October 3, 2012

First Impression: Hillbilly Heaven {EDIT}

With the controversy surrounding Hillbilly as of late, I felt the need to add in this disclaimer. I reviewed HB after the Restaurant Makeover episode where the flag was taken down and before their second location opened where the flag went back up. I do not agree with the actions of HB management and feel they've made it less about the food and more about the drama and free publicity. I don't think I'd consider going back.

updated 03/29/13


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One night, Kandi and I found ourselves in the Limeridge Mall parking lot looking for a place to have dinner. We finally narrowed in on breakfast for dinner but more specifically, savoury waffles and not surprisingly Hamilton was lacking in that area. The breakfast for dinner craving eventually led us to Hillbilly Heaven for their chicken & waffle platter. I know, how did a waffles craving lead to fried chicken? Well for anyone who knows me personally, I always have a craving for fried chicken, its ridiculous sometimes but no matter what, I am always down for fried chicken, especially when it doesn't come from a fast food chain! 


We expected this place to be a little hole in the wall but were pleasantly surprised when we walked into a well established restaurant. They definitely took some time to create a distinct atmosphere. Everywhere you looked, from the beer cans hanging from the exit sign to the display of in-house spices and redneck wine classes in the corner, they definitely put thought into the details (edit: just found out they were on Restaurant Makeover! Their episode airs Oct. 11th on The Food Network). You order at the counter and then help yourself to a drink from the fridge and patiently wait at a table. Each table had a mason jar of utensils and a napkin dispenser. There was also a counter where you can pick up your own mild, medium, or hot bbq sauce. There was also a bucket of wet naps on the counter, which I was really thankful for! Going to a bbq joint usually means getting elbow deep in some bbq sauce and most places throw two wet naps your way thinking thats sufficient enough. Pshhh please! You're not eating bbq properly if you can clean yourself up with two wet naps! 


We ordered the chilli cheese fries ($5.75)  along with the chicken & waffles - to share! Thank goodness we decided to share because the serving size was absolutely ridiculous! Everything was also served on a tray with wax paper, even our eating dishes. I liked this because it just added to the theme of the restaurant. To wash everything down we also helped ourselves to Calypso lemonade made from pure cane sugar. Both flavours were sweet and refreshing! All the bbq sauces offered were all equally delicious. There wasn't too much heat to them and I found them to be more on the sweet side than the tangy side - which I prefer. I loved the fact that we had an endless supply of sauces and if we wanted to, could sauce our own meats!




The fried chicken and waffle was exactly what we expected - a nice fluffy waffle with two pieces of fried chicken on top! It was pretty dirty*. I just noticed the menu online says three pieces of white meat but we only received two. Not sure if they ripped us off or they changed the menu in store. Nonetheless, the chicken was moist and the accompanying honey syrup hit the spot. Our server, who was incredibly sweet told us they mix the honey with bourbon and it's a huge hit with the regulars. The waffle also came with two side dishes. I ordered the bbq beans and Kandi ordered the mac 'n cheese salad. Both sides were "okay". I wished the beans were more full flavoured, like the ones at Memphis  Fire BBQ, but instead, these were more like a vegetarian chilli. The mac 'n cheese salad was also nothing too special. It could've been any picnic macaroni salad. I would have preferred the traditional hot and cheesy mac 'n cheese. 




Like Memphis Fire, their fried chicken is white meat only, but at least Hillbilly keeps the bone on the breast, which always adds more flavour. Over all the fried chicken and waffles were great. I am looking forward to coming back and trying some of their bbq items. The only thing I had an issue with was the price of the waffles - $18. 58  I have no idea what makes this dish close to twenty bucks! I understand fried chicken can be a bit labour intensive but each order only comes with two (or three) pieces. We thought the cost was a little insane but everything else was reasonably priced and the portions are large enough to share. If you really liked your meal, there was also a section selling spice blends, coffee and hot sauces to take home.



* dirt·y
term of endearment used towards a foodie concoction of something so outrageously ridiculous and unbelievable gluttony but delicious
{EDIT} Shortly after posting this article, Cameron from Hillbilly Heaven informed me there should have been three pieces of chicken in my order and to make up for the mistake he invited me back at a later date of my choice. I was completely blown away by the gesture. Kandi and I went back for the BBQ platter and although I prefer my meat sliced and not shredded, I still enjoyed the meal simply due to the generosity of Cameron and his staff, both times we were there.


Hillbilly Heaven
905-538-4525
647 Upper Hames St
Hamilton, On
www.hillbillyheaven.com
Hillbilly Heaven on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. I hit up HB during their opening week and was brutally disappointed with the food. It's been quite a while though and this review has prompted me to give it another shot in the near future.

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    1. thanks for your kind words Justin! I've seen some of the pictures from before their Restaurant Takeover days and it has definitely gone through a huge change since. If you're into BBQ I would suggest Memphis Fire as well.

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