Atmosphere: Quite different from the cafeteria-esk, fluorescent lit interior I was anticipating. I honestly expected to order at a counter and be served on a tray, but I was quite pleased to find out that wasn’t the case.
Service: Friendly welcome right off the bat! Our server Paula was very sweet; she inquired about my blog with genuine interest and even recommended another restaurant for us to visit at a later date. The food itself seemed a little slow, but maybe just because we were on a tight schedule.
Booze: Nada. I ordered a sunshine because it sounded uniquely refreshing: lemonade, fruit punch, orange crush and mountain dew. They were out of fruit punch, but it was still nice.
Fried Corn Bread | served complementarily with peach butter
Chicken and Waffles | three jumbo chicken wings with our signature waffle [regular, sweet potato, strawberry or blueberry flavored] $ 9.25
Baked Chicken | four dark or white meat pieces and served with two sides $ 11.80
No frill here, just straight soul food. The peach butter served along with fried corn bread was scrumptious; I was very pleased when more arrived to compliment my sweet potato waffle. Typically I’m a glutton for syrup, but these babies were so sugary, they didn’t need a single drop. It was a bit chewy, but had great taste. The chicken wings were huge and perfectly crisp, not greasy — and still good cold the next day. Best fried chicken I ever ate? No, but it puts up a good fight. The baked chicken, slightly sweet and lemon zesty, was also wonderful. (As with all good authentic southern cooking, that sweetness was present everywhere.) The fried green tomatoes were spot on in all their cornmeal glory, and mama bird even went so far as to say the cabbage reminded her of my grandmother’s — which is exactly what people expect and appreciate when soul food dining. Again, its that sugar. Sugar is the secret. And pig fat… good ole pig fat.
Kudos: Free parking! And a plethora of side dishes that actually taste good. I notice a lot of sides are put on the back burner at restaurants like this— no pun intended. It is exceptionally frustrating when the rest of the menu is held to a higher standard; nothing ruins an great homestyle meal like bland, limp, uninspired accompaniments.
Overall: A great bang for the buck, we spent $30 and both left with half our meals. I see many revisits to Maxine’s in the future. Of course this time around I had to go with the signature dish, but there were a few others that caught my eye right away. Alone it may not be worth the 30 minute drive downtown, but it will definitely be in my mind when I’m in the area.