While fried chicken may trace its origins to the South, Philadelphia boasts its fair share of delicious fried chicken. Some follow the more traditional preparation of buttermilk, breading and deep fried, while others add a twist with unique marinades, spices and glazes. And while we know we shouldn’t eat so much of this artery-clogging deliciousness, there is something so comforting about a bucket of crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside fried chicken. Here are some of our finger lickin’ favorites.
For fans of Top Chef Winner Kevin Sbraga’s namesake restaurant, the Hot Chicken at Fat Ham may be reminscient of the delicious fried chicken, which was recently removed from the menu at Sbraga. This version is similar but with the addition of a spicy hot sauce on top. Sbraga’s newest restaurant in University City offers their version of Hot Chicken, a local specialty from Nashville. Buttermilk-soaked chicken is fried in lard and then tossed in a cayenne-based hot sauce and served on top of a ranch soaked slice of white bread, meant to cool down the heat and soak up the grease (not for eating). It’s moist, crispy and spicy and is a steal at $13 for 2 pieces. 3131 Walnut St.
Although the name says donuts, Federal Donuts has also developed a cult following for their Korean-style Fried Chicken. Korean style means the chicken is dipped in a cornstarch-based batter before being fried twice , then rested and fried again to order. At FedNuts, the chicken is then dusted in your choice of creative rotating dry seasoning or wet glazes. Different flavors include buttermilk ranch, shibazi, za-atar (cocout curry) , chili garlic, honey ginger. Half (4 pieces) or whole (8 pieces) orders available, served with Japanese cucumber slices and a honey donut. Multiple locations throughout city, open at 7a and stay open until they sell out for the day. 1219 S. 2nd St, 1632 Sansom St and brand new location at University City (3428 Sansom St). Coming soon to Northern Liberties.
Resurrection Ale House
The fried chicken at Resurrection Ale House was once so popular and in the spotlight, that it caused some backlash and eventual removal from the menu. Back in June 2010, Bon Appetit named it one of the 10 best Fried Chicken in the U.S. and as its popularity grew, the gastropub had to limit the number of orders per day, and eventually removed it from the menu altogether. It would later return to the menu as an occasional special with people flocking to the restaurant on those days. Luckily it is now back on the regular menu. The twice fried chicken is fried perfectly and comes out crunchy drizzled with spicy honey. Currently its served with a buttermilk waffle for $16. 2425 Grays Ferry Ave.
Keven Parker Soul Food Café
From the same people behind Ms. Tootsie’s, Keven Parker brings their soul food to Reading Terminal Market (former location of Delilah’s). They offer Ms. Tootsie’s Award Winning Southern Fried Chicken for $11 (choose which type of piece) with choice of one side and a bread roll. Or order the fried chicken with waffles which comes with a 4-stack of fresh made to order waffles. Traditional sides include collard greens, okra, mac and cheese, black eyed peas, crab mac n cheese balls. The skin is crispy and the inside is moist and juicy and seasoned well throughout. Try it with the hot sauce they provide on the tables. Reading Terminal Market (51 N. 12th St).
Twisted Tail calls itself a Southern-inspired Bourbon House and Juke Joint featuring southern style food and live music. You’ll feel like you’re eating picnic style at the twisted tail, where the fried chicken is served in a paper bag. After spending 2 days in brine, then another day in buttermilk, the chicken is then floured and twice fried, then covered with a rosemary honey glaze. Served with pickled okra and sweet potato fries for $22, it’s not cheap but it’s an innovative version of the classic. 509 S. 22nd St.
If you’re looking for quick and convenient Fried Chicken, this Jefferson Hospital staff haunt offers chicken in many forms – salads, wraps, sandwiches, rice bowls, but the star of the menu is undoubtedly the Korean-style double fried chicken. Made with a secret batter that took nearly a year to perfect, the fried chicken comes in wings, drumsticks or half chicken portions. The chicken somehow manages to stay crispy even with the sauce slathered on top and if you order it to go, the sauce comes on the side for you to pour over and shake in the box to cover. Choose from different hot sauces, like sweet chili, soy garlic and wasabi aioli. The chicken is made to order, so consider calling ahead or prepare to wait – they provide a timetable of waiting times at the counter. 138 S. 11th St.
KFC, Popeye's or Church's
Sometimes you just want fried chicken and you want it fast. Luckily Philadelphia has 3 of the most popular fried chicken fast food joints with locations throughout the city. Everyone has their favorites, whether it’s the Colonel Sander’s original recipe at KFC, or Cajun seasoned version from Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, or the Texas-originated Church’s chicken served with the honey butter biscuit.