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Our 13 picks for the best fried chicken outside of the South

The best fried chicken outside the South

There’s no denying the South has some of the best fried chicken in the country. But the secret's out and all around the country chefs are frying up some great fried chicken. If you find yourself craving fried chicken in upstate New York, Portland, Oregon or California, we’ve got you covered. Some of these restaurants are serving up classic Southern fried chicken or putting their own twist on our fried favorite. Either way, all of these restaurants will satisfy your fried chicken craving. 

Photo credit: Ideabar Austin

Fried chicken from The Crack Shack

The Crack Shack in San Diego, California

Founder Michael Rosen and Atlanta transplant chef Richard Blaise had a bold, but simple vision when they created The Crack Shack. The concept is simple: create a menu using Southern California fried chicken and eggs. And with their “crack spice” and locally raised free-living chickens, the menu at The Crack Shack reimagines classic dishes like fried chicken. While the menu varies at each location, the delicious fried chicken stays the same. 

Photo credit: The Crack Shack Facebook

Fried chicken from Ma

Ma’Ono Fried Chicken & Whisky in Seattle, Washington

Ma’Ono’s serves up a different kind of fried chicken in Seattle. While it may not be classic Southern fried chicken, Ma’Ono’s fried chicken is some of the best in Seattle. Spiced with umami and fried twice, the Hawaiian-style fried chicken is served with kimchee and rice and brings tropical flavors to the Northwest. 

Photo credit: Ma'ono Facebook

Fried chicken from Motor City Soul Food

Motor City Soul Food in Detroit, Michigan

The line is usually long at Motor City Soul Food in Detroit, as everyone wants a bite of its fried chicken. The menu is full of Southern classics, but the fried chicken is one of the top sellers. Motor City Soul Food was also featured on Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern in spring 2017.

Photo credit: Official Motor City Soul Food Facebook

Fried chicken from Hattie

Hattie's in Saratoga Springs, New York

For almost 80 years, Hattie’s has been serving up Southern charm in upstate New York. With checkered tablecloths and a screen door, you’ll be hit with a wave of Southern charm when you walk through the door. The fried chicken has been prepared the same way and with the recipe since 1938.

Photo credit: Hattie's Restaurant Facebook

Biscuit sandwich with fried chicken from Pine State Biscuits

Pine State Biscuits in Portland, Oregon

After moving from North Carolina to Portland, Kevin Atchley, Walt Alexander and Brian Snyder couldn’t find the buttery, flaky biscuits they had grown up eating. So they set off to create the best biscuit in Portland. While the focus is on biscuits at Pine State Biscuits in Portland, you’ll want to try the fried chicken as well. Many of the biscuit sandwiches are topped with the buttermilk breaded fried chicken. 

Photo credit: Pine State Biscuits Facebook

Fried chicken from Miss Ollie

Miss Ollie’s in Oakland, California

Miss Ollie’s Oakland is a Caribbean restaurant serving up Caribbean dishes with Southern influence in California. On the menu, diners will find a pickle plate, cornmeal fritters and skillet-fried chicken. The four-piece fried chicken dish is served with field greens and a flavorful lemon, pepper sauce. 

Photo credit: Paul Cramer Facebook

Fried chicken from Sweet Chick

Sweet Chick in Brooklyn, New York

In a cool casual setting in Brooklyn, Sweet Chick serves up some of the best fried chicken and waffles in New York City in some very interesting flavors. The General is fried chicken topped with General Tso’s sauce and served on a waffle made out of rice and broccoli. For diners with a sweet tooth, the salted caramel chicken and waffles is a yummy option. If you’re looking for some Italian flavors