Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room: Savannah, Ga.
The menu at Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room in Savannah, Georgia, changes every day, but you can rest assured you’ll get your fried chicken fix, so long as you don’t mind waiting in line. Expect crowds to start lining up at around 9 a.m. outside of this local institution, which has tables of 10, so you should also expect to cozy up to some new fried chicken comrades you might be seated with at your table. This family-run restaurant has been open since 1943.
Son of a Gun: Los Angeles
If you find yourself in Los Angeles, then stopping for some fried chicken at Son of a Gun should be at the top of your list (and not just because it’s at the top of ours). This isn’t your typical plate of fried chicken; here, you’ll find a hearty, fried chicken sandwich on the menu. The sandwich is loaded with spicy B&B pickle slaw and some Rooster aioli. This $11 sandwich will be well worth every penny (and bite).
Momofuku Noodle Bar: New York City
Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City doesn’t just serve fried chicken; Momofuku Noodle Bar serves a feast. Expect to get two whole fried chickens, one Southern style chicken that is fried with a buttermilk and old bay batter, and one Korean style chicken that is triple fried and served with a light spicy glaze. As if that’s not enough, the meal comes with mu shu pancakes, baby carrots, red ball radishes, Bibb lettuce, four sauces, and an herb basket.
Willie Mae's Scotch House: New Orleans
Miss Willie Mae has been serving up mind-blowing fried chicken from a shack attached to her home for more than 30 years. The low-key operation remained a local treasure until 2005 when the James Beard Foundation honored it with its "American Classic" award and let the rest of the nation in on the secret. A few weeks after winning the award, Willie Mae’s Scotch House was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, so members of the Southern Foodways Alliance pulled together to rebuild the cherished chicken establishment. Mae’s great-granddaughter runs the Scotch House now, upholding the same dedication to unadulterated Southern cuisine that the restaurant is so well known for.
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken: Mason and Memphis, Tenn.
The original Gus’s is in Mason, with a second location in the nearby city of Memphis. Both locations take their time when it comes to frying chicken, often taking twice as long to complete an order than the estimated time, but the wait is nothing once you take a bite of the heavenly chicken. The golden-brown crust on the outside locks in the juicy exterior, just as it should, and the seasoning of salt and cayenne shines through. So kick back at a gingham tablecloth-covered table, listen to the tunes playing from the jukebox, and await the arrival of a meal well worth it.