Catfish & Waffles À La Kugler’s


Culinary Food Region 1

The original Kugler’s Restaurant in Philadelphia was located at 34-36 South Broad Street, and in its heyday during the early 1900s it was considered both the largest and most beautifully appointed restaurant in the city. A postcard view from about 1906 shows its elaborate interior décor. More important, Kugler’s specialized in distinctively Philadelphia style dishes, such a chicken salad with fried oysters, snapper soup, terrapin, hundreds of shellfish dishes, game, and the recipe here: catfish-and-waffles, which is taken from the 1902 menu. Tracing back to at least the 1840s, this localism in regional cookery was long recognized by Philadelphia food writers as something distinct to the city, even into the 1920s. After that, chicken-and-waffles more or less replaced it in popularity. The secret to good catfish-and-waffles lies in using only the freshest, hottest, and crispiest waffles direct from the stove. Kugler’s recipe featured wafer-thin waffles, even waffles made with Jersey sweet potatoes or white cornmeal. Whatever one’s waffle preference, keep in mind that this is a savory dish: no sugar or any kind of sweetener is added to the waffle batter.