I’ve lived in Indianapolis for more than 6 years now, and in that time, I have eaten every single day. I have been to The Cheesecake Factory probably a dozen times, Taco Bell probably twenty times, and have definitely eaten my fair share of cheap pizza. It would be reasonable to assume, then, that I’ve also been everywhere actually worth eating. Yet my list of places to try still has 6 year old entries! One of these entries is Maxine’s Chicken and Waffles.
I have no real excuse for never having tried Maxine’s prior to this, except that I have other breakfast places I love. But I also love fried chicken. So after an active Sunday morning sitting at the park watching other people play disc golf, I replenished my energy at Maxine’s.
The first thing I noticed about Maxine’s is that the atmosphere is…well, it’s in an old gas station and that’s what it looks like. There is a fountain in the middle, but the base holds booster seats rather than water. That should give you a good feel for the whole place, actually. Basic.
The menu is large and contains breakfast picks as well as chicken and fish dinner-style entrees. Think grits, greens, and lots of “smothered” things.
Wanting to try some of everything, we ordered the Chicken & Waffles with a blueberry waffle, a fried catfish filet, a fried chicken tender, and collard greens.” Phil got the D&K tea, which is an Arnold Palmer and I stared dumbfounded at the Sunshine (A mixture of lemonade, fruit punch, orange Crush and Mountain Dew.) Then I ordered a Diet Pepsi, because I just couldn’t quite bring myself to drink fruit punch and Mountain Dew together like some sort of construction-worker-meets-6 year-old-meets-insulin-factory.
You know it’s going to be fun when they bring moist towelettes out with your food.
The star of the show was supposed to have been the Chicken and Waffles. The chicken was certainly tasty and juicy and meaty and all of the things fried chicken is supposed to be. The waffle, on the other hand, was tough. There’s really no other word for it. It could not be ripped by hand but needed to be sawed off in chunks with a butter knife. The plain waffles I saw looked much fluffier and more buttery, but this one was just plain ornery. They also offered strawberry and sweet potato waffles, which both sounded intriguing, but next time I’ll be getting the plain.
When you order the Chicken and Waffles, you can either order 3 chicken strips or 3 chicken wings. Not wanting to miss out on either, I ordered a single chicken tender alongside my catfish filet, and I’m glad I did, because the chicken tender tasted totally different that the chicken wings. The chicken tender had a much crispier coating (Think KFC extra-crispy) and a very salty, peppery, and almost cajun seasoning. It was absolutely delicious and even better dipped in syrup, but I’m not sure if I’d order 3 because the flavor was so strong.
The catfish filet was also a winner in my book. As much as I love fried chicken, I have absolutely no problem grabbing a piece just about anywhere and being happy. Good fried fish, however, is something I have been craving since I left the Land of the Catholic Polaks and their Friday night fish fries. Of course this isn’t the same style fish, but the batter was crispy and the fish was moist. I would be more likely to go back for the fish than for the chicken, actually.
The menu says every meal is served with cornbread and Maxine’s signature peach butter. The sign taped to the emergency exit, however, says cornbread isn’t served until 12:30 pm on weekends. We purposefully dragged our meal out to try the cornbread and it was perfectly fine and the peach butter made it a nice dessert. This peach butter is available for purchase on it’s own and is lauded on the tshirts of the servers, but I was just a tad underwhelmed. It was certainly good, but butter just is. The peaches didn’t add too much for me personally.
An hour later, we wiped the grease off our fingers, took stock of just how much syrup we’d consumed, and waddled out into the sunshine. While none of the food knocked my socks off, I can certainly understand why Maxine’s is a destination. Where else can you satisfy your need for waffles and for fried chicken? In this case, exactly what it sounds like is plenty good enough.