Nashville's hot chicken. Served on a biscuit or soft potato buns. Topped with pickles, spicy aoili, bacon. The ways to serve a fried chicken sandwich are nearly endless. But we've tracked down our favorite fried chicken sandwiches from across the country. From traditional to Japanese-fried, there's a sandwich for everyone to sink their teeth into.[related]
Richards’ Southern Fried
The city’s newest fried chicken joint is giving the institutions a run for their money. Located in the Krog Street Market, Richards’ sources its chicken from one farm only and then coats the meat in a house-blended seasoning mix. Because this is the South, spice is key. The sandwiches are sold in three heat levels: classic, hot, and Richards’ hot (think three flames). A smear of chow-chow hot relish and some pimento cheese crown this ultimate Southern sandwich.
– Olivia Arnold, City Editor
Austinites are preparing themselves for the second location of Flyrite Chicken this month. This feel-good fast-food restaurant was created by an alum of local favorites Which Wich and County Line BBQ. Though the food is served quickly, the restaurant uses slow sourcing techniques, seeking out antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed chicken, and mindfully sourced products. The fried chicken sandwich can be made Superfly by adding toppings like bacon, jalapeños, cole slaw, and guac (this is Texas, after all). Take advantage of the drive-thru to experience the new fast food or grab one of the local beers and sit in the outdoor patio for a more leisurely meal.
– DM Meador, Austin contributor
When you’re looking for an excellent fried chicken sandwich, look for a restaurant that excels in comfort food. This downtown restaurant took all the elements of a classic greasy spoon (24-hour service, sandwiches, and casual atmosphere) and improved the experience. There’s a full bar with wine, beer, and cocktails, and the menu features local and organic products, including the chicken sandwich. Served on a baked-fresh bun, this sandwich is topped with apricot slaw and a spicy chipotle remoulade. Plus, you get your choice of white or dark meat. Perfect for lunch, dinner, or whatever meal happens at 2 a.m.
– Leilani Lim-Villegas, City Editor
The ultimate fried chicken sandwich belongs on a biscuit, which is exactly how Hominy Grill serves its Charleston Nasty Biscuit. This recently renamed sandwich is amazing and extremely popular (its popularity drew the ire of another brand, who threatened them with a trademark violation). The fried chicken breast is topped with Cheddar and slathered in sausage gravy. Is it a perfect dinner sandwich? A brunch-time hangover cure? Honestly, both and more. Just pick a time when you can bite into the sandwich and not worry about the gravy dripping down your fingers.
– Angel Postell, City Editor
The duo of fried chicken sandwiches served at this South Beach hotspot could easily be shared, but why would you? The biscuits, made throughout the day, are prepared with honey and lots of butter from “mama’s” secret recipe. (We were unable to confirm whose mother it was, but we want to be part of that family.) A smear of pepper jelly brings just the right amount of sweet heat. So, sure, you could share these sliders, but we suspect you won’t.
– Becky Randel, City Editor
There is no better place to indulge in infamous hot chicken than Nashville, home to the kind of hot chicken that keeps you lingering near the hot seat hours to follow. Don't be fooled by Colonel Sanders’ version, folks; you can find the best hot chicken sandwich in town at Hattie B's in Midtown.
It happened when Hattie B's catered the Ascend Amphitheater with their food trailer. The hot chicken sandwich was constructed for the concert-goers — specifically made for easy handling — and it was a hit. After a few late nights (I'm sure with lots of brews and naked chicken bones), executive chef John Lasater decided it was time to make this sammy for the masses. They offer heat levels for multiple palates. (Shut The Cluck Up comes with a warning label!) The hot chicken sandwich here comes with a chicken breast, cole slaw, Nashville comeback sauce (signature dry spice blend, honey, and mayonnaise), a kosher pickle plus one side for $9. Local tip: Lines can get long (as in “can't even see the front door for 30 minutes” kind of long) so call ahead, wear comfortable shoes, or take it to go!
– Heidi Carter, City Editor
The PDR Nola
When it comes to fried chicken sandwiches in New Orleans, my favorite actually comes from a pop-up restaurant called The PDR Nola. They serve a cold fried-chicken sandwich that is out of this world! You have to be on your toes though: This roving sandwich is found in limited quantities on a set schedule posted to the website. Or, you could ask them to come cater a small meal in your home. No lines!
– Michelle Brennan, City Editor
In an era when fried chicken sammies are as ubiquitous as grilled cheese, Seattle's Wandering Goose stands above the rest. At Heather Earnhardt's Southern comfort spot, this blue ribbon-worthy beauty features a buttery, freshly baked biscuit stuffed with deboned chicken thighs, pickles, and a mustard honey sauce whose golden goods are sourced from the rooftop bees.
– Alexis Steinman, City Editor
Basilisk was a bit of a sleeper hit when it opened, being less anticipated than other spots in town. It sits in the Zipper, a collection of micro-eateries and a bar, one of the first of Portland’s growing dining hall establishments (the other notable one being Pine Street Market). Basilisk does three things: soft serve, fries, and the best fried chicken sandwich in Portland. It’s a massive thing — barely able to stand up under its own weight — and is garnished with just a few pickles. The crispy skin and perfectly juicy chicken meat are simply divine.
Basilisk is also the first place in town to take a shot at Hot Chicken, the spicy fried chicken dish that is iconic in Nashville. It’s not quite as hot as something you’ll find at Prince’s, but it’s plenty good itself.
– Alex Frane, City Editor
Bantam King, which has made a name for itself with its incredible chicken ramen and fried chicken platters, has added a new fried chicken sandwich to their menu, and it’s by far the winner in this contest.
Forget about Korean fried chicken and head to Bantam King for Japanese-style fried chicken. The chicken is a lovely golden brown with a deliciously crisp exterior and tender, juicy interior. It’s then placed on a toasted Martin’s potato bun and generously spread with a zesty herb-infused buttermilk sauce made with Japanese and America-style mayonnaise. Rather than overwhelm the flavor of the chicken with too many garnishes, Katsuya’s chicken sandwich is garnished simply with fresh lettuce, cabbage, and pickles. Bantam King gives you the most cluck for your buck at $10 for the sandwich plus a side of French fries sprinkled with nori flakes.
-Summer Whitford, City Editor