The Best Places to Eat Fried Chicken in America

3 minute read

While fried chicken traces its origins to the South, innovative chefs across the country understand the innate appeal of the homey, crunchy, juicy dish.

Michael Solomonov’s Federal Donuts (Philadelphia)

Michael Persico

Federal Donuts’s simple, wickedly great business model—superb fried chicken and doughnuts—has proven so popular that five outposts now dot the city. The 24-hour-cured chicken is double-fried for extra crispness and come spiced or glazed, depending on the location, in flavors like chili garlic and buttermilk ranch.

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  • Watershed on Peachtree (Atlanta)

    Watershed on Peachtree

    The Atlanta institution has undergone a number of changes, but new chef Joe Truex knew not to mess with Scott Peacock’s legendary fried chicken. Brined in buttermilk and fried in ham hock-flavored fry fat, the crisp, golden, utterly addictive chicken is now served both at lunch and dinner on Wednesdays—and sold out usually by 7:30pm.

    Little Goat Diner (Chicago)

    Little Goat

    Fried chicken makes all sorts of cameos here (including accompanying onion brioche French toast). But traditionalists should order the fried chicken plate, a half-chicken that’s been brined in buttermilk and hot sauce for 12 hours before being steamed and tossed in the fryer.

    Yardbird Southern Table and Bar (Miami)

    50 Eggs, Inc

    Following a 27-hour soak in a sugar-salt brine with a hint of paprika and cayenne pepper, the fantastic chicken here is fried in lard and served with Tabasco-spiked honey.

    Beasley’s Chicken + Honey (Raleigh, NC)

    Angie Mosier

    With extra-craggy triple-fried chicken paired with a thick, custardy Belgian waffle, Ashley Christensen’s take on chicken and waffles is “all about the textures,” she says.

    Wayfare Tavern (San Francisco)

    Wayfare Tavern
    John Lee

    The secret to TV food star Tyler Florence’s fantastically crispy and perfectly moist chicken: baking it at 200 degrees for 2 1/2 hours before coating with seasoned flour and frying in garlic-and-herb-infused oil.

    Pies-N-Thighs (Brooklyn, NY)

    Winnie Au

    “I’m on the record as a fried-chicken freak,” says editor in chief Dana Cowin, who wasn’t disappointed by this cult Williamsburg spot known for fried chicken seasoned with paprika, black pepper and cayenne. “I adored its homey mood and comfort food.”

    Two Sister’s Kitchen (Jackson, MS)

    Two Sister's Kitchen

    Two Sister’s Kitchen, in a two-story house, opens only for lunch (every day but Saturday) and serves a buffet of soul food made with recipes culled from all the women in Diann I. Alford’s family. “It’s like Sunday lunch at your grandmother’s,” she says. Piled on Sisters’ all-you-can-eat buffet: light angel biscuits; grits and Southern sides that might include turnip greens; and corn bread salad (Alford’s mother got her to eat vegetables by adding chunks of corn bread). The one constant: “If the front door’s open, we have fried chicken,” assures Alford.

    Momofuku Noodle Bar (New York, NY)

    Momofuku Noodle Bar

    Ordering the fried chicken at David Chang’s East Village spot requires planning—you’ll need a group of four to eight people, and you’ll have to reserve the order online. It’s worth the hassle. He serves two styles in one sitting: Southern with Old Bay seasoning, and a spicy Korean version. Diners can wrap hot pieces of meat in moo shu pancakes with a variety of sweet and salty sauces.

    Harold’s Chicken Shack (Chicago, IL)

    Writing With My Mouth Full

    Founded in 1950 by “Fried Chicken King” Harold Pierce, the chain thrives on a simple model: White or dark meat plunged in oil to order, and served with hot sauce.

    Read the full list here. This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

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