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These Are Hands Down The Best Places To Eat Fried Chicken

Though intrinsically connected with Southern
cuisine, you can nowadays find phenomenal fried chicken at restaurants in pretty much
any state. From the many exceptional fried chicken eateries
around the country, we’ve plucked out the very best of the best. Good luck deciding which one you’re going
to try first. The Philly cheesesteak has long reigned as
Philadelphia’s top culinary artifact. But thanks to one up-and-coming chain of Philadelphia
restaurants, fried chicken is working its way up the list. Eater Chef of the Year Michael Solomonov,
his business partner Steve Cook, and local coffee shop owners Tom Henneman and Bobby
Logue have been working to establish Philly as a fried chicken Mecca since opening Federal
Donuts in 2011. The restaurant specializes in fried chicken,
coffee, and donuts. That’s all they serve. Henneman says, “It’s three comforts under one roof.” Inspired by Korean fried chicken, the birds
at Federal Donuts are twice fried for a, quote, “teeth-shattering” crispiness. The chicken can be coated in a choice of dry
seasoning: za’atar, coconut curry, or buttermilk ranch. Or there’s a wet glaze of chili garlic, sweet
soy garlic, or honey ginger. Whether glazed, seasoned, or plain, the fried
chicken is always served with a moist honey donut. As a slave’s granddaughter growing up in rural
poverty, Mildred Council, nicknamed “Mama Dip,” likely never imagined she’d one day
serve her fried chicken to fans including Michael Jordan and President Barack Obama. But she did — thanks to some of the most
delicious fried chicken ever. Mama Dip learned to cook working alongside
her mother-in-law in a tiny takeout kitchen that quickly earned a reputation for serving
the best homemade country dishes in town. “Fried chicken is a form of… of love.” Since opening her own restaurant in 1976,
Mama Dip has become a culinary icon. Before farm-to-table cooking was in vogue,
Mama Dip sourced all her ingredients from local farmers. Mama Dip’s menu hasn’t changed much over the
years, focusing on Southern comfort staples such as chitlins, smothered pork chops and
fried chicken. Her crispy, southern-style birds are paired
with classic sides including collard greens and fried green tomatoes. Mama Dip passed away in the spring of 2018,
but her culinary legacy lives on through her fried chicken, which is still served at Mama
Dip’s Kitchen by her children and grandchildren. Fuku, from chef David Chang’s restaurant group
Momofuku, began as a barebones chicken sandwich eatery in the East Village that attracted
lines around the block. Fuku has since moved into locations in the
Financial District, Battery Park City, Boston Seaport, and beyond. Menus vary slightly based on location, but
fried chicken remains the heart. Customers can chow down on Fuku fingers, bites,
and wings in a five-spice dry rub or a sweet and spicy wet glaze. You can pair chicken with dipping sauces including
mayo, ranch, honey mustard, or the iconic Ssam sauce. That’s a tangy, spicy Korean-inspired chili
dip. You can even have your tasty fried chicken
on a sandwich. It’s thigh meat, soaked in habanero and buttermilk,
then fried and served on a steamed potato bun with fermented chickpea butter and a pickle. Atlanta has no shortage of places to eat fried
chicken, but Busy Bee Cafe has been showing them how it’s done since 1947. The secret to its success is not really a
secret. The menu states that the chicken is brined
for 12 hours, hand-breaded in seasoned flour, and sizzled in peanut oil. The result is a golden brown bird with a tender,
succulent interior. “Not delicious, but BEE-licious.” “I love it.” You can order Busy Bee’s fried chicken by
the half, two-piece, or six-wing dinner. Or you could order it smothered in pan gravy
and served over rice. You can complement your yardbird with classic
sides including candied yams, baked macaroni and cheese, or fresh turnip greens. Since Busy Bee opened more than a half century
ago, it’s been visited by Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders. The restaurant has also since expanded from
its original location on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to a second spot on Trinity Ave. Nashville, Tennessee is the nation’s capital
for hot chicken. Since the world-famous Nashville-style of
chicken was introduced more than 70 years ago, dozens of restaurants have started dishing
out their own spin on the spicy specialty. Of the many fantastic eateries, Arnold’s Chicken
Kitchen sets itself apart with its hot-sauce-brined, double-battered bird. The cafeteria-style eatery only serves fried
chicken on Monday, when lines wrap around the building as hungry hopefuls await their
chance for a spicy drumstick or breast. Fried chicken comes with a choice of sides,
such as creamed corn, fried apples, or turnip greens. The fried chicken and other traditional entrees
earned the restaurant the America’s Classic Award from the James Beard Foundation. For a testament to the quality of fried chicken
at Howlin’ Ray’s in downtown Los Angeles, just glance at the long lines outside its
door. Diners wait at times it’s not even considered
socially acceptable to eat fried chicken, like Wednesday mornings. Howlin’ Ray’s serves up exquisite and authentic
Nashville-style hot chicken. Chef and owner Johnny Ray Zone ventured to
Tennessee to gain an understanding of the unique style of fried bird and Nashville culture
to bring it all back to L.A. Thanks to Zone’s journey, you can now feast
upon Nashville-style breasts, wings, legs, thighs, and tenders in L.A.’s Chinatown. The Howlin Ray’s kitchen sizzles up chicken
in a choice of six spice levels: country, mild, medium, hot, x-hot, and howlin’. For a blend of sweet and savory, go for the
chicken & waffles, which comes with butter and maple syrup, and a choice of dark meat,
wings, or tenders. Okarche, Oklahoma’s claim to fame is fried
chicken. Particularly the fried chicken served at Eischen’s
Bar, the self-proclaimed oldest bar in Oklahoma. The saloon was established in 1896 by a man
named Peter Eischen before Oklahoma was even a state, and reopened after prohibition by
his son and grandson. After being ravaged by a fire in 1993, the
bar was returned to its former glory by Peter’s great grandson Ed Eischen within a year. Hordes of diners truck into Okarche from all
over Oklahoma and beyond for Eischen’s fried chicken. The bird has been served the same way since
the ’60s: hot from the kitchen on butcher paper with white bread, sweet pickles, dill
pickles and onions. The batter is a closely guarded recipe that
combines cornmeal, wheat flour, paprika, sugar, and other spices. Eischen’s goes through about 24,000 pieces
of chicken per week. “Our record now is 1,120 chickens in one day.” Those pieces often come with a bucket of fried
okra and a frosty beer. Oh, and bring cash. Cards are not accepted. “Run chicken, run,” is the slogan at Yardbird
Southern Table & Bar. That’s funny for a hungry diner, and terrifying
for a chicken. Helmed by founder and chef John Kunkel, the
restaurateur pairs fried chicken and comfort food with inspired bourbon cocktails. At Yardbird, free-range, hormone-free birds
are brined for 27 hours and coated in a blend of spices and flour. Then it’s friend lovingly in a pressure fryer. The signature dish, Lewellyn’s Fine Fried
Chicken, is a half chicken served in sweet-spicy honey hot sauce. Yardbird is also famous for brunches. Heal from a hard night out with chicken and
waffles with chilled spiced watermelon and bourbon maple syrup. Sop up the syrup with a honey-butter biscuit
layered with housemade jam. Due to popular demand, Yardbird’s fried chicken
has spread to locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Singapore. If a Mexican restaurant seems like an unlikely
place to find some of the country’s finest fried chicken, get yourself to Birmingham,
Alabama. Little Donkey will change everything you knew
about pollo frito. Sure, the menu primarily focuses on creative
Mexican cuisine. But Little Donkey’s fried chicken dinner has
earned it a spot among the best fried chicken joints in America time and time again. The succulent star of the Little Donkey menu
is brined overnight with a blend of three chilies. Before it’s deep fried, the chicken is splashed
with house-made vinegar infused with morita and habanero for an extra fiery kick. You can order Little Donkey’s famous fried
chicken by the quarter or half along with a choice of sides including elote or chipotle
slaw. Wash it back with a classic margarita or their
signature Donkey’s Daddy cocktail with whiskey, tequila, and housemade hibiscus syrup. The ramshackle, pepto-pink exterior catches
your eye. The aroma of smoking pork neck calls you in. But it’s the fried chicken that brings people
back to Martha Lou’s Kitchen again and again. Martha Lou Gadsden opened her restaurant in
an abandoned service station by the railroad tracks in 1983. The unassuming spot garnered national attention
thanks to a New York Times article back in 2011, and has since pulled in poultry pilgrims
from far and wide. At Martha Lou’s Kitchen, southern comfort
food is dished out on Styrofoam containers that double as divided plates in a tiny dining
room. Depending on the day, the kitchen will dish
out rotating specials and sides, but fried chicken is always on the menu. Gadsden’s legendary chicken is fried to order
with the help of her daughters and grandchildren. It’s served with traditional sides such as
lowcountry cabbage, okra soup, and bread pudding, along with some of the best sweet tea in Charleston. “Give the people something that you’d eat
at home and they can enjoy.” Willie Mae’s Scotch House is a New Orleans
institution that even Hurricane Katrina couldn’t knock down. The restaurant was ravaged by the hurricane
shortly after being named an American Classic by the James Beard Foundation. Following Katrina, Willie Mae Seaton, well
into her ’80s, returned to New Orleans and rebuilt the restaurant with the swift, enthusiastic
help of volunteers. Seaton herself passed away in 2015, but her
fried chicken recipe is safeguarded by her great great granddaughter, Kerry Seaton Stewart,
who currently runs the restaurant. Today, the fried chicken remains as moist,
crispy, and fresh as it was when Seaton first served it in 1957. As one regular customer described the chicken
on NPR’s Morning Edition, “…it was that crust. It was that fusion of skin and crust, the
moment which they became one. And when you bit into it, there was a burst
of juice, there was a subtle heat. It was beautiful.” The story of Gus’s fried chicken began more
than 60 years ago. In a town called Mason, Tennessee, Napoleon
“Na” Vanderbilt and his wife Maggie began selling their fried chicken out of the back
door of a local tavern. The poultry proved so popular, locals rallied
together and provided the couple with materials to build their own restaurant, called “Maggie’s
Short Orders”. The restaurant was inherited by their son,
Vernon “Gus” Bonner, who kept the family recipe but changed the eatery’s name to “Gus’s World
Famous Hot and Spicy Fried Chicken.” Thanks to glowing reviews from major press
outlets, Gus’s grew in popularity and soon spread to locations beyond Tennessee. Today, there are 27 Gus’s Fried Chicken restaurants
speckled across the U.S., from way down in Austin, Texas, to up in Detroit, Michigan. The fried chicken is the same: hot and spicy,
hormone-free chicken fried in peanut oil according to Bonner’s closely guarded recipe. The chicken packs a bit of a kick without
being overwhelming. The restaurant describes it as “…the touch of an old friend.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
foods are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
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  • I am disappointed that none of these places are near me. Wait…….. the Boston location of Fuku being the exception there. I can't believe I used to live in southeast Nebraska and was closer to excellent cuisines than I am here in New England. Yes, Boston has some places, but no real hidden gems where chicken is concerned. Seriously, New Englanders appreciate chicken too! We finally have a couple of Popeye's around here, but we need at least one Bojangles, which is the absolute best chain chicken I've had. There is also a really good little mom and pop chicken joint a block off of Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. We are awash in every kind of fresh seafood/shellfish type stands you could want, to the point that chains like Red Lobster are boxed out. However, sadly, I am allergic to shellfish, as many people are. We need good chicken places to soften the blow!

