Mabel's Chicken & Waffles (Downtown): A Pictorial Essay


#1

Last spring, one of my buddies finally made the move to Downtown. I asked him last week if he’s found any favorite eats near his loft so far. His face suddenly lit up, and he said, “Yes! This chicken & waffles place on Olympic is super!”

But then, just as quickly, his tone became dejected. What gives?

He followed with, “Well, I seem to be the only steady customer there. Not sure if it’ll survive.”

My curiosity piqued. “What’s the place called?” I asked.

“Mabel’s. They used to be open for dinner, but recently they’ve reduced their business to lunch hours only. Not a good sign, huh?”

So, guess where I went for lunch today?

Mabel’s Chicken & Waffles is on a stretch of Olympic Boulevard (east of Grand Avenue), dominated by scaffolding and signs of impending yet unrealized urban renewal. Lots of hard hats walking around, but aside from the construction crews, not much other foot traffic in general. At peak lunch hour, just after noontime, I was the only customer to walk in. Parking wasn’t that easy to find, either.

Ordering is casual and very easy at Mabel’s: You eat chicken & waffles here. Service is friendly. The tougher decisions come when you are trying to decide from a myriad syrups and dressings on offer on their menu. True to my usual form, I bypassed the conundrum by ordering every syrup, as well as their most popular dressing, which was the Sweet Asian Chili flavor. The only drinks available are bottled water, canned Sprite, and canned Coca-Cola. Dessert? Sorry, said the counter guy, no cheesecake today. No big deal. I paid at the counter, and was told there might be a 20-minute wait. Twenty minutes?! But there’s no one else here!

But hey, quality takes time, I said to myself.

So I took a seat, and waited.

And waited.

Finally (to their credit), 19 minutes later, my food came out! The counter server apologized for the long wait, and even gave me a complimentary serving of powdered sugar to put on my waffles.

The syrups were all neatly placed in their own plastic containers, easy for dipping. The fried chicken (I ordered leg & thigh) was in a separate container, piping hot and smelling fantastic. The large waffle on which the chicken rested looked tempting as well. A generous side of the house potato salad came with my combo. Everything was definitely fresh.

Hungrily, I dug in.

It was so worth the wait. I mean it. Truly worth the wait.

The chicken was fried to perfection. The oil used was light, and the skin had that wonderful property where you can taste the marinade which had soaked in. The fried skin gently came off the flesh, which was juicy. It was utterly satisfying. Dare I even say that I liked Mabel’s fried chicken just a tad better than the (already terrific) fried chicken at Osso DTLA?

At this point, I hadn’t even tried any of the syrups or dressing yet! Ok, then let’s combine the waffle and condiments…

Wow! Another level reached. This was some really great food. The waffle was crispy brown outside, and just taut enough when you dig into it with a fork, revealing a fluffy, moist interior. There was great texture contrast with the juicy chicken and the waffle itself. My favorite syrup turned out to be the Jalapeno Vanilla Bean. And the fresh potato salad brought it all together.

Know that I was not a big chicken & waffles fan before this. But now, I guess I wasn’t eating at the right places in the past. Please go to Mabel’s and keep them in business. They’re open 11AM-3PM these days. Maybe en route to my next visit, I’ll call in my order to lessen the wait.

(Note: I have zero vested interest in this place. Zilch. But emotionally, I’ll be a sad puppy if a place serving food this good folds.)

Mabel’s Chicken & Waffles
314 W. Olympic Bl.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
213.536.5557
www.MabelsLA.com


#2

Shit man. I guess I have to hit this fucking joint up. Too bad it’s only lunch. And I won’t be able to make it down there on a fucking weekday.


#3

While my chicken was good, my waffle was leaden.


#4

Reasons it ain’t fucking busy:

Perhaps its unequivocally concealed by the imminently insiduous construction perpetually transpiring around the fucking perimeter ???

Leaden waffles ???

