This past weekend a group of us went to check out The Hen House a "wings'n waffles" house located on Mass Ave . I had never heard of this combination of food before (apparently, it's popular in parts of L.A., Harlem, and now Chicago) but I must admit, it sounded intriguing and delicious! The Hen House is not in the best location. It's on Mass Ave, right next to the UHaul place and on the way to South Bay Plaza. It's easiest to get to by car (or by bus). The establishment looks and is (I think) relatively new. Walking in we were pleasantly surprised to see a bright, cheery open space with good lighting, great smells, and very friendly staff. There are large tables set up that you can share with friends or strangers. It seems that most people order take-out from the restaurant..there was a steady stream of customers but few sat down. We settled into our table and took a look at the chalk board menu. There were a number of options to choose from including ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and other southern dishes but let's be honest, we were all there for the chicken and waffles so that's what we stuck with. When you go up to order you have a few options (all for under 8 bucks):
Step 1: Choose your waffle: There's buttermilk, multi grain and cornbread
Step 2: Choose the butter: There's homemade whipped, 5 herb and Cajun
Step 3: Choose the syrup: There's straight maple, clove honey, or maple BBQ
Step 4: Choose the chicken: There's fresh tenders, wings, whole pieces (breast, thigh, drum)
Step 5: Choose the sauce: Everything from Buffalo to apricot chipotle to BBQ to General Tso
There are also many side dishes to choose from. We ordered the mac & cheese, sweet potato fries, collard greens and fried cabbage. We all ordered an assortment of different waffle types, syrups and chicken types. The best waffle (in my opinion) by far was the cornbread waffle. It didn't have the texture of cornbread but it still had the taste of it and just the right amount of sweetness. It was excellent. Whether you choose the tenders or whole pieces, I think the amount of meat is about the same but with the whole pieces it looks like you are getting more since there are bones. I must admit, the whole pieces looked better so I would go with them next time even though the tenders were good. As for the sauces, they all were good. They actually have them out in pump containers so you can try a bunch of different ones if you don't like the first. Overall, we were all extremely happy with the chicken and waffles. The sides however, were just okay. Nothing horrible (well, except maybe the fried cabbage....it had a spice in it no one liked) but nothing stood out and with the big waffle and chicken we really didn't need the extra food. The Hen House has beer on tap as well as specialty sodas which are a bit more than a regular coke but it was fun to try a new "craft" brand of pop. For some reason, the chef sent a complimentary plate of ribs over to us and even though we were stuffed, we managed to finish most of them off. They were quite delicious and had a lot of meat on each bone and were slathered with a delicious sauce. I think next time we go, we'll do waffles/chicken and a side of ribs. Overall, we really had a fun time at the Hen House. The staff were very friendly and even remembered some of our names! The atmosphere is clean and has a warmness to it and you can tell the management cares a good deal that this business succeeds.