Buddy’s Chicken & Waffles coming to downtown Tacoma
Red velvet waffles, milk-and-cookies waffles, cornmeal waffles, buttermilk waffles, chocolate chip waffles. And the list goes on for specialty waffles created by Aaron White, who has always used the nickname given to him by his family – “Buddy Brown.”
Brown has been expanding his waffles recipes for a good reason.
He’s opening Buddy’s Chicken & Waffles in downtown Tacoma this summer at 1127 Broadway, in the former home of Infinitea, a cafe I loved for its fanciful brick toast. The cafe closed last year.
Want a taste of waffles before the restaurant’s debut?
Local diners will have a chance to preview Brown’s cooking from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, May 1, 2021, at Rollie’s Tavern in Lakewood.
He’ll bring a limited menu of waffles – including the red velvet and milk-and-cookies waffles – plus chicken, three flavors of mimosas and non-alcoholic brunch drinks to the Lakewood Tavern. All food will be prepared in to-go containers for ease of ordering. Limited seating is available inside with outdoor seating available for diners 21 and older.
The pop-up brunch event will offer a glimpse of the menu Brown intends to serve this summer at his Buddy’s Chicken & Waffles. It won’t be the first restaurant he’s opened. He previously operated, for a short term, a take-out restaurant in Baltimore, where he grew up.
Brown’s background is in the food and beverage business. He’s held positions ranging from assistant purchasing director to bartender and server. He worked eight years at the Hilton in Baltimore that’s across the street from Camden Yards.
He left Baltimore last year. He was in between jobs and looking for the next challenge. His brother invited him out to stay with him here in the Tacoma area.
FOUNDATION OF BUDDY’S CHICKEN & WAFFLES
During the pandemic, Brown learned one thing: He knows how to feed a crowd.
The meal prep started as feeding his brother and his family. “It’s easier if one person does all the cooking in a family,” said Brown.
Then he noticed his brother kept inviting friends over to eat with the family. And then he invited more friends. And more friends. Each time, the conversation was the same: Your food is good. You should open a restaurant.
And now he is. He landed on an all-day brunch concept of chicken and waffles because “brunch is a favorite meal,” he said. “I want the feeling of brunch all day long. It doesn’t matter when you come in , it’ll be brunch anytime,” he said.
Cooking always has been a passion, but not a profession, since he was a kid in Baltimore slipping into the kitchen watching his mother and grandmother cook. “I got hip to the fact that if I was in the kitchen when my mom and grandmother were cooking, I could eat. They’d eventually tell me how to season things. Before you know it, you’re 10 years old and cooking for the whole family,” he said, laughing.
Chicken and waffles grew to be a bit of an obsession for him. “All my cooking is from scratch,” he said. The waffles are made with buttermilk. The chicken is also soaked in buttermilk, then hand coated in a homemade seasoning.
THE MENU AT BUDDY’S CHICKEN & WAFFLES
The menu at Buddy’s Chicken & Waffles will be micro focused on chicken and waffles in the beginning, but expect menu additions to follow. Brown has applied for a liquor permit, as well, and hopes to offer brunch cocktails and drinks such as a Baltimore bloody Mary.
The waffles will come in at least seven varieties: buttermilk, chocolate chip, blueberry, red velvet, cornmeal, milk-and-cookies and a Fruity Pebbles version.
Breaded-and-fried chicken breast will be on the menu to start, but he intends to expand to chicken wings later on. He also has his eye on catering take-out. “Wings are the star of any party you go to and there aren’t any places to go here that do 100 wings for a party like we have in Baltimore. I want to do that,” he said.
Eventually, he’ll add a fried chicken sandwich to the menu, too, and other complementary items to fried chicken and waffles.
BUDDY’S POP-UP EVENT MAY 1
Where: Rollie’s Tavern, 2404 112th St. S., Lakewood
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 1, 2021
Menu: Chicken and waffles, mimosas, non-alcoholic specialty brunch drinks
Details: All food will be prepared in to-go containers so that diners can eat however they want. Seating is limited to current restrictions (25 percent capacity). There’s also a 21-and-older only beer garden space for dining outdoors.
BUDDY’S CHICKEN & WAFFLES
Where: 1127 Broadway, Suite 101; Tacoma