Melba Wilson, founder of Melba’s Restaurant, was “born, bred, and buttered in Harlem.” Born. Bred. Buttered. Don’t you just love that phrase?! Can’t take credit for that one though–thanks Melba’s website!
Melba wanted to create a restaurant located in the community she was brought up in, one that would have amazing food as well as amazing service. When my mom and I got dinner here before heading to Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater, which is just a few blocks away, we could tell immediately that this was the place to go for some after work relaxation in the area. The bar was surrounded by people, winding down with drinks after the work day, and there were diners of all kinds at the tables. We happened to be seated between a man eating alone and reading a book and a couple going on their first date. It was pretty packed for a Wednesday night, so I would say to make a reservation if you can if you’re heading there on the weekend since the space isn’t too big.
My number 1 reason for visiting Melba’s (besides that it was close enough to our show) was that I had heard stellar things about their chicken and waffles. This was one of those places where I didn’t even need to look at the menu because I was already 100% set on my order. Good thing I did take a peek at it though, because I saw a little note next to the chicken and waffles saying that it was featured on the Food Network. Turns out, Melba’s was on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Bobby even called Melba Wilson the “Queen Bee” of chicken and waffles. As if I wasn’t sold already!
But wait. There’s more. The waffles aren’t just any kind of waffles…they’re EGGNOG waffles. Never heard of or had that before, but I was more than down. Plus the dish is also served with some maple syrup and strawberry butter. You also get to choose whether you want white or dark meat when you order the dish. Ah, this perfect, lovely dish. Fried chicken with beautiful, crunchy golden brown skin and juicy, tender meat alongside a fluffy waffle? Cloud nine for a girl from the South.
If you decide to get something other than their star dish (which I would urge you to try first before anything else just because it really is their “thing”), then you have lots of other comfort foods to choose from like the wine braised short ribs, tres macaroni and cheese, or po’boy sandwich. Since eating here, I have read some pretty great things about that mac ‘n cheese, so go try it out and let me know how it is?
In the spirit of neatly bookending this post, I’ll end with another phrase taken from Melba’s website–“dining at Melba’s is like coming home for dinner, whenever you’re away from home.” So come on over to Melba’s for some down-home Southern cooking.
Southern fried chicken and eggnog waffles
300 W 114th St
New York, NY 10026