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10 Fried Chicken Spots to Try Right Now

Here's where to partake in some of the best preparations of fried bird

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If there's one thing Chicagoans share a love for after pizzas and sausages, it's fried chicken. These days, it's all the rage as new spots are popping up all over town.

From high-end restaurants to almost literal shacks, the following places on Eater Chicago's Fried Chicken Guide are some of the best around at frying pieces of bird to juicy, golden perfection. Some are traditional while others are unconventional with their recipes but one thing's certain: they do this Southern staple just right.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Harold's Chicken Shack

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1208 E 53rd St
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 667-9835
A Chicago institution that’s been serving up fried bird for decades, Harold’s is one of the city’s quintessential restaurants. Luckily for us there are plenty of locations across town, most of which are located on the South Side. The signature dinners include a quarter or half order of white or dark meat along with fries, coleslaw and two slices of bread to soak up all the greasy goodness. You can’t call yourself a true Chicagoan until you’ve had Harold’s.

2. Big Jones

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5347 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 275-5725
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Big Jones has perhaps the best lunch deal in the city with its fried chicken special. Chef Paul Fehribach’s Southern heirloom cooking uses a classic Edna Lewis recipe, brining Amish chicken in herbs and spices before frying it in leaf lard, ham drippings and clarified butter. It’s enough to induce an afternoon food coma. And if you can’t make it for lunch, it’s also available during dinner hours as well.

3. The Roost Carolina Kitchen

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1467 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60613
(312) 405-8482
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Food truck-turned-storefront, The Roost is a new spot focused on Southern down-home cooking. It’s also the closest you’ll get to authentic Nashville hot chicken without leaving the state. The chicken is slathered with a fiery cayenne paste that has a hint of sweetness and is definitely not for the faint of heart. Try it if you dare, and you may never think of fried chicken the same way again.

4. Crisp

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2940 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 697-7610
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It might be easy to overlook a Korean fried chicken joint but you’d be missing out on some tasty jumbo wings. While you can get them plain, the fried chicken here is best eaten sauced. There are traditional BBQ and buffalo options but it’s the Seoul Sassy that really shines. It’s a sweet sauce, made with ginger, soy, garlic and other spices, that’s a favorite and helps separate Crisp from other chicken places.

5. Evanston Chicken Shack

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1925 Ridge Ave
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 328-9360
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Nestled next to downtown Evanston and the Northwestern campus, Evanston Chicken Shack has been a neighborhood favorite for more than two decades. The meat is seasoned with just the right blend of salt and pepper and served with a side of barbecue or hot sauce. Toss in a biscuit with the order and you’ve got a meal that keeps them coming back for more.

6. Smalls.

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4009 N Albany Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(312) 857-4221
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Although smalls. might be known more for its Asian-influenced barbecue, the fried chicken is no afterthought. It’s brined in buttermilk and lightly breaded for crispy, juicy pieces of white or dark meat. It’s never easy to pass on brisket but it’s okay in this instance. You won’t even care that you’re eating in a tiny shack the size of a bedroom.

7. Table Fifty-Two

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52 W Elm St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 573-4000
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Art Smith’s Table Fifty-Two specializes in high-end Southern cuisine but that doesn’t mean it can’t make killer fried chicken as well. The bird is brined and marinated in buttermilk before being fried to golden perfection in a skillet. On Sundays, it’s available during brunch as a chicken and waffles dish that’s better than any other version you’ve ever had.

8. Parson's Chicken & Fish

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2952 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 384-3333
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The Longman & Eagle team’s chicken joint has been a hotspot since it opened and it’s easy to see why. The chicken is brined before mixed in a buttermilk hot sauce with plenty of spices thrown in. The results are moist, flavorful pieces of fried chicken with a little bit of heat. Grab a spot on the ever-popular patio when it’s nice out, order a few drinks and you’ve got one of the best seats in town for fried chicken.

9. Honey Butter Fried Chicken

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3361 N Elston Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 478-4000
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The popular Avondale spot was born from a series of pop-up dinners and fans continue to flock here for the excellent fried chicken. The restaurant butchers its own chickens in-house but unlike other places, removes the bones before frying. Yet the meat remains as juicy and flavorful as the competition. Slather on some of the signature honey butter for a sweet and salty mix that’s reminiscent of syrupy chicken and waffles.

