waffles (it was mostly for gas money and smokes), if that were the only way I could get a plate of chicken and waffles when I had a need, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. Just bring on the needle and let’s get this thing done.

As you may have guessed, a good portion of this week’s review concerns the fried chicken and waffles at The Corner Office, and a good portion of my love for the place is tied up in its kitchen’s ability to put out a killer plate of chicken and waffles in a city that has no particular chicken and waffle tradition.

Outside of the Corner Office, I also have tales from a long afternoon spent at McCormick’s at the Oxford Hotel, news from the old Mel’s space in Cherry Creek, an update on Duy Pham and a pretty big announcement of my own. No, I’m not going to tell you what it is. You’re just going to have to come back when the November 22 issue is posted and read all about it yourself.

Meanwhile, I’ll be out looking for the closest plasma bank to the theatre district…--Jason Sheehan

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun