Ceci's Chicken and Waffles
recently relocated from North Little Rock to 1600 Dave Ward Drive in Conway. Central Arkansas isn't known for its strong chicken and waffles culture, but Ceci is definitely out to make a name for her rendition of this famous dish.
I've been excited to try this restaurant since I heard they were moving to Conway. Ceci's opened June 5, and after waiting a couple weeks, I grabbed some friends and headed over. Always a good sign, the parking lot was packed. This lot has served several restaurants over the years, none of which have consistently seen crowds. Ceci's has changed all that.
Upon entering, we were immediately in position to join a short line of people waiting to order and pay at the counter. Ceci's doesn't just serve chicken and waffles; there was a menu drawn in chalk on the wall behind the counter. Meals included fried chicken gizzards
, chicken wings
, and several sides including greens
, mac and cheese
, and cabbage
. But of course, most customers will order the signature dish of chicken and waffles. Can't decide between a plain waffle and a flavored waffle? Order 1/2 and 1/2. After you place your order and pay, take your number and pick a table. A server will bring your food out.
I first contemplated a chicken and waffle dinner, which comes with two sides in addition to the main meal, but after watching a plate of chicken and waffles float past me on a server's tray, I decided to stick with just the main meal. This is a hungry person's waffle, piled high with five pieces of chicken. The waffle itself is a great consistency, thick yet fluffy, while the chicken is heavily spiced but not hot. Waffles come with a light drizzling of syrup, though there's a jar of syrup on each table should you wish to add more. Also available on each table in a large bottle of hot sauce, key in bringing out the combined chicken and waffle flavor at its best.
Luckily, one friend went a different route and chose to order a Fried Chicken Gizzards dinner with sides of cabbage and greens (about $12), so I got to try another popular option. I'm usually a chicken livers girl myself, but I have to admit, the gizzards were tender and flavorful. While I didn't love the greens, the cabbage was cooked well but not overly and seasoned just right.
The only downside to my experience was the ordering and delivery system. After ordering and paying at the counter, a copy of the receipt is given the customer so they can in turn give it to the server who delivers their food and brings any needed drink refills. This of course assumes either guest or server will remember this step. This is intended to let the server keep track of any tips they're owed by credit card transactions. But, it does require tipping in advance if paying by card. To avoid the entire issue, I'll simply remember to take cash in the future.
My friends and I had several different transactions on a single table number, and when a couple of tickets fell from the counter, it resulted in some confusion about the order in which our orders were placed as well as to whom each order went. That said, it took awhile before my order in particular arrived. But, Ceci herself came over to the table after our food was delivered and explained what had happened. The entire staff was friendly and professional, but a visit from the owner to explain a blip in service? I'm won over.
Ceci's Chicken and Waffles
1600 Dave Ward Drive
Average Price: $10