10. Bavette's Bar and Boeuf

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218 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 624-8154
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Brendan Sodikoff’s red-hot steakhouse might not boast about its fried chicken as one of the signature dishes but it should. It’s perfectly crispy, juicy and served with a side of hot sauce and buttermilk ranch. And while it probably won’t be the first item on the menu that catches your eye, you’ll have the last laugh over your steak-eating friends once you take a bite.

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1. Harold's Chicken Shack

1208 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615
A Chicago institution that’s been serving up fried bird for decades, Harold’s is one of the city’s quintessential restaurants. Luckily for us there are plenty of locations across town, most of which are located on the South Side. The signature dinners include a quarter or half order of white or dark meat along with fries, coleslaw and two slices of bread to soak up all the greasy goodness. You can’t call yourself a true Chicagoan until you’ve had Harold’s.
1208 E 53rd St
Chicago, IL 60615

2. Big Jones

5347 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
Big Jones has perhaps the best lunch deal in the city with its fried chicken special. Chef Paul Fehribach’s Southern heirloom cooking uses a classic Edna Lewis recipe, brining Amish chicken in herbs and spices before frying it in leaf lard, ham drippings and clarified butter. It’s enough to induce an afternoon food coma. And if you can’t make it for lunch, it’s also available during dinner hours as well.
5347 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

3. The Roost Carolina Kitchen

1467 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60613
Food truck-turned-storefront, The Roost is a new spot focused on Southern down-home cooking. It’s also the closest you’ll get to authentic Nashville hot chicken without leaving the state. The chicken is slathered with a fiery cayenne paste that has a hint of sweetness and is definitely not for the faint of heart. Try it if you dare, and you may never think of fried chicken the same way again.
1467 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60613

4. Crisp

2940 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657
It might be easy to overlook a Korean fried chicken joint but you’d be missing out on some tasty jumbo wings. While you can get them plain, the fried chicken here is best eaten sauced. There are traditional BBQ and buffalo options but it’s the Seoul Sassy that really shines. It’s a sweet sauce, made with ginger, soy, garlic and other spices, that’s a favorite and helps separate Crisp from other chicken places.
2940 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657

5. Evanston Chicken Shack

1925 Ridge Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Nestled next to downtown Evanston and the Northwestern campus, Evanston Chicken Shack has been a neighborhood favorite for more than two decades. The meat is seasoned with just the right blend of salt and pepper and served with a side of barbecue or hot sauce. Toss in a biscuit with the order and you’ve got a meal that keeps them coming back for more.
1925 Ridge Ave
Evanston, IL 60201

6. Smalls.

4009 N Albany Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Although smalls. might be known more for its Asian-influenced barbecue, the fried chicken is no afterthought. It’s brined in buttermilk and lightly breaded for crispy, juicy pieces of white or dark meat. It’s never easy to pass on brisket but it’s okay in this instance. You won’t even care that you’re eating in a tiny shack the size of a bedroom.
4009 N Albany Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

7. Table Fifty-Two

52 W Elm St, Chicago, IL 60610
Art Smith’s Table Fifty-Two specializes in high-end Southern cuisine but that doesn’t mean it can’t make killer fried chicken as well. The bird is brined and marinated in buttermilk before being fried to golden perfection in a skillet. On Sundays, it’s available during brunch as a chicken and waffles dish that’s better than any other version you’ve ever had.
52 W Elm St
Chicago, IL 60610

8. Parson's Chicken & Fish

2952 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
The Longman & Eagle team’s chicken joint has been a hotspot since it opened and it’s easy to see why. The chicken is brined before mixed in a buttermilk hot sauce with plenty of spices thrown in. The results are moist, flavorful pieces of fried chicken with a little bit of heat. Grab a spot on the ever-popular patio when it’s nice out, order a few drinks and you’ve got one of the best seats in town for fried chicken.
2952 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

9. Honey Butter Fried Chicken

3361 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
The popular Avondale spot was born from a series of pop-up dinners and fans continue to flock here for the excellent fried chicken. The restaurant butchers its own chickens in-house but unlike other places, removes the bones before frying. Yet the meat remains as juicy and flavorful as the competition. Slather on some of the signature honey butter for a sweet and salty mix that’s reminiscent of syrupy chicken and waffles.
3361 N Elston Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

10. Bavette's Bar and Boeuf

218 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654
Brendan Sodikoff’s red-hot steakhouse might not boast about its fried chicken as one of the signature dishes but it should. It’s perfectly crispy, juicy and served with a side of hot sauce and buttermilk ranch. And while it probably won’t be the first item on the menu that catches your eye, you’ll have the last laugh over your steak-eating friends once you take a bite.
218 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654

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