Special Report

The 35 Best Fried Chicken Places in America

Source: Tung L. via Yelp

> Location: Chicago, Illinois
> Rating: 4.5

Meaty Korean-style fried chicken wings are the main draw at this super-casual counter-service place. Regulars recommend the version coated in Seoul Sassy sauce (involving ginger, soy, and garlic). Side dishes include two varieties of kimchi.

Source: Cross Street Chicken and Beer via Facebook

Cross Street Chicken and Beer
> Location: San Diego, California
> Rating: 4.5

This Korean-style fried chicken place sells oversize chicken wings, as well as drumsticks, thighs, and boneless breast strips. Ten different flavorings are offered, including soy garlic, Seoul Spicy (made with the Korean red chile paste called gochujang), and BBS Wing — which, warns the menu, “may leave a grown man crying.”

Source: Gerardo D. via Yelp

Dave’s Hot Chicken
> Location: Los Angeles, California
> Rating: 4.5

A strong L.A. entry on the hot chicken scene, with two locations up and running (the East Hollywood restaurant gets the nod here) and two more on the books. There are seven grades of seasoning available, from “no spice” to “reaper” (presumably a reference to the Carolina Reaper, very likely the world’s hottest chile).

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
> Location: Memphis, Tennessee
> Rating: 4.5

Napoleon “Na” Vanderbilt and his wife, Maggie, started selling fried chicken out the back door of a tavern in Mason, Tennessee, northeast of Memphis, in 1953. They opened a restaurant in the community 20 years later. Na’s son Vernon “Gus” Bonner inherited the place and renamed it for himself, and in 2001, with his blessing, a longtime customer of Bonner’s launched this Memphis offshoot. Today, there are about 30 locations, from New Orleans to Austin to Chicago to L.A. Chicken plates include baked beans, slaw, and white bread.

Source: Hattie B's Hot Chicken via Facebook

Hattie B’s Chicken – Midtown
> Location: Nashville, Tennessee
> Rating: 4.5

Hattie B’s offers counter-service hot chicken at three locations in the town where it all began — Nashville — plus one each in Memphis; Atlanta; Las Vegas; and Birmingham, Alabama. Heat levels here range from “Southern (no heat)” to “Shut the cluck up!!! (burn notice).” The Midtown/Broadway location in Nashville gets the most praise.