Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.
Michael Solomonov’s Federal Donuts; Philadelphia
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.
Michael Solomonov’s Federal Donuts
1632 Samson St.
Crack Shack; San Diego, CA
Richard Blais will be looking beyond the basic cuts, offering, for example, fried chicken “oysters”—the two small morsels of dark meat found on either side of a chicken’s backbone. The chefs will treat the oysters a bit like the bivalves for which they’re named: brined in pickle juice, deep-fried and served with Meyer lemon tartar sauce.
2266 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA, 92101,
Fuku; New York, NY
David Chang incited a cultural riot when he opened his fried chicken sandwich spot Fuku in New York’s East Village. Lines wrapped around the block for the crispy thigh meat, steeped in habanero and buttermilk and stacked in a steamed potato bun with fermented chickpea butter.
163 1st Avenue
New York, NY, 10003,
Watershed on Peachtree; Atlanta
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.
Watershed on Peachtree
1820 Peachtree St NW
Atlanta, GA, 30309,
Little Goat Diner; Chicago
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.
Little Goat Diner
820 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL, 60607,
Succotash Restaurant; National Harbor, MD
Ed Lee’s fried chicken at Succotash is served two ways: stacked with pickled okra and rosewater-scented waffles, then finished with curls of salty Manchego and a drizzle of maple syrup aged in Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels; and “dirty,” tossed in a funky Korean gochujang tweaked with mustard, coffee and fish sauce then plated with blue cheese, crumbled nori chips and pickled jalapeño.
186 Waterfront St
National Harbor, MD, 20745,
Yardbird Southern Table and Bar; Miami
Beasley's Chicken + Honey; Raleigh, NC
Wayfare Tavern; San Francisco
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.
558 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA, 94111,
Pies-N-Thighs; Brooklyn, NY
"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."
166 S 4th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11211,