Have you ever felt the need to plan a road trip purely based around where you’ll be eating? No judgement, we’ve all been there. Thanks to your favorite Spoon U correspondents, we’ve got you covered for the fried chicken trip (and honestly, what better incentive to pack your things and drive cross country than perfectly breaded, crispy chicken? Read: nothing).
So get out your itineraries and make sure you plan ahead for all 25 of these best places to go for fried chicken in America…and be sure to send us a copy so we can tag along.
1. The HotHouse – Brooklyn, NY
In the words of one very enthusiastic Yelp reviewer, “run, don’t walk” to The HotHouse for some extra hot fried chicken. Trust us, you’ll be glad you ran…that way, you won’t feel as guilty about those extra calories when you order a second plate.
2. Screen Door – Portland, OR
Go for breakfast and stay for dinner, because you can get fried chicken in every meal at Screen Door. Serving local and organic produce and meats, Screen Door is one Portland eatery you don’t want to miss.
3. Ezell’s Famous Chicken – Seattle, WA (and many more)
If you want to feel like a celeb, make sure you make time for Seattle on your road trip, because Oprah Winfrey herself referred to Ezell’s as her favorite fried chicken. As Oprah probably once said, “You get fried chicken, you get fried chicken, you all get fried chicken.”
4. Chicken Shack – Baton Rouge, LA
As Chicken Shack proudly states, this chicken is knuckle suckin’ good (with knuckle suckin’ good deals). Don’t miss out on their special cornbread dressing, or go for the Two-Piece Tuesday – two pieces under two bucks.
5. Champy’s – Chattanooga, TN (and many more)
The neon lights and good music will only add to your experience at Champy’s. Bring out your adventurous side by ordering some fried pickles, fried jalapeños, or frog legs (let us know how those are), and finish up your meal with a homemade pie.
6. Raising Cane’s – Baton Rouge, LA (and many more)
Cheap, convenient, and delicious, what more could you ask for? Popular in the midwest, Raising Cane’s even made its way into the number one spot of LSU’s ranking of fried chicken in Baton Rouge.
7. Chicken Supreme – Paterson, NJ
A hole in the wall place in New Jersey with top notch service, Chicken Supreme will have you feeling more than supreme after you devour some of their crispy, fresh chicken. Make sure you try the banana pudding, too (if you have room).
8. Hattie B’s Hot Chicken – Nashville, TN
It’s all in the name: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken really is hot. See if you can make it all the way to the fifth spice level, Shut the Cluck Up, or if you’ll stick with the Southern starter level. Want to impress your friends? We got you with these tips to up your spice tolerance.
9. Tupelo Honey Cafe – Raleigh, NC (and many more)
It’s happy hour every hour at Tupelo Honey Cafe (and for twelve of them, you get special deals). Southern food with a creative twist, try everything from the sweet potato pancakes with fried chicken and bacon, to the fried chicken BLT.
10. Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken – Las Vegas, NV & New York, NY
Sauce fanatic? This upscale fried chicken eatery has you covered, with everything from wasabi honey to habanero hot sauce. Not convinced? Check out their Instagram if you want to spend hours crying over delicious-looking photos you kind of wish were framed in your house.
11. D Bar – Denver, CO
We all know that chicken and waffles is one of the best food combinations, up on the list with the cronut and sushi burrito. So, take chicken and waffles and put it in sandwich form and you’re left with something almost too beautiful to eat. I mean, look at that photo, it belongs in a museum. Make sure you order one of these Southern Fried Belgian Sandwiches (or try the 2.0 and add bacon).
12. Brenda’s French Soul Food – San Francisco, CA
Deservingly ranking number one on SF Weekly’s Top 10 Best Places for Fried Chicken in San Francisco, Brenda’s does not disappoint. Get your fried chicken in breakfast form with the fried chicken eggs Benedict, or order the BFC for three pieces chicken, a cream biscuit, hot pepper jelly, collard greens and a gut-feeling that you should probably go to the gym afterwards.
13. Reunion Kitchen + Drink – Anaheim, CA
Yukon mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuit with honey butter, grilled broccolini, and hand-battered fried chicken…this dream could become a reality when you order the Rosemary’s Chicken & Biscuits. As the “+ Drink” in their name suggests, you can also choose a killer drink from the extensive beverage menu to accompany your entree.
14. Delaney Chicken – New York, NY
If you’re craving your fried chicken in sandwich form, make sure you stop by Vanderbilt’s Urbanspace for some Delaney Chicken. If you’re still feeling hungry afterward, make sure you try the mac & cheese with jalapeño-infused mornay sauce.
15. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken – St. Louis, MO (and many more)
World famous, and rightfully so. Fried with a kick, Gus’s will have you alternating between gulps of water and bites of chicken.
16. Seoul Street – Ann Arbor, MI
Get your fried chicken Korean style, with glazes like Soy Garlic and Hot & Spicy and side dishes including fried rice and bibimbap rice bowls. Mouthwateringly good, University of Michigan even went so far as to classify Seoul Street as the best fried chicken in Ann Arbor.
17. Harold’s Chicken Shack – Chicago, IL (and many more)
“The fried chicken king of the South Suburbs,” Harold’s is an old-school, no fuss chicken joint. Not only does the hot sauce add the perfect spice to your chicken, but the fries are also the perfect way to end your meal.
18. Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken – Washington, DC & Falls Church, VA
Not only can you get some of the best fried chicken in almost every form imaginable, but you can also choose from a mouthwatering selection of donuts to accompany your main course. Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken uses local, seasonal fruit and produce, so keep checking back in for new, tasty menu options.
19. Church’s Chicken – Austin, TX (and many more)
Crispy chicken and some of the best biscuits around, this soul food eatery will have you coming back again and again. Church’s was even voted one of the best places for fried chicken in Austin by students at the University of Texas.
20. Free Range LA – Los Angeles, CA
Couldn’t make it to Coachella this year? It’s okay, Free Range LA did (and we all know the best food is found at music festivals), so if you eat here it’s basically like you went. Free Range is a food truck, so make sure you follow them on social media to find out where they’re heading next.
These chicken and waffles take it to a new level with crisp slices of pickles sprinkled on top. Be sure to order the fried cheese curds, too, or else your stop at Graze isn’t complete.
22. Babe’s Chicken Dinner House – Roanoke, TX (and many more)
Family style comfort food, you’re guaranteed to leave Babe’s with a happy (and very full) stomach. Not only will the chicken have you smiling, but you also get unlimited sides of fluffy biscuits, salad, green beans, creamed corn, mashed potatoes and gravy.
23. Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles – Los Angeles, CA (and many more)
If you’re lucky, you might run into one of Roscoe’s more famous fans, Snoop Dogg, while you’re chowing down on a waffle. You can even sport these chicken and waffle sneakers while you eat for an all-around memorable meal experience.
24. Honey Butter Fried Chicken – Chicago, IL
25. Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles – Phoenix, AZ (and many more)
Some of the best chicken and waffles in the area, Lo-Lo’s food and comfortable, friendly atmosphere is hard to beat. Be sure to complete your meal with a side of the cornbread, grits and kool-aid.
Excited yet? We are, too. (Again, we’d like to emphasize to please send us a copy of your itinerary before you leave for what may be the best road trip in the history of road trips.)