Photo | facebook.com/Deuce-Coupe-Chicken-and-Waffle-Co
Deuce Coupe Chicken and Waffles, The Fort | 29000 Bass Pro Drive | Spanish Fort, AL 36537
I am yet to do an actual review of anything at The Fort, but I am sure after this one there will be more to come. If you’ve been living under a rock or are not inclined to read my Word of Mouth column with any regularity, The Fort is a container yard full of purveyors of food and drink. Located behind Bass Pro Shops in Spanish Fort, The Fort itself also sports a water feature, playground and pavilion for covered seating.
The main draw is the collection of restaurants, all housed in shipping containers surrounded by gravel walkways and picnic tables. It’s a family-friendly spot, for sure, but there is also a bar with rooftop access, perfect for people-watching or taking in a sunset. Each restaurant does it’s own thing, meaning they set their own hours and operate their own methods of payment, etc. They may all look the same on the outside, but they’re vastly different.
One of the most recognizable restaurants there is Dragonfly Taco Bar. You may know these folks from their Fairhope location, the one with an aggressively fresh menu that pushes the limits of what you think is right — in the early days I ate a lobster corn dog there — but always ties it together in the end. Dragonfly is still executing a good game. Did you know they also have a sister restaurant?
Yes, the fine folks from Dragonfly are also wing-deep in another business venture not even a stone’s throw away at Deuce Coupe Chicken and Waffles. This is actually one of the first eateries you happen upon when entering The Fort from the parking lot. Obviously the name gives you a bit of an idea of what they’re about, but with the backing of Dragonfly, you can expect it to be a bit more eclectic.
I recently heard Deuce Coupe was now serving breakfast. I know, it seems like having the word waffle in your name insinuates breakfast, but chicken and waffles are more of a lunch, I guess. I decided to pop in to be their first customer of the day last week and ordered food for my employees at Picker’s Paradise.
Breakfast starts at 8 a.m., and the new items are so new they’ve not made it to a print menu yet. I had a bit of a time with the touch-screen menu in the glare of the sun. Ultimately it had to be rebooted, but once we were up and running I found the new items to be playful adaptations from the other stuff.
I grabbed an order of plain chicken and waffles ($9) for Katie. Her office wasn’t far away, so I dropped them off after I took a nibble or two. The waffles are terrifically fluffy. An impressive start, the fried chicken is a good dose of chopped bites with a gritty batter. Served with a side of syrup, this is their standard fare. The chicken may have been slightly on the dry side, but still good.
A womelet is a word I just love pronouncing. I’m assuming it means waffle omelet, but I didn’t really get that when eating it. It’s one of the new breakfast items that I think they’re still refining. It didn’t grab me, but I’m not saying it was at all bad. Mark was in charge of this one after I had the first bite, and he liked it better than I did.
Maybe he was able to get into it more. I was more interested in the potato hash ($5). Golden chunks of potato were smothered in red onion, slivers of jalapeños and some kind of cheese curd. Not very hot, but this is a cheap thrill. The potatoes weren’t too greasy and therefore not too heavy. A lighter way to start your day.
Enough with the breakfast menu. It was time to hit the regular fare, if you can call it that. Firecracker wing chops ($7) aren’t very “regular,” with chicken wings dressed like little lamb chops. Whoever is butchering these things knows attention to detail. Garnished with what looked to be pickled radish and cilantro, this elegant take on hot wings was something to behold. I could have used a good bit more heat with a name like firecracker, but I’m not complaining loudly.
The belle of the ball was definitely the buttermilk chicken cone ($9). They also offer this in a firecracker version, but I was trying to mix it up. A waffle cone filled to the rim with what I believe to be the same buttermilk chicken as in Katie’s plain chicken and waffles was juiced up by a helping of some type of slaw. It’s great for eating on the go, but before you travel, make certain you’ve added the accompanying sauce. That took it from great to fantastic!
Chicken and waffles are a combination that exploits the contrast of sweet and salty. Whether it’s on an actual waffle or in a cone, it doesn’t matter. Deuce Coupe’s menu is all about this battle and I like it. Even the drinks they offer are from Big Jerk Soda Co. As a soda-pop connoisseur, I was delighted to see these. The flavor I tried was pineapple upside-down cake. It was amazing. Not nearly as sweet as you’d expect, more tangy, and a perfect match for the food. If you’re craving a coffee for breakfast, Beaker’s just across from them has you covered.
This new breakfast is on its way up, I predict, and the regular menu is already great. The place is just a few months old, but with Doug and the crew from Dragonfly behind all of this, you already have great flavor profiles that unexpectedly come together. Each dish is also garnished much better than most places in that the garnish serves a purpose other than for the eyes.
The Fort has plenty to choose from restaurant-wise. Right now I’d say Deuce Coupe and Dragonfly are the upper crust, without being negative toward the others. Get you some.
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