If Leslie Knope is your spirit animal, you may have a new favorite restaurant in town.

Taste Bar + Kitchen is now open at 3015 Bagby St. in Midtown, and it's leaning hard on waffles. The spot co-owned by Don Bowie, also the executive chef and most recently the head of kitchen at Flower Child in Uptown Park, features a menu of elevated chicken and waffle dishes, plus savory and sweet specialty items of the battered and ironed kind.

Obviously the concept plays well at brunch, which is why Taste was slammed during its first Sunday service. But Bowie thinks people will want waffles for dinner, which is why it's open for dinner only Monday-Friday (also all-day Saturday and Sunday). The savory waffles are surprising (a waffle infused with ground beef and gouda and cheddar cheeses), while the variations on chicken and waffles are sure to have people talking (the Nashville hot chicken definitely stacks up with supreme heat).

If you're not feeling chicken and waffles, there are other dishes on the menu, including lamb chops rubbed in a numbing jerk spice blend, and superb collard greens braised in turkey juices and served with the smoked meat. The menu also includes elevated mac 'n' cheese dishes, and a chicken fried lobster with waffles.

This is the kind of comfort food Bowie's grandmother would cook on Sundays. He wouldn't want it any other way. He said he could try to be everything to everyone, but for now, "I'm trying to do this really well," he says.

Considering the quality of the meals, the inventive and lighthearted drinks (including cocktails that play off peach cobbler, cotton candy, and bourbon pecan pie), and the pleasing space (more intimate downstairs bistro dining with blue velvet chairs and a bar, an upstairs space that'll feature live music, and a happy patio with televisions and multiple seating options), the team is off to a good start. 

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Flower Child

$$ American/New American, Café 1101 Uptown Park Blvd. #C-6

Taste Bar + Kitchen

$$ American/New American, Soul Food 3015 Bagby St.