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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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