The fried chicken and fucking wafffles duo, or combo, or bipartite, or form of bicameralism is so been there and done that for the trendsetter (and the new faddish take on what Roscoe’s has down for a close to a few decades is beyond old hat on the current fucking scene) ???

The prices are too egregious for the neighborhood ???

It’s neither here nor there, i.e. not fucking trendy/hipster enough for the quickly gentrifying hood or not part of the long-standing fabric of the neighborhood ???

just my beyond worthless 2.5 cents.


#5

Okay, I know it’s a chicken and waffles place, but that the potato salad looks divine…


#6

Although wings only, I prefer the chicken and waffles at Comfort LA.


#7

where’s fucking comfort LA ??? never heard of the fucking joint, sounds somewhat like a motel ???


#8

Thanks JL.

I guess you got them on a good day?

I agree with JAB (sorta): My Fried Chicken I got was decent (not great), and my waffles were, like JAB’s, leaden / bad. :frowning:

I was really bummed out.

Mabel’s Fried Chicken that I got was definitely not as good as Flossie’s, Jim Dandy or Howlin’ Rays.

I might’ve gone on an off day?


#9

Dunno. It was my first time there, and my chicken AND waffles were top notch. Maybe they changed chefs? Recipes? I don’t know - Like I said it was my first time there.


#10

Oh I’ll definitely give them another try based on your positive experience JL. :slight_smile: Thanks.


#11

what’s the low-down on Mabel’s vs. Comfort vs. Howlin Ray’s?

I like Osso’s lunch fried chix sando well enough, but the wait for the whole bird is just too painful for me.


#12

Osso’s fried chicken is like a Tesla.

Comfort LA’s chicken wings is like a '68½ Shelby GT500KR.

Mabel’s is like a Honda Accord. Utilitarian


#13

Osso: Mercedes C63 AMG
Mabel’s: BMW E46 M3 CSL (But from the looks of the other FTCers here, maybe Sergio was guest chef on the day I went)
Comfort LA: Unknown quantity (since I 've yet to try it)


#14

Good line up I need to try them all.


#15

The W204 or 205 C63? The 204 was a classic. The 205 remains to be seen.

And the E46 M3 CSL never made it to our shores.


#16

W204 was a beast, but maintenance was an issue. I tried the E64 M3 CSL in Europe - she was so nimble.


#17

Please stopping flaunting your profusive wealth amongst the fucking proletariat.

And for fucks sake this a grubbing website not a car enthusiasts site.

But wait just a fucking second: would the fried chicken taste that much better in one of these fucking roaring beasts ???


#18

Honestly, if we’re talking about chicken and waffles, it almost doesn’t matter.

I could make Eggos and HungryMan Frozen Fried Chicken taste good if you gave me enough Tobasco (or Sriracha) and enough Aunt Jemima’s liquid gunk to bind everything.


#19

Osso’s fried chicken does NOT taste like long delayed vaporware.

Anyway, if anyone knows anyone, I’m looking for a ‘13 W212 estate, with warranty. In foodie terms, this would be the Poppy & Rose’'s fried chicken sando:

Sexy, understated, shit ton of cluck, drops MILF panties in the Flower District?


#20

[quote=“ipsedixit, post:15, topic:480, full:true”]
The W204 or 205 C63? The 204 was a classic. The 205 remains to be seen. [/quote]

Off-topic: AMG is finally learning how to create cars that dance, not just go fast in a straight line. I predict the W205 AMG will be brilliant, but reliability of the regular W205 has already been an issue. MB World is full of thread of misaligned trim panels, inexplicable wind noise at speed, and MB tex diffusely oozing some sort of weird white substance (presumably non-toxic). One poster even got a buyback from MB USA. Does not bode well for the AMG version… (well, aside from the fact that there isn’t much MB tex to ooze).

On-topic: uh… um… I want to try the potato salad from Mabel’s.