While we appreciate a good marsala or coq au vin, sometimes going back to basics with a big ol’ plate of fried chicken is a must. And with National Fried Chicken Day (July 6th) on the horizon, here are the best spots in Philadelphia for this artery-clogging classic. – Chelsea Karnash
This old school, Jefferson Hospital staff haunt offers chicken out the wazoo, but the star of the menu is undoubtedly the Korean-fried bird. Skip the so-so sides and just get the chicken, which somehow manages to stay crispy despite a thorough slathering of sauce.
Since opening in University City last year, the Fat Ham has quickly made its mark as one of the best spots to nosh on fried birds. Chef Kevin Sbraga makes his chicken extra spicy and extra juicy, then plates it on top slices of ranch-drenched bread for one coronary-inducing — but delicious! — meal.
Center City: 1632 Sansom St
South Philly: 1219 S 2nd St
While FedDo’s ‘nuts are pretty scrumptious, the Korean-fried chicken is where it’s really at. Get there early, but not too early – the chicken is available from 11 a.m. until the store sells out (and that’s usually pretty fast!). Whether you order a half, a whole or wings, each order of fried deliciousness comes with Japanese cucumber pickles, a fresh honey donut and your choice of dry seasoning, wet glaze or — for you simply folk — “naked.”
Settle in to this Brady Bunch-esque eatery and prepare for a dinner-dessert combo that’s the stuff of dreams. I’m referring, of course, to the fried chicken and waffles entrée that elevates the Southern classic to new heights. And if you just can’t stomach the thought of this sweet and savory combo, you can always order the equally-satisfying fried chicken basket, which comes with fries and coleslaw.
If you’re going to call yourself a soul food restaurant, you’d better do great fried chicken, and Ms. Tootsie’s doesn’t disappoint. This upscale South Street café serves a perfectly-seasoned entrée you’ll just have to pair with the mac ‘n cheese…and a slice of sweet potato cheesecake. Sure, you might have to roll out the door afterwards, but, hey, it’s good for the soul, right?
Get your Southern fried chicken fix at Rex 1516, where Chef Justin Swain brines the drumsticks and thighs in sweet tea for 24 hours before dredging them in a mix of secret spices, dipping them in hot sauce and buttermilk, and frying ‘em up. The delish entree comes with red bliss potato salad and house-made smoked sriracha.
Seasonal American cooking may be the focus at Supper, but any regular knows to show up on Tuesday nights for Chef Prensky’s awesome fried chicken special. For $25, you’ll get the restaurant’s beloved pastrami-fried chicken, two flour biscuits and a rotating side from Blue Elephant Farm, a privately owned organic farm in Newtown. Throw in an order of Supper’s take on deviled eggs, and you’ll be in comfort food heaven.