Big C Waffles: Unassuming and Underrated
Tucked away off I-40’s intersection with NC-55, there’s nothing about Big C’s that demands your undivided attention. It’s easily missed among the enormous Cook-Out next door and various other fast-food staples, and you might drive right past it on the way to dine at local sandwich favorite Kokyu Na’Mean without a second glance. But if you even remotely enjoy fried chicken, you really owe it to yourself to put the car in reverse and back it into Big C’s tiny little parking lot for a chance to grab some of the area’s best.
My group chose three of their specialty waffles including the bacon egg and cheese, the red velvet, and the thin mint ($8/ea, tax included). Two of them were ordered as combos, which include 4 wings, for $12. The waffles were all moist and flavorful, and while they’re not crispy on the outside like I prefer, I appreciated them as a textural counterpoint to the fried chicken. The red velvet was reminiscent of cake batter but without the chocolate notes typically associated with red velvet cake. The thin mint was heavier on the chocolate and finished with a characteristic “tingle” of peppermint, and even though I don’t love thin mint cookies I thought this waffle was the most representative of its name. The bacon egg and cheese was tangy from the cheese and studded with bacon – definitely my favorite of the three waffles.
The real stars of the Big C’s show are the chicken wings. The perfection of Big C’s breading and seasoning cannot be overstated. The wings were a consistently beautiful golden brown, shatteringly crisp on the outside while preserving the succulence of the dark meat underneath. The skin was salty without overdoing it, and studded with visible morsels of black pepper that pique your taste buds without registering as spicy. The wings aren’t too big to mess up the proportion of skin to meat, or too small to be dried out in the fryer. They are truly a Goldilocks-style perfect balance. These were the type of wings that have you embarrassing yourself gnawing for every bit of breading – not a speck was left before we stood up from the picnic table outside. We enjoyed topping them with syrup, to really sell the chicken and waffles pairing and complement their saltiness. We enjoyed them with hot sauce, to emulate Buffalo wings. I enjoyed washing them down with a styrofoam cup of Granny B’s Koolaid ($2), which is way too sweet but somehow works. But no condiments or accoutrements are necessary for Big C’s chicken, and next time I may forgo a waffle entirely just to save some money and save some room for more of it.
Skip Big C’s if you’re looking for white tablecloths, silverware, or protection from the elements. There’s no indoor seating, or much seating at all, and not a vegetable to be found on the very short menu aside from French fries. Big C’s does a couple of things very well, so well that they decided to save everyone some trouble by putting it in the name of the restaurant: CHICKEN. AND. WAFFLES.
Big C Waffles
2110 Allendown Dr
Durham, NC 27713
Nathan Griesedieck is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and Raleigh native who works in the transfusion service at Duke University Medical Center in Durham – a true-blue Triangle foodie in every sense of the word(s). He spends most of his downtime either learning and thinking about food, or in his (tiny) kitchen making it for his girlfriend and best friend, Sarah. You can find him on Instagram (@n8greasy).