Coneheads: A Fresh Take on Both Chicken AND Waffles
Alternate title: "Coneheads: The Best Way to Keep the Hunger Aliens from Reading Your Mind."
After working with Corner to Corner on our Celebration of Black Makers Batch, I learned about one of the promising recent businesses to emerge from their Academy program. Coneheads is the brain child of Nashville native and former NFL Linebacker, Marcus Buggs. Opened around the beginning of the pandemic, the restaurant is providing jobs in the community and a fresh new angle to soul food. When I learned that this angle meant filling a fresh waffle cone with savory barbecue, I decided that this was a comfort food too tasty to ignore.
Trying a Nashville fried chicken joint as a vegetarian felt like a limited perspective, so E-Commerce Manager Jean and Inventory Manager RJ accompanied me on my lunch break voyage. While "Consuming Mass Quantities" is not necessarily in our job descriptions, it's our pleasure to do it simply for the love of the game (Pro Cone-o).
[Coneheads interior exudes the energy of a tailgate]
[My expression when I learned you can top your cone with pineapple coleslaw, or mac and cheese]
The secret sauce to a place like this? Simplicity. The Coneheads menu is easy to follow. They know exactly what they do best. At its core, you can get either a basket or a cone, and then customize. It's similar to Batch's approach to corporate gifts: start with small-business-made products then customize.
Despite this simplicity, there are enough sauces and variations to lead a hungry Batch employee to a real culinary identity crisis. For example, I'm not the kind of guy who can easily turn down white BBQ sauce, but am I the kind of guy who passes up an opportunity to taste "Rosemary Agave?" Clearly this is going to be the kind of place in which whatever I DON'T order allows me to come back again next week.
Or, tonight for dinner.
[Fried Cauliflower Cone with White BBQ and Topped with Mac and Cheese]
I'm forever grateful to Mr. Buggs for including an easy vegetarian substitute that allows folks like me to pig out alongside carnivores. The fried cauliflower was insane. Crispy and savory. The sweetness of the barbecue sauce and the soft waffle cone was intoxicating. And the mac and cheese on top was completely worth the upcharge. I'm not entirely sure I'll be able to branch out to try something new next time.
[Fried Chicken Cone with White BBQ sauce and a side of Best Damn Grits]
Simple + Convenient = Genius. The tables at Coneheads come with cone-sized holes at each seat in the table. They knew that we would need to a place to set our cones while we take a drink, enjoy a side, or take a 'gram-worthy pic of the whole experience.
In a pandemic-less parallel universe, Coneheads is bustling. It has hour-long lines that make it impossible to get in and out quickly. You can't make it through on your lunch break. You drive by and feel intimidated by hoards of people.
But, in the pandemic universe that we all live in, you can easily try it right now. They're located at 1315 Dickerson Pike. Get yourself a cone before the word gets out. And trust me, the word is getting out.
If you want to try a variation at home, try our Hot Chicken & Waffles Gift Batch.