You know that marketing is all about hyperbole, so when I first heard about Mr. Wonderful’s chicken and ribs, I had to wonder? Is it really that wonderful or is he just pulling my leg? Given that Mr. Wonderful’s Chicken and Waffle (henceforth know as MWCW) was out in E. Raleigh, it took a while for me to make it out there and I followed the reviews online. And they were ALL over the place! Overall the food got decent marks but comments about service were really inconsistent. So yeah, I had to find out myself. With a $20 Living Social in hand, I headed over on a beautiful Sunday morning for my first taste of this somewhat new, soul food restaurant.
Funny but I had passed by MWCW a while back when I was searching out another restaurant and it looks good in the day-time. A large brick storefront with red signage, inside the place is clean, crimson and dotted with African-American paintings and portraits of famous people. Fifties rock is rolling out of the speakers overhead and a young man in bowtie and pork-pie hat is manning the register. They have counter and table service but given it was my first time, I ordered at the counter but than ate at the table. I went with the rib tips and fries app, waffle with thighs-drums along with sweet Jesus sauce and a side of basil corn. It would take fifteen minutes for it to come out which was fine since I was pretty early.
My food comes out and it looks good and looks like a lot! A plate of glazed rib chunks, large basket of seasoned fries, browned waffle with five pieces of fried chicken, portion of corn AND my cup of sweet Jesus sauce. But who wants to live forever, eh? I dig into the ribs first and they are VERY tasty and rich. Lots of sweetness, char, tender meat layered with some fattiness. With the large basket of fries this would make for a great app or even a meal. The chicken and waffles is solid, the waffle a bit brown as well as the chicken. The fried chicken has some seasoning with some punch on it and the special MWCW sauce is a nice lemon-pepper sauce for a bit of citrus and spice, very nice. Add in the plate of seasoned corn and I was a very happy boy.
And about the service? Very good but I admit I was the first person in MWCW and had mostly the undivided attention until the church crowd started floating in. I would still expect it to be decent if not super-efficient here but who cares when the food is this good? So Mr. Wonderful’s, I hope you do well. I’ve hit up several other soul restaurants in the Raleigh area and none of them have lasted. But I hope you do since you’re the best rendition of African-American comfort food that I’ve run into so far. And while I may not come here every week for health reasons, I will certainly try to get back soon, with or without a LivingSocial! So thanks and bon appetit, my friend…
3587 Maitland Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610