Fried Chicken. One of, if not the south’s greatest contributions to the world (even if the south did not invent fried chicken I am going to choose to believe they did anyway). It is only fitting that New Orleans, being right in the heart of the greasy south, would have it’s fair share of fried chicken establishments. So this week, in order to enlighten you for your next time down to Nola, I have compiled a list of my favorite fried chicken purveyors.
For the past week I have not had anything to eat but fried chicken. No, seriously for 5 consecutive dinners I literally had fried chicken. I am going to be honest and admit by the end of it I was not looking forward to the fried chicken dinners, but research is research. I picked the five chicken places that I thought best represented the city, although, I excluded anywhere that could be labeled as a “sit-down” restaurant. Also to keep it fair I ordered a variation of the same order at each place (2 piece white meat and fries). My two favorite things about fried chicken are crunchy skin and good flavor / spice so keep that in mind while you read.
My pre-week guess on rankings were as follows:
3. Brother’s (gas station)
5. Ideal (gas station)
Although I will say Popeye’s was my sleeper pick due to their presence as a national chain.
Now time for the post week rankings.
We will start at the bottom and work our way up to the top.
This surprised me. While not bad, it lacked any crunch or noticeable flavor which left it bland and not all that exciting to me. I really thought that this would by far be the best around, but it was a disappointment in the end. Their fries and other food however are all pretty appetizing and they also offer an amazing $1.39 breakfast special. (Also smallest they sell is a 5 piece for $4.99 so that is what I got)
to see where the rest of NOLA’s fine fried chicken establishments line up (and more mouth watering pictures)!
I know you are thinking, “How could he have been this far off with his initial rankings?” I blame everyone else in New Orleans. Both McHardy’s and McKenzie’s are touted as having great southern fried foods by everyone I know, including myself, until this comparison. The fried chicken at McKenzie’s had more flavor and slightly more crunch than McHardy’s but neutralized both by being the greasiest fried chicken by far. Honestly, McKenzie’s only gets the nod over McHardy’s because their sides are better and they have more variety. (Ditto on the 5 piece for $5.19)
Ideal Gas Station on the corner of Orleans Ave and Jefferson Davis
Finally, crispy and crunchy fried chicken. While still pretty heavy on the grease, the chicken had a great crunch to it and was still moist on the inside. That shine you see on the top of the dinner roll is pure buttery goodness, so much buttery goodness in fact that there is no way I could stomach eating a whole roll. (the meal was nicely priced at $3.19 for the 2 piece)
Again, I know what you are thinking…Yes, I have Popeye’s at #2. No, I am not some idiot who has never had good fried chicken. Yes, I was raised in the south and still picked Popeye’s as my #2. I am not going to lie, it is real tasty. The chicken has a great crunch, a nice spicy flavor, and it is consistent in its preparation. I also think that Popeye’s had the best dinner roll of the bunch as well. If you want a piece of Louisiana cooking elsewhere go into a Popeye’s with an open mind and an empty stomach. (2 Piece combo for $5 and change. Also, since they were out of wings they gave me two breast at no charge, which is great customer service in my opinion)
Brother’s gas station on Elysian Fields and I-610
Amazing. Simply Amazing. The chicken not only had the best crunch to the skin, but it also had the best flavor of them all. It was spicy and, surprisingly, the best cooked of all the restaurants. While crunchy on the outside, the inside was still perfectly moist, which many of the others failed at. I will be going back for my fried chicken needs from now on. (2 piece combo for $4.98)
Well that concludes my roundup of the best fried chicken in New Orleans. Feel free to dispute or discuss my rankings as much as you would like, but I would challenge you to try them all and give them all a fair chance. I hope that for those of you who have not had much fried chicken on your trips to New Orleans this encourages you to think out of the Po’ Boy, Gumbo, etc. box next time you visit.
As for the past two weeks on Terpsichore:
With the help of an amazing group from College of the Holy Cross, that I am sad is no longer down here, we managed to re-frame the left side of the first floor of the house. After another solid week with a group of college kids from Rhode Island we now have the front wall framed, the landing footer poured, and the back yard organized and de-nailed. Here are a few pictures to get you up to date:
If you made it this far thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day,
Also let me know where to eat fried chicken in YOUR city! (In case I pass through some day)