Saturday, January 20, 2007

Merritt Bakery and Restaurant - Oakland

In my family, we plan our activities around meals. And we plan our meals in advance. So when my cousin asked when we planned to head back down south, I said after brunch. He rattled off a list of brunch options. Dim sum. Eh. Pho. Eh. Chicken and waffles. Yes! Merritt Bakery and Restaurant in Oakland, beside scenic Lake Merritt, is the place to go for crispy, juicy fried chicken and crispy, tender Belgian waffles. Sure, we SoCalites have our Roscoe's, but bear with me a moment. And in the interest of good food blogging, does this mean I need to make another visit to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles? I don't know if my arteries can take the hit. Here's the bakery part of the restaurant. Merritt does wedding cakes, regular cakes, doughnuts. But we were here for the waffles so I only gave this a passing glance. Besides, with all the eating I did this weekend, I couldn't afford to be tempted. All decked out for Valentine's Day. Incidentally, Merritt opened on Valentine's Day in 1952. What you can't see, and what I didn't get a good photo of, is that on those heart decorations and in floral decorations throughout the restaurant, was Happy New Year written in Chinese. Well, the Lunar New Year is on February 18. (Say Lunar not Chinese. Vietnamese and Koreans go by the lunar calendar as well. Can you tell my pet peeves?) The hodgepodge decorations were also reflective of the wait staff who were an equal mix of black and Asian American. No diner is complete without the obligatory booths and counter. They even covered the stools in red velvet. And gave us red water glasses.
But what about the food, the food, you ask. The side of biscuit with gravy was nothing remarkable. Sausages were standard. Hash browns were crunchy on the outside.
But the real treat was the chicken and waffles.
The fried chicken was cracklin' crisp, so moist that the juices literally seeped out when I tore into it. I'm a dark meat kinda gal so that part of the chicken tends to be more moist anyway but this was juicy! The thigh pieces were a little on the smaller side, but well worth the sacrifice for the taste.
The waffle was a large, thick Belgian that was crispy, crunchy and literally soaked up the gobs of syrup I poured on top. The whipped butter slathered on top just melted into the indentations. I ate three-quarters of the waffle and then ate my two chicken pieces. I finished off the last quarter and despite it having been I-don't-know-how-many-minutes later and a liberal dousing of syrup and butter, that last bit was still as crispy, crunchy as the first bite.
Waffles and choice of two chicken pieces $8.75.
I've read other reviews where diners have been unimpressed with Merritt's other offerings. But why would you order anything else when you can get chicken and waffles served all day?
They also sell chicken "paks" to go for an order up to 500 pieces for $684.50. Yikes! Other chicken and waffles restaurants: Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles - Pasadena
Merritt Bakery and Restaurant
203 E. 18th St.
Oakland, CA 94606


  1. Yummmy. I haven't had chicken and waffles in so long, I think I'm due. Roscoe's in Long Beach is the only place I know of around here. Have you tried it?

  2. Hi Elmo,
    I haven't been to the Roscoe's in LB, just the ones in LA and Pasadena. The LA Roscoe's weren't that great, not so flavorful, waffles weren't crispy. Pasadena is better, crispy waffles, but the chicken wasn't as juicy as Merritt's.

  3. Whoa. Soooo tasty looking.

    Waaaay ahead of you guys. I hit Roscoe's in Long Beach last week. Review soon, but I wanna give my Save Our Faves post a little more time to be read. =)

    Gods I love chicken and waffles. My and my freakin' "yang" foods.

  4. CP,
    These "yang" foods are making me sick. :( I think I need a dose of something "yin."

  5. Merrit's chicken and waffles are waaay better than Roscoe's!


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