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Buddy’s Chicken and Waffles now open in Tacoma

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Buddy’s Chicken & Waffles is now open in Tacoma.

But the new restaurant is not where owner Buddy Brown thought he would open. 

But he’s open. At least in a temporary location, said Brown.

A grease trap is the culprit. 

Whenever I write about restaurant opening delays, the first thing I ask a restaurant owner is this: Is it the grease trap or the venting hood slowing you down? Most diners don’t know what those are and don’t care, but those elemental cooking tools – or a lack of – in a commercial kitchen can stop a restaurant project dead, especially one that features fried foods. Traps and hoods are expensive to install and can come with a lengthy permitting process.  

Brown intended to be open by this summer at the former Infinitea location at 1127 Broadway.

The grease trap put a halt on that and he changed course with another location, although temporary.

“I got the grease trap taken care of at the Broadway location, but the process took so long I had to lease space at a second location to start generating income and keep the buzz going,” explained Brown. “I’m still working on getting the restaurant open, but I’ll be here at Whimsy Kitchen for takeout or delivery orders until then. That’ll give me time to hire and train for the restaurant in the meantime.”

He’s calling the Whimsy Kitchen location Buddy’s Chicken & Waffles Express.

He added, “I’m just happy to finally be open in some capacity!” 

Whimsy Kitchen is a commercial kitchen open for pick-up at 5602 S. Washington St. 

Diners can order online for pickup or delivery for a fee through Door Dash.

Be warned: The restaurant is finishing up its first week of operation right now and will be taking a break for Thanksgiving from Nov. 18-25. Check out Buddy’s Chicken & Waffles Express on Nov. 26.

THE MENU AT BUDDY’S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES

The menu is on a slow rollout and includes Brown’s signature red velvet waffle, a buttermilk waffle, southern waffle made with cornmeal, a milk-and-cookies waffle, a blueberry waffle, a chocolate chip waffle and a waffle modeled after the flavor of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. A la carte waffles, served with syrup, are $7-$8 each. Add chicken and the price is a reasonable $12-$13. He’s also serving chicken breast tenders with seasoned fries ($8-$10) and drinks to go. 

THE WHIMSY LOCATION

Whimsy Kitchen is not the space he envisioned, but it will work for the next year, he said, while he finishes the Broadway location. He’s also looking for a food truck. “I signed a one year lease here but I may extend it if I get the food truck. The kitchen and storage space here is massive so I’d be able to prep for the truck and handle DoorDash online orders without backing up the kitchen in the restaurant when that opens,” he said. 

He added, “I love this space! The commissary kitchen is part of The Realm, a really nice wedding venue. Who knows, maybe someone will ask for chicken and waffles for their reception?” He’s ready to cater, people.

THE BROADWAY LOCATION

Brown said he’s looking forward to opening the Broadway location. “A lot of people are still interested in coming in to dine. I can’t say for certain when that’ll be open, but I’m thinking closer to spring now. I really want to spend time hiring/training and working out any issues in the operation before moving into the restaurant. This is my first time doing this and I want to make sure I do it right.” 

ORIGIN STORY

Brown has worked most of his career in the food and beverage business. He’s worked as an assistant purchasing director, a bartender and a server. He’s never cooked professionally, but he knows his way around the kitchen. He learned to cook as a kid in Baltimore, sneaking into the kitchen when his mom and grandma were cooking and absorbing their methods and recipes. 

He left Baltimore last year during the pandemic after losing his job. His brother invited him to stay with his family here in Tacoma. Brown moved her and started thinking about what would come next. In the meantime, his household contribution, he said, was to be the house chef. His brother and family members started digging into his food with gusto. Eventually, his brother started inviting crowds of people over to taste Brown’s food. That gave him an idea to open his own spot and he thought he’d offer something he loves – all-day breakfast. 

BUDDY’S CHICKEN & WAFFLES EXPRESS

Order: https://order.online/store/BuddysChickenWafflesExpress-1833208/en-US/ 

Closed: Nov. 18-25, open again on Nov. 26, 2021 after Thanksgiving

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buddyschickenandwaffles/

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/buddyschickenandwaffles/?hl=en

Opening next year: 1127 Broadway, Tacoma

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