When I woke up today, one thing was on my mind--brunch. I knew I wanted something hearty that satisfied both my lunch and breakfast desires, and I settled on Chic Cafe, a cozy, newer black-owned venue located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, located on 770 N Jefferson St. A follower of mine tipped me off to this Southern-style restaurant through my interactive page, (see above) something I greatly appreciated. I decided to take the bus downtown to save a little time, and I was at Chic in less than 10 minutes, ready to dive into my next restaurant.
My first steps inside the cafe were a bit confusing, as you have to go down a set of stairs and walk a little toward the back to be served. I surveyed the venue and soon realized that Chic is an underground cafe with its own lounge for weekend music concerts and events. Upon my arrival, I was greeted warmly by Rita Willis, who turns out, is the co-owner of Chic Cafe. Owners are sometimes distant from their establishments so it was refreshing to see an owner doing some of the grunt work, taking orders from customers and interacting with them. All of their prices were extremely affordable and easy on the pockets, something important for students and people looking to obtain good deals when eating out. After five minutes or so I surveyed the menu and finally decided between shrimp and grits or chicken and waffles.
Since I had eaten gumbo at the Cheesecake Factory yesterday, (Not local, I know) I decided to stray from seafood and opted for chicken and waffles. I had the choice of dark or white meat and wings and.or breasts and decided to turn my savage up and get not only a wing, but a breast as well (white meat). I was told that the wait would be at least 25 minutes because they cook their chicken breasts fresh, but why would anyone complain about getting food that is piping hot? All of their food is made from scratch, from their waffle mix to their cheesy grits, my side, and this feature alone puts it above a lot of other restaurants because pre-made food is common and faster to make for customers, who can become impatient.
My first bite into my chicken was filled with seasonings including garlic powder, but the most prominent taste was the lemon pepper that sat atop the chicken's crust. The chicken's seasoning collaborated with the waffle's cake-like taste and crispy texture on the outside of the waffle. Having eaten Coffee Makes You Black's chicken and waffles, I must admit that Chic gets my nod of approval for the job they did on their seasoning and offering larger options of chicken with the waffles. The cheesy grits I ate were also delicious, and this was something to celebrate because I am not crazy about adding a lot to my grits (Basic, simple, call it what you want).
I usually do not inform restaurants that I am food blogger because I do not want the service of a restaurant or food to change just because they know I am reviewing it, but today, I decided to let Chic know about my food blog after eating to use as a talking point and create more awareness about my blog. As a nice gesture, I was given samples of their spaghetti, yams and chicken jambalaya, and these options all were satisfying. My grits were also on the house, and this was nice because they went out of their way to make a good first impression. The one qualm that I have about Chic Cafe might be the set up of the cafe (out in the open, away from waiters), but the owner told me they plan to move Saturday/Sunday brunch from their main open seating area to their lounge that sits next to the dining area.
Overall, Chic Cafe is a place that I wish I would have known about three years ago during my time at Marquette because of its extremely close proximity to campus, inexpensive dining options, wide assortment of southern-style eats, and over-the-top service that sits above a lot of other venues that I have visited. This underground venue in downtown Milwaukee might only be three years old, but it is seasoned in more ways than one might imagine.