Biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, steak and eggs coming soon to Half Moon Bay and South San Francisco.
Keith’s Chicken-N-Waffles is taking flight. In January 2022, founder and owner Keith Richardson plans to expand beyond Daly City and open new locations serving breakfast and lunch in Half Moon Bay and South San Francisco.
“We’ve got a lot of little things we gotta do, but we’re very excited — and hopefully the community will be excited to have us,” Richardson says.
For five years, Richardson’s team has been frying up chicken combos featuring crispy, peppery wings, legs and breast and thigh meat, accompanied by fries, cornbread, mac and cheese, red beans and rice, candied yams, tender, savory collard greens and Kool-Aid.
Airy, soft and light, one of the restaurant’s Belgian waffles is an event in itself. Options include the Antonio Special Waffle, served with cream cheese and chocolate drizzle, and the Sweet Potato Signature Waffle served with candied yam topping. The flavors of the Red Velvet Signature Waffle zig and zag between rich chocolate and the sweet tang of cream cheese.
To develop these recipes for his Daly City restaurant, Richardson traveled across the U.S., taste-testing and researching in pursuit of the best chicken and waffles — but the Half Moon Bay and South San Francisco locations will star new dishes.
“It’ll be totally different,” Richardson says. “It’ll be a country-style breakfast with biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, steak and eggs.” There will also be kid-friendly options, including chicken tenders and little burgers.
Richardson has taken inspiration from his family’s recipes and culinary traditions from different states in the South, including Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.
“My family, they love to cook. They’re great cooks, and I felt I can represent them by trying it myself,” Richardson says. “Basically all the southern states I have some connection to. We just collaborated all those flavors, and brought it to the West Coast.”
Through the years, Richardson’s culinary skills have been self-taught.
“I’ve worked for the municipalities all my life, always had a government job, and I was always interested in the food industry,” he says.
Preparing to open his first restaurant, Richardson sought out renowned eateries across the U.S. and researched with prospective customers.
“I collected that data, I just put it together and just (went) for it basically,” Richardson says. “No culinary school, just cooking at home and practicing and trial and error.”
Richardson practiced in the kitchen, determining what ingredients go well together and just the right amounts for each. Ratios are key, he says.
“There’s no special recipe. It’s basic to be honest with you … If you use salt and pepper, you gotta use the right amount of salt and pepper. Sometimes we measure, sometimes we just know it,” Richardson says. “Put a little bit of this in, and if it doesn’t taste like anything, add a little bit more. If it’s too powerful, put a little bit less.”
The internet helps with this. “Research to get you started with the basics,” Richardson says.
In the early days of his career as a restaurateur, Richardson initially planned to open a barbecue restaurant, and then pivoted to his chicken and waffles concept. As Keith’s Chicken-N-Waffles expands, one of the team’s goals is to share food with people that they haven’t experienced before.
“We’re just trying to enhance people’s palates,” Richardson says. “It’s just like a palate trigger. (People) taste their food and it’s like, ‘This is way different from what we’re used to.'”