As a fan of Southern-style comfort food (deep fried, indulgent, artery-clogging), I was very excited to hear about the opening of Lucky J’s in Montauk. A popular food truck and restaurant in Texas, the Lucky J’s menu offers several variations on one comfort food staple: chicken and waffles. You’d be forgiven if you haven’t thought of chicken and waffles as two foods that go together—it’s a Southern dish, to be sure—but one forkful of deep fried chicken on top of a waffle and drizzled (or smothered, depending on how you like it) with maple syrup and you’ll be hooked. I took my father, a foodie with an affinity for unconventional dishes, to the new eatery and we were pleased with the experience.
Lucky J’s is a tiny restaurant in Montauk, not far from Gosman’s Dock, and we passed the building twice before finding it. Once we walked inside, though, my concerns that Lucky J’s was a glorified fast food joint were assuaged. The friendly waitress greeted us and told us to sit wherever we’d like, whether at the counter or at a table. We chose a table so we could have a little more room. To start, we both tried the Jamaican Jerk Slaw and Fried Pickle Chips. With various greens and radish, the Jerk Slaw sauce was sweet and tangy, with a little kick. I found it to be very refreshing in the summer heat. I’m not much of a pickle fan, but the batter was nice and tasty and the pickle was crunchy. Next, we shared the the Squawk and Cheese, a boneless chicken tender over macaroni and cheese (don’t reach for the Tums yet, we’ve got a ways to go!). The macaroni and cheese was creamy and soft, and the chicken strip was nicely battered and soft. The flavors work well together. We were both impressed by the “Ms. M,” breakfast “Waffle Taco” with chicken, bacon and Swiss cheese. Lucky J’s is famous for their Waffle Taco; the soft, fluffy waffle acts as the “taco shell.” The savory bacon and Swiss cheese, along with the soft boneless chicken strip was overwhelming to look at, but surprisingly light. It was at this moment that my father noted that nothing we’d tried yet was greasy at all; everything was cooked just right and looked and tasted fresh.
Finally, we tried the “2 x 2,” two pieces of fried chicken (boned) on top of waffles. The owner, Jason, suggested we pour some syrup over the dish, which we happily did. The fried chicken was crispy, tasty white meat, and the waffle was just right: a little crispy, but moist and soft inside. We drizzled some syrup over the dish, and the combination of the sweet syrup and the fried chicken nearly sent me over the edge. You haven’t lived until you’ve had fried chicken and maple syrup. Seriously. By the time my father and I were finished, we were more than satisfied. But we weren’t feeling overly stuffed or “food guilty,” as I often am when I’ve indulged in something delicious a little too much. I asked Jason about the batter on the fried chicken, and he mysteriously noted it was his “secret recipe.”
Lucky J’s is open 24/7 for the summer. Jason noted that before Lucky J’s opened, 7-Eleven was the only late-night food option in Montauk!
The restaurant is busiest at night, and waffle tacos are sold all day and night. I can’t wait to go back and try the Brady, which is chicken and Swiss cheese doused in honey and hot sauce and wrapped in a waffle with bacon cooked into it. If you or your fellow diner is vegetarian, you can try the Grandma Andy, a waffle taco with Nutella, peanut butter, honey and bananas.
Lucky J’s is highly recommended—I hope to go back there again soon.
Lucky J’s is located at 440 West Lake Drive in Montauk and is open 24/7 through September. For more information on Lucky J’s call 631-668-6555 or go to luckyjs.com.