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Nestled next to waffles, slathered in hot sauce or sandwiched between (yep) a glazed doughnut. These are Chicago’s best versions of fried chicken. Grab a wet nap and get a table pronto.

RELATED: Chicago’s Best Sandwiches

CHI fried chicken LIST1

CHICAGO’S HOME OF CHICKEN & WAFFLES

Start your day off right with this sweet-and-savory pairing. By now, many North Side brunch places have started serving up the classic dish, but for Chicago’s original—topped with melted butter and sweet-sticky syrup—you must head south.

Multiple locations; chicagoschickenandwaffles.com

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THE BUDLONG

No need to travel to Nashville for hot chicken; just hit up this Lincoln Park eatery. Expect a hearty portion whether you choose the sandwich, plate or even tenders. All are available at mild, medium or extra spicy levels—trust us, even the mild packs some serious heat. 

1008 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-270-9005 or thebudlong.com

CHI fried chicken LIST3

Parson’s Chicken & Fish

This Humboldt Park spot has become known for its patio scene, but don’t let that trick you into doubting its culinary chops. The ownership is the same team behind Longman & Eagle, after all. True to form, they’ve developed a recipe that begins with brining and a spicy buttermilk batter that will make any foodie bow in respect. 

2952 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-384-3333 or parsonschickenandfish.com

CHI fried chicken LIST4

Bonchon

If you thought fried chicken was only an American dish, it’s time to expand your culinary horizons. This Korean chain specializes in wings and drumsticks coated in an airy, tempura-like batter. Choose spicy or soy garlic sauce and get ready to feast. 

2163 S. China Pl.; 312-877-5832 or bonchon.com

CHI fried chicken LIST5
Honey Butter Fried Chicken/Facebook

Honey Butter Fried Chicken

HBFC started as a series of pop-up dinners serving honey-butter-covered (and humanely raised) chicken. The response was so overwhelming, it was only natural to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant...and try the chicken on everything from tacos to french toast.

3361 N. Elston Ave.; 773-478-4000 or honeybutter.com

CHI fried chicken LIST6

GUS’S WORLD FAMOUS FRIED CHICKEN

“You can’t keep good fried chicken a secret.” So goes the Gus’s story. It started more than 60 years in small-town Mason, Tennessee. Since then, it’s expanded to 22 locations. The secret has to be the frying technique, which gives a darker color, slightly brittle texture and juicy meat.

847 W. Fulton Market; 312-733-1971 or gusfriedchicken.com

CHI fried chicken LIST7

Crisp

Lines wrap out the door for this Korean chicken. People can’t get enough of the Seoul Sassy wings: Must be the ginger-soy dressing, which creates a delectably caramelized crust.

2940 N. Broadway St.; 773-697-7610 or crisponline.com

CHI fried chicken LIST8

The Roost Carolina Kitchen

Not too shabby: The Roost started as a food truck and now has two locations. Owner Joe Scroggs hails from North Carolina and proudly dishes out the state’s famed spicy style. But Scrogg’s milder, seasoned chicken tastes just as wonderful, especially when sandwiched in a homemade biscuit.

Multiple locations; theroostcarolinakitchen.com

CHI fried chicken LIST9

Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee

Select Do-Rite locations make a fried chicken sandwich using hormone-free meat that’s first brined. It’s typically served on a bun, but since you can’t leave Do-Rite without a doughnut, save some time by getting the Sweet Heat. It sandwiches the spicy chicken in a glazed doughnut with maple aioli.

Multiple locations; doritedonuts.com

HAROLD’S CHICKEN SHACK

A real Chicago icon, Harold’s has been around for decades and owns locations across the city. For the true experience, get the chicken dinner with white or dark meat, coleslaw, fries and two slices of toast.

Multiple locations; haroldschicken55.com/menu 

RELATED: 10 OF THE BEST CHICAGO RESTAURANTS THAT AREN’T ACTUALLY IN CHICAGO

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