Photo for Best Black-Owned Business: Kiki Chicken and Waffles
Photo by Jada Mack

Best Black-Owned Business: Kiki Chicken and Waffles

By Grace Farrar

Kiki’s Chicken & Waffles has been serving up the best soul food and classic breakfast dishes in town since 2012, so it’s no surprise that it was voted Columbia’s Best Black-Owned Business. 

The restaurant’s menu is packed with southern favorites, but Kiki’s chicken and waffle is the star. The meal comes with a fluffy Belgian waffle and four fried wings or two chicken breasts.

Bring an appetite because there are plenty of menu must-haves in addition to this classic meal. Start your dining experience off right with a signature appetizer, such as sweet cream corn nuggets and bacon cheese fries. For the main course, choose from an extensive menu of breakfast items, soul food and seafood dishes.

If you’re in a breakfast mood, though, the well-known chicken and waffle isn’t your only option. The French toast, steak and eggs, as well as the fried chicken and grits are also great choices.

“Aside from the classic chicken and waffles, everyone should try our Kiki's soul food plate,” General Manager Nic Frank said. “It's southern comfort food that reminds you of home.”

Kiki’s Chicken & Waffles’ soul food plate comes with four wings, a corn muffin and a choice of two sides, which include grits, fried okra, macaroni and cheese, collards and more. The restaurant's soul food menu also features baked chicken, barbeque ribs and smothered pork chops. 

If you’re craving seafood, don’t miss the seafood platter, which entails two fish filets, seven fried shrimp and fries.

Kiki’s Chicken & Waffles can satisfy a sweet tooth too. Try out its chocolate chip waffle, red velvet waffle or fried apple pie to get your dessert fix.

Its mouthwatering menu has earned the establishment plenty of news features, and owner Kiki Cyrus was even invited on the Rachael Ray Show to talk about women in the food industry. With this, it’s not just the menu that keeps guests coming back, it’s also the restaurant’s southern hospitality. 

“What makes Kiki's stand out is that we are Black-owned and very family-oriented,” Manager Markeechell Dunlap said. “Kiki's is an amazing place to work and eat!”

Over the past four years, one of Dunlap’s favorite parts of the job has been getting to know the customers, which Frank has experienced as well.

“The best part of the job is our patrons,” Frank said. “Whether it be our regular guests, local dignitaries or celebrities.”

Celebrities that have enjoyed Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles include WNBA star Brittney Griner, former NFL player Deion Sanders and President Joe Biden.

The restaurant has locations in northeast Columbia and Harbison, and it serves food at most Colonial Life Arena events. If you want to replicate its signature fried chicken at home, Kiki’s chicken breading is available for purchase in stores and online. Also, the restaurant hosts frequent events, so be sure to keep an eye out on social media.

It’s definitely worth the trip for what Frank calls “hands down, the best soul food in town.