Where to Feast on Fried Chicken in Chicago
The sun is shining, the temperature is heating up and cravings for summery classics like fried chicken are at an all-time high, making it an apt time to round up some of Chicago’s finest variations of this all-American specialty. From new dishes to timeworn favorites, here’s where to get your fix right now.
Feed: While many restaurants and hot spots and newcomers throughout the city peddle buzzy interpretations of fried chicken, Feed has been perfecting the comfort food formula for years. The frills-free, Southern-inspired eatery in Humboldt Park is still among the best destinations for chicken in any form in Chicago. The rotisserie chicken is a popular go-to, but don’t shy away from the fried birds either, especially the dark meat portions. If you’re really feeling hungry, order the 1/2 chicken with two sides, with savorous options like corn pudding, fried okra, succotash, potato salad and mac & cheese.
Fried Chicken & Farm Shop: Nestled inside Soho House Chicago, you’ll find a pastoral restaurant capable of transporting you and your senses to the English countryside. Decked out like a sunny, serene cottage, Chicken & Farm Shop knows a thing or two about comfort in all forms. In addition to the heartwarming ambience, that notion is evident in the menu offerings too. As the name suggests, chicken is king here, and the kitchen has a particular penchant for frying. Nuggets, sandwiches and buttermilk battered chicken and waffles are all on hand, offering different takes on the staple.
The Roost: Armed with a food truck and some family recipes, North Carolina native Joe Scroggs began a fried chicken revolution in Chicago when he took his fiery fried chicken recipe to the streets on his popular food truck. In 2012, The Roost branched out well beyond its food truck roots and into a restaurant space at the northern tip of Lakeview, serving signature hot or herb-seasoned fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits and peach cobbler.
Roister: When one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world opens a restaurant with fried chicken as a star attraction, it’s safe to assume that it’s going to be above-average chicken, to say the least. The folks behind Alinea put fried chicken in a whole new spotlight at Roister, where the humble comfort food ascends to glorious new levels. The highly Instagrammable dish is part of a multi-step whole-chicken preparation that’s served with sunchokes and chamomile, and there’s also a more casual fried chicken sandwich that gets a punch of sunchoke hot sauce and some fragrant chamomile mayo.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken: Chicago’s mighty fried chicken pioneers are still at the top of their poultry game, as Avodnale’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken still draws crowds of hungry customers to its casual eatery every day of the week that it’s open. The popularity and hype is legit. The boneless, locally sourced chickens are fried until golden brown, then served as a platter of breasts, drumsticks and thighs, or in alternative options like sandwiches, mac & cheese, nachos, French toast and tacos. In case it wasn’t clear, this is fried chicken heaven. Then there’s the namesake honey butter, which gilds the lily as a sweet and creamy topping to any and all fried chicken creations.
Dove’s Luncheonette: When most people think of Tex-Mex, be it classic and no-frills or totally neoteric and adventurous, they think of enchiladas and tacos and tequila. Fried chicken may not be the most obvious go-to, but it fits in well at Dove’s Luncheonette, which does a top-notch job with clever Tex-Mex in Wicker Park. A nod to chicken-fried steak, a Texas staple, the chicken-fried chicken was an instant hit at the sunny restaurant, and it remains as fiendishly popular as ever. That’s thanks to the comforting combo of buttermilk fried chicken and creamy, spicy chorizo verde gravy. The heaping plate gets a welcome dose of brightness and sweetness thanks to peas and pearl onions.
Oyster Bah: Seafood gets top billing at this familial, nautically inspired Lincoln Park haunt, but you’d remiss to skim over the fried chicken, which is a real sleeper hit on the expansive menu. The rendition here contains a hulking portion of crispy chicken seasoned with Old Bay spices, served with sides of cole slaw and fries. Those spices are key, adding just the right mix of heat and herbs. For those looking for fried chicken at home, the restaurant also offers the same chicken to-go from its adjoining carryout and delivery concept, Seaside’s.