Go Uptown to Amy Ruth’s on 116th

IMAG0795Since my Airbnd was so close to this restaurant, I decided to go there for breakfast before the Harlem Eatup Taste and Stroll event.  At one point, I was not sure if I wanted to go because usually the place can get a little busy and I did not want to wait alone for a table. But I had the bright idea to order take out to avoid the line. I walked the 7 minute walk to the restaurant to pick up my pre-ordered food and the place was practically empty.  I arrived around 9am and it was people there but not what I was expecting. Anyway, I got my food and skipped on home to enjoy.
Amy Ruth’s is a Home-Style Southern Cuisine that opened in 1998 located at 113 West 116th St, New York, NY 10026. It is just 2 blocks east of the 116th train stop for the B and C line. There also may be another closer train so it is in a good location just a few steps from Malcolm X Avenue. This restaurant is a family restaurant with strong Southern roots in Alabama.  What I love about this restaurant is the painted murals on the walls of different influential Black people throughout history.  It was owonderful of this place to embrace our history so that we never forget how wonderful amazing we are. And to make it even better, all of the waffle dishes and main entrees are the names of influential Black people known throughout the US or within NYC. There is even a dish called The President Barack Obama ($15.50) on the main entrée menu that includes fried, smothered, or BBQ chicken served with two sides.   I love it! I have never been here for dinner or lunch but I may have to come back again to give that a try. http://amyruths.com/

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As you may know, I grew up in Los Angeles so I am a fan of Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. So I am not easily impressed by people that claim to make the best chicken and waffles.   This place has a lot of chicken and waffle or meat and waffle options and they come pretty close to Roscoe’s because Amy has better waffles that are fluffier. But they put the chicken or meat on the waffle. From the pictures below, people are putting the syrup over the whole thing and enjoy it like that. That is not my thing but I am not judging. This place makes sure to keep you full by providing a huge fluffy biscuit before your meal, even if you order waffles!

This is my third time visiting this restaurant. Many New Yorkers are a bit over this establishment but my family member took me here so I could try it for myself. During our first trip, I really enjoyed my meal.  I ordered The Reverend Al Sharpton ($13.50) which is 2 pieces of chicken and a waffle. Of course, they were served on top. I quickly moved the chicken to another plate and enjoyed every bite of my meal. My though is what is there not to love about a place like this. I go back the second time and the place was much busier.  This time, we are seated on the second level. I ordered the same thing and while the waffle was still cooked to perfection.  The busboys were a bit slacking and it did not feel as clean as I remembered. And then the chicken was overcooked. I mean severely over cooked. I was quite disappointed.  So this visit is the tie-breaker for me.

IMAG0798This time, I ordered the Chicken with 2 eggs served any style ($10.95). My dish was served with home fries or grits. Fun fact about me, I am not a fan of ordering something out that I can easily make at home. I have to be in the mood and be far away from my kitchen to not make it myself. So I rarely order grits out unless it is a shrimp and grits dish and then you still have to come hard because I can make that myself too. Anyway, I ordered 2 fried eggs, 2 dark meat pieces of smothered fried chicken (leg and thigh), with home fries. I had the gravy put to the side just in case I did not like it, it would not ruin my entire meal. That was actually a great call because I did not particularly care for the gravy so I ate my chicken plain with Sylvia’s Hot Sauce from the night before! Because of the walk back to the restaurant, the eggs were slightly cold. But again, it is a little hard to screw up fried eggs. I added a little salt and pepper and enjoyed them. My meal was served with that biscuit and I had no intention of eating the whole thing but after the first bite, it magically disappeared. Not sure what happened there. The chicken was cooked well. It was actually a little undercooked but not to the point of dangerous. I enjoyed my meal and I will definitely be back again and hopefully not for breakfast.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed my dish. I ate well. I have eaten well 2 out of the 3 times I’ve visited. There are consistent on the waffles and biscuits but need to keep the meats consistent. I did not like the gravy.  It was a brown gravy that was not good for the chicken. After finding all these other soul food restaurants in Harlem, there is something that still keeps me coming back. And I am still curious about their lunch/dinner menu. You be the judge. I am still on the fence but it is some good food though! Below is my Seven Mac Score:

Amy Ruth’s

Criteria Scale Score
Accessibility 1-10 9
Customer Service 1-20 20
Cleanliness 1-10 9
Food Presentation 1-10 10
Price Value 1-10 10
Taste of Food 1-30 25
Overall Experience 1-10 8
TOTAL: 91/100

Please look out for my next post as I review another one of Baltimore’s Best and make a quick trip to Denver! And remember: It’s a BIG world and we are going to eat our way through it!




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