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Go for the Fried Bird at Buck’s Brunch

The Carriage House replacement does chicken and spiked coffee well.

Chicken and waffles at Buck's   Photo: Carly Boes

The shtick: Breezy and boozy Wicker Park brunchin’, with a kitchen that favors fried chicken and biscuits.

The vibe: When it became evident that the ambitious southern charmer Carriage House was no longer cutting it amidst an increasingly raucous Division Street clientele, ownership opted to reconcept, morphing the space into its current roadhouse-esque version. Verdict: still charming. The brunch crowd was sparse on our visit, and the vibe was ultra relaxed. 8 out of 10

The food: We lead off with a cinnamon pull-apart ($4), a skillet’s worth of biscuits lightly slicked in buttermilk icing. The buttermilk biscuit base made for a drier version of the typical cinnamon roll, but we still found it pretty darn alluring.

Given the kitchen’s affinity for fried chicken, the fried chicken and waffles ($12) seemed a no-brainer order. Nothin’ fancy here: a straight-off-the-iron waffle with a crispy breast plunked on top and maple syrup and whipped butter served on the side. The waffle? Unremarkable. But the bird? A nice hefty chunk of meat that’s juicy and crisped to perfection.

We got another taste of that waffle—this time in sweet, malted form ($11). Again, it tasted like something we could’ve made at home with a box of Aunt Jemima. Whereas the fried chicken elevated the other dish, this one’s maple-bourbon anglaise, mixed berry topping, and delicious housemade whipped cream weren’t enough to lift it above “meh” level. 7 out of 10

The drinks: A nice-and-spicy Bloody Mary ($8) came housed in a mason jar and adorably garnished with (among the usual suspects) a mini biscuit. Coffee was strong, and even more so when we opted to add a shot of amaro ($5). 8 out of 10

The service: There seemed to be some confusion about who our server was supposed to be, but it just meant we got some extra attention. 7 out of 10

overall: Though this place gets cooking at night, brunch is as lowkey as it gets. Next time around, we’ll skip the waffle dishes and focus on the biscuit-based options instead. And we’ll have a few more cups of that spiked coffee, please. 7.5 out of 10

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