by Luke Tsai
Hey Temescalians, here’s an antidote for your Monday morning blues: Today, Beauty’s Bagel Shop (3838 Telegraph Ave.) will play host to a chicken and waffles spot called Ronca’s Kitchen — a new weekly pop-up enterprise serving legitimately tasty waffles and a Bakesale-Betty-worthy fried chicken sandwich you don’t have to stand in line outside for.
Ronca’s is the brainchild of Ingrid Ibarra, a St. Helena-based personal chef, and her daughter Julia Ibarra, who is a friend of Beauty’s co-owner Amy Remsen. Since the bagel shop was normally closed on Mondays, and since it was already equipped with a fryer, the Ibarras saw it as the perfect opportunity.
Julia Ibarra told me her mother drew inspiration for the chicken and waffles concept from Thomas Keller’s Yountville restaurant, Ad Hoc, which is famous for its Monday night high-end fried chicken dinners — and occasionally serves chicken and waffles for Sunday brunch. (“Ronca” is the mother’s nickname — an endearment in Spanish for someone with a deep, loud voice.) On Mondays, Ronca’s serves chicken sandwiches and waffles during lunch service (11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and fried chicken with waffles, cole slaw, and corn bread on the side for dinner (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.).
There’s also a savory prosciutto waffle and seasonal waffles (a pumpkin-spice version, recently). And they serve a vegetarian fried “chicken,” made from a textured soy product from the Layonna Vegetarian Health Food Market (Oakland Chinatown’s fake-meat emporium), that Ibarra said tastes “just like real chicken.”
“I’m definitely not vegetarian, and I almost always get it,” she said.