  • I was in New Orleans, wanted to eat the area best fried chicken, my kid check on her iPhone for the best location. Found one rated #1, so we went there for dinner. Big surprise, got their dinner plate, comes with 3 piece of chicken, no breast, use the smallest chicken the can get, it wasn't that good. The person that rated that place forgot a couple of 0s. You can save money by eating Popeye fried chicken, much better too.

  • I'll take Popeyes over any of these places. Many times I've purchased a 10 piece order of original tenders and have polished of the entire order by myself. Once I start, I can't stop until it's gone. It needs no sauce. The breading is perfect.

  • Ok how many people are thinking road trip. I saved this on my phone so I know where they are. The closet we have here is KFC

  • Oklahoma Eischens made it. Right on. Doesn't get more Americana than serving on butcher paper with a stack of napkins.

  • Seriously, most of these people look like they are in their death throes and the chicken (and preparation) looks mediocre at best. I have no idea where this list came from but they should be fired.

  • Southern cafe in Oakland California wasnt even mentioned!!!!!!!?????? this is a garbage review, Southern cafe in Oakland California is my wife & my favorite fried chicken we have ever had….we are from the eastcoast & moved here to Stockton California 7 months ago….my wife is from Brooklyn NY & I'm from Norfolk Virginia & over the last 16 years we always eat at soulfood restaurants and even on vacation or just visiting nearby cities or states for the weekend we try different soulfood restaurants & after eating fried chicken from Brooklyn NY all the way down to Florida & now in California we both agree that Southern cafe in Oakland California has the ABSOLUTE BEST fried chicken & BEST collard greens.

  • I don't know about this list. Seems like they were specifically looking for places who have some little twist they put on the list, but I like the look of Mama's and the one in OK. I almost called BS on the list when I didn't see a N.O. Restaurant at first and when I thought Gus's got left off

  • I guess I'm a purist, but the more sauces, spices, seasonings, and dips you pile on, the less I want it. What is it covering up, I wonder. Quality meat, overnight brining, a seasoned dredging, and fresh oil are really all you need. More is gilding the lily, in my opinion. Of these, I've only had Gus's. Crispy, but a tad too spicy for me. Eischen's looks like the one I'd most like to try.

  • They said "teeth shattering crispiness". I mean, I don't know….you sure that's the sweet spot? Is that the optimal amount of crisp that you think I'm looking for? We may need to touch base about that.


  • Southern fried and deep fried are very different with a different flavor.
    Southern fried if you can find it outside your own kitchen.

  • You've got to try Allen's fried chicken in sweetwater tx homestyle mesls all you can eat with so much love and history!!

  • Willie May's Scotch House is acknowledged by locals to be the best friend chicken in New Orleans… period.

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