Most Arkansas restaurants have that one dish that they’re known by. It’s the dish that you crave, the one that puts the restaurant on the map. It’s the signature dish. This series tells the stories behind some of Little Rock’s most iconic plates and explores what makes them so memorable.
The signature dish
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast at Maddie’s Place
You can find the Buttermilk Fried Chicken as a staple on the Maddie’s menu for both lunch and dinner
Chef Brian Deloney started Maddie’s Place without this dish on the menu. In fact, it took years before he created it as a special, just to see how it would be received. Needless to say, it was a wild hit off the bat, and Deloney quickly got it onto the regular menu.
What makes it unique
Take your pick. Many people will talk about the Crystal hot sauce glaze, which is nothing more than hot sauce and sugar heated up together. Others will drool over the macaroni and cheese, which is almost certainly one of the best in town. Yet it, too, is extremely simple, with a classic béchamel sauce with three melted cheeses in it. Some swear by the greens, those turnip greens simmered for two hours in a vegetable stock with bacon, onions, cider vinegar, brown sugar and some seasoning. And of course, you can’t forget the juicy chicken, which gets breaded in three different stages so the crust stays on when you cut into it.
Are you noticing something about each element on the dish? They’re all simple, made with a few ingredients each. Heck, you probably have most of what you need to recreate this wonderful plate in your pantry or refrigerator right now. But simple is what Maddie’s Place does best.
“That’s what we do,” said Deloney. “We take simple things and just make them better, just put a lot of love into it and take our time with it. Whether it’s technique or ingredients, that’s what we do.
It might be simple, but don’t mistake “simple” for “plain.” This is a dish loaded with vibrant flavors and comfort food sensibilities that has many diners coming back for more on a regular basis.
The Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast entrée runs $16.50 at both lunch and dinner.
This is probably my favorite guilty pleasure dish in Little Rock. It’s nothing fancy, but it is unforgettable. As good as Maddie’s Place’s entire menu is (and it is), this signature dish is the one I always gravitate toward first.