13 Best Fried Chicken Restaurants in America

Fried chicken is a quintessential American dish that is crispy, golden, and opulent, and it gets better with every bite. This comfort food classic is universal, found everywhere from the bustling streets of New York where it has been updated with a gourmet touch to the deep South where it is a soulful mainstay. We’ve traveled the savory landscape of the US in search of the most succulent, flavorful, and simply wonderful fried chicken. The best places that have perfected the technique of frying chicken are revealed in this article. Join us as we explore the eateries that are a cut above the rest, satisfying cravings and setting the bar for America’s best fried chicken, whether you’re looking for the classic buttermilk-battered bliss or a spicy, modern variation.

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

224 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Phone: (404) 876-1800
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Mary MacKenzie opened Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta in 1945 at a time when women couldn’t open a restaurant.

That’s why she and many other women called them tea rooms. They proudly uphold their traditions, so not much has changed in almost 80 years.

That includes their recipes. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s why they have some of the best fried chicken in the US.

Choose from regular fried chicken, chicken fried chicken, fried chicken wings, or fried chicken tenders. Each piece is mouth wateringly delicious, so you can’t go wrong.

If you can manage it, you’ll want to save some room for the sides and dessert. They bake their bread from scratch daily and use the freshest vegetables.

Their fried green tomatoes and mac and cheese will blow your mind. This is also one of the best soul food restaurants in the US!

Willie Mae’s Scotch House; New Orleans, LA

2401 St. Ann Street, New Orleans, LA 70119
Phone: (504) 822-9503
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Willie Mae Seaton opened a bar in 1957 in the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans. They moved to their current location after just a year.

In the 70s, they expanded to a full restaurant to their customers’ demands. Willie Mae’s granddaughter runs things at present.

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They won the James Beard Award in 2005. The Food Network and the Travel Channel named them America’s best fried chicken.

If you get the chance to visit, you can choose between regular fried chicken, a fried chicken sandwich, or fried chicken tenders.

No matter which you choose, you won’t be disappointed. Their chicken, as well as every item on the menu, will have you raving.

Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack

5814 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211
Phone: (615) 810-9388
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James Thorton Prince opened the Hot Chicken Shack in 1945 in Nashville, Tennessee.

They claim to be the first to come up with hot chicken, which is hard to verify. At the very least, they perfected and popularized it to everyone’s benefit.

They’ve been nominated for several awards, including Nashville’s best place to get fried chicken. They picked one food, and they do it very well.

You can get chicken whole, halved, or in pieces and at any spice level you desire. There are wings, tenders, and chicken salad as well. 

Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles

1514 N Gower St, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Phone: (323) 466-7453
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Herb Hudson founded the chain in 1975 in Hollywood. It’s a soul-food restaurant that’s most known for serving the dish in its name: chicken n’ waffles.

The chain is very well known in LA and has been mentioned on several TV shows and movies over the years.

If you’re going by, I recommend trying their signature dish, especially if you’ve never had it. It’s super common where I’m from, so I’ve never questioned it, but I can see why it’s unusual.

You won’t believe how well crispy fried chicken goes with hot waffles until you taste them.

Federal Donuts

1219 Second Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (267) 687-8258
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Five people came together and opened Federal Donuts in 2011 in south Philadelphia.

Their business didn’t take long to expand, and now they have 11 locations across Pennsylvania.

They kept their menu simple by only serving donuts, chicken, and coffee. Their chicken is on the list because it’s double-fried and super crispy.

You won’t find a crisper or more delicious fried chicken. And you won’t find better gourmet donuts, so it’s a win-win.

Beasley’s Chicken + Honey

237 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC 27601 
Phone: (919) 322-0127
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Chef Ashely Christensen opened Beasley’s Chicken + Honey and filled the menu with incredible southern home food.

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You’ll always get some variety of fried chicken and sides that are in season. The signature dish, fried chicken with honey, pays tribute to both of her parents.

She brines the chicken, dips it in buttermilk, coats it with flour, and then throws it in the pressure fryer. Afterward, she drizzles this crispy chicken with honey.

You can get brunch favorite chicken and waffles here too. My favorite dish is the chicken biscuit with tomato, dijon, and honey. Add an egg on top for an incredible experience.

Hattie’s Restaurant

45 Phila St, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Phone: (518) 584-4790
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Hattie Gray opened Hattie’s Chicken Shack in 1938 in Saratoga Springs. She was born in St. Francisville, Louisiana, and lived there until she got a job working for the Staley family in Chicago.

As soon as she saved enough, she moved to New York and opened her shack. 

People loved her southern cuisine and her southern hospitality. She and her husband were well known for their kindness and their fried chicken.

Luckily you can get her chicken any time of day with any number of scrumptious sides.


166 S. 4th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone: (347) 529-6090
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Sarah Sanneh and Carolyn Bane opened Pies-N-Thighs in 2006 near the Williamsburg Bridge.

They first opened their small dining room in a former beer storage closet, and eventually opened a larger location in 2010.

Pies-N-Thighs won several awards for its food, obviously including one for Best Fried Chicken.

You can fill up with a fried chicken box, chicken sandwich, chicken biscuit, or good ol’ chicken and waffles. You won’t be disappointed with anything you order.

Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken

340 W 145th St., New York, NY 10039
Phone: (212) 281-1800
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Charles Gabriel was born in South Carolina in 1947 to a large sharecropper family.

He had a long, interesting journey on his way to opening a restaurant in New York in the early 90s. He first learned to cook at home from his mother and refined his skills over 50 years.

Charles is known as the “Fried Chicken King of Harlem,” and he earned that title. You can have chicken pretty much any way you want it here.

And there’s a whole mess of genuine Southern sides like okra, grits, and collard greens.

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Barbecue Inn

116 West Crosstimbers Road, Houston, TX 77018
Phone: (713) 695-8112
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Louis and Nell Skrehot founded Barbecue Inn in 1946. Their two sons took over running the restaurant after serving in the army and are still in charge today.

Customers say that everything on the menu is delicious.

Originally they just served barbecue but eventually expanded to add other items like fried chicken.

Travel & Leisure and Food & Wine magazines and others recognize theirs as the best fried chicken in the US. You’ll have to head in to find out why.

Ad Hoc

6476 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599
Phone: (707) 944-2487
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Chef Thomas Keller opened Ad Hoc in 2006 in Napa Valley. He opened it as a placeholder restaurant until he could come up with a different concept, but everyone loved it.

They serve a four-course family-style menu that changes daily.

Their buttermilk fried chicken is so popular that it has scheduled days every week. You’ll have to go on Friday or Saturday at lunch to catch this tantalizing crispy chicken.

Busy Bee Cafe

810 Martin Luther King, Jr Dr, SW, Atlanta, GA 30314
Phone: (404) 525-9212
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Lucy Jackson, or Momma Lucy, opened the Busy Bee in 1947. She was a self-taught cook who drew inspiration for the restaurant’s name from her real life.

She successfully ran the restaurant for more than 20 years before selling the business and retiring. 

The menu is made up of all kinds of classic southern soul food. The star of the show is their fried chicken though.

You can choose between chicken and waffles or a variety of fried chicken pieces served over rice. I recommend following either plate up with a piece of cobbler.

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

505 US-70, Mason, TN 38049
Phone: (901) 294-2028
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Last but certainly not least, is Gus’s which has its roots in Mason, Tennessee.

Napolean “Na” Vanderbilt and his wife, Ms. Maggie, started by selling chicken sandwiches out of a tavern back door in 1953. Some locals donated supplies and Na built them a restaurant. It’s still there today.

Their son, Vernon “Gus” Bonner, took over the restaurant with his wife, Gertrude, in 1984 and renamed it.

Their hot and spicy fried chicken is now world-famous. People fly from all over to get a taste of the best fried chicken in the US.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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