When I went to the original location of the Seafood Lady a couple of years ago, it was packed and not necessarily inviting for a sit-down meal, so carry out is how it went down. I remember the mouth-watering aromas permeating the car on the way home.
I returned to that location recently to try the food by the building’s new tenant, Daddy Rich’s, and found the space not only more inviting, but the aromas to be just as tantalizing. Daddy Rich’s previously had been a kitchen incubator project in Chef Space and moved into its brick-and-mortar spot with help from a $10,000 microbusiness loan from the city.
The premise at the concept is similar: You order at a window at one end of the small dining area; soon enough your order number will be called, and you pick up your food at an adjacent window.
At the original Seafood Lady – which since has moved down the street to larger digs at 103 W. Oak – there was a smattering of tables, but no real space to sit. But Daddy Rich’s has several four-top tables along with the few counter seats, along with an auxiliary dining area dubbed “Daddy’s Den.”
The dining area is painted a warm yellow with Louisville-themed, street-style art. A roll-up bay door remains, although it was down on the day I went, despite ideal weather for al fresco dining.
The menu at Daddy Rich’s focuses on chicken wings and tenders, but also offers miniature Belgian waffles and a couple of wraps, as well as “flat top” cornbread (guessing that means not muffins). It’s a small menu, but it boasts the “best wings in town,” and touts the tagline “Rich in Flavor.”
Wings come in orders of 10, 20, 50 and 100, but five different combos give you the opportunity to do a little mixing and matching. I decided to get creative and order a No. 1 combo, which consists of eight wings, one side, and a piece of cornbread, plus a No. 2, which I got with three waffles and five wings (you can also get three tenders in place of wings). Combos include a canned soft drink or bottled water.
My wing flavors of choice were lemon pepper Buffalo, touted as the house favorite, and Blaz’n Cajun, but there are 10 choices in all like the intriguing sweet honey sriracha, “Coco’s” fried wings, teriyaki, Rancho and others.
I had intended to dine in, but while ordering, I noted to my order-taker that I may need a to-go box as there was no way I would be able to eat all the food I had just ordered in one sitting.
She flashed a smile and said, “You might,” likely suggesting that once I tasted it, I wouldn’t be able to stop. Anyway, my order came out all packed up for takeout, so I decided to just head home with my bounty. Irony hit me as the aromas soon filled the air within my vehicle, giving me Seafood Lady flashbacks.
Home and settled, I first tried the waffles, which are dense and have a texture sort of like a cake doughnut, but without the inherent sweetness. Lightly dusted with powdered sugar, they’re pretty tasty just taken plain, but you can also get chocolate or strawberry drizzle or cinnamon sugar. I went with the basic syrup and butter. I had noted while waiting on my food that the high chairs along one wall indicated Daddy Rich’s is kid-friendly, but these waffles drove that notion home with a bang. Eggo never made anything like this.
I then tried the Blaz’n Cajun wings, which are generously dry-rubbed (save one, which was a little on the naked side) and found that while they weren’t really “blazing,” they were flavorful and intense, with enough heat to tickle your tonsils and build a little burn along the way. The bigger win, though, was that the chicken itself was wonderfully prepared, meaty and fresh-tasting. Quality fowl, to be sure.
Next, I tried the lemon pepper Buffalo wings, which immediately looked the part, with plenty of black pepper and lemon zest that made them at once visually enticing and aromatic. Once again, the expected Buffalo sauce heat was in minimal supply, but the lemon pepper taking center stage was no loss at all. In fact, it’s probably better that the recipe backs off the heat to let the other flavors shine.
The sweet potato fries were not at all what I expected, as they looked and smelled like Thanksgiving. By that, I mean they resembled the candied yams I remember from days gone by, with the requisite seasonings. I never liked candied yams (still don’t), but these potatoes were done well. Next time I’ll get the regular fries or pasta salad as my side, though.
My only complaint about the tasty meal was that I arrived home to find I’d been shorted the cornbread advertised on the menu as a component of the No. 1 combo. Ah well, that’s what I get for not checking the bag before driving home. Daddy Rich’s nevertheless warrants a return visit. Maybe next time I’ll ask for extra cornbread to balance things out.
Daddy Rich’s, located at 617 W. Oak St., is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday 1-8 p.m.