Decadent but delicious 

Ceci's chicken and waffles, sugar and fat.

click to enlarge WAFFLES AND WINGS: Hedonism in the form of fried chicken, dough and sugar.
  • WAFFLES AND WINGS: Hedonism in the form of fried chicken, dough and sugar.

Ceci's Chicken N Waffles — recently relocated from North Little Rock to a strip mall in Conway — has realized the core of its signature dish: decadence. Think about what it means to eat chicken and waffles. Have ever you felt that fried chicken lacked something? Have you yearned, biting through a salty crust, for sweet dough? Why not syrup on top, too? How about adding hot sauce?

Maybe not. Chicken and waffles is a salty and sweet solution to a problem we never had. Yet, it's incredible. Ceci's offers a lusty, high-calorie hedonistic thrill by pairing the two.

Instead of just any old waffle, Ceci's offers up flavored waffles: red velvet, strawberry shortcake, chocolate, Belgian, "cinnabon," caramel or "Napoleon" (Ceci's spin on Neapolitan ice cream, a mixture of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry). The waffles are gigantic and colorful; the fried chicken is stacked on top and covered in syrup. At your table: more syrup and hot sauce.

The wings are served bone-in, which can be controversial. Some claim the fried chicken should always be boneless. Bone-in does have its disadvantages, we will say. It can be hard to free the chicken to get a bite that is actually chicken and waffle. But, with Ceci's, it is well worth it, because — as our grandmother who often scowls at those who order white meat says — the flavor is beside the bone.

The fried chicken was good enough to stand alone. A simple fried chicken sandwich ($8.99) was solid and worth ordering. Also, the sides were good, but not standout. The "Soul Food sides" include mac and cheese, cabbage and greens. If you order a chicken and waffle dinner ($11.99-$13.99), it comes with two sides. Or, you can get the sides with other dinners like fried gizzards ($10.95), fried pork chops ($10.99), and, of course, fried chicken ($9.99). There recently was a nice special called the "Poor Diva," a $7 combo with fried chicken or a small pork chop and a side of fries.

click to enlarge THE MENU: You order from the blackboard and take a seat; your sinful lunch will be delivered to your table.
  • THE MENU: You order from the blackboard and take a seat; your sinful lunch will be delivered to your table.

Ceci's has a few booths and a few tables, all properly nondescript. The menu is on a blackboard at the counter; that's where you order. The food is then delivered to your table. Our waiter, who checked on us about five times during a 30-minute meal, was a little too attentive. Some people love always having a waiter near, but when you're cramming food in that is messy it can be a bit awkward to say, "Yes, thank you, it's good," more than three times with your mouthful. Still, she was nice and chatted for a bit. She told us that a drive-through might be added so that people could do pick-up orders. She said that on the weekends there can be long lines for takeout. It's funny to think of Ceci's as a drive-through, because, though the surroundings are normal, the food is a luxury. It should probably not be enjoyed at speed: We felt weighed down by our meal. We were happy, but neither of us planned to eat dinner. It was a ton of food.

Ceci's serves lunch only, which is our only complaint. Somehow, after consuming fried chicken and syrup and hefty waffles, you are supposed to head back to work. We drank three cups of coffee and did not fall asleep that afternoon, but it was close. It's hard to fit such a rich, dense meal into midday. Yet, I'm sure we'll find a way to go back. There is something about Ceci's that is so obviously a treat in its combination of everything we want when we indulge — the sugar, the fried, the meat, the more sugar, the hot sauce — that it's sure to be a place we make room for again.

Ceci's Chicken N Waffles
1600 Dave Ward Drive

Quick bite
The Half & Half ($10.50 or $13.99 for the dinner, which comes with two sides) allows you to choose two flavors for your waffle. One half, for example, soaked in red velvet and the other dripping with caramel. It's the most expensive of the chicken-and-waffle options. But if, like us, it would be too much to eat the meal alone for a normal lunch, this is a nice way to cheaply eat for two.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Other info
No alcohol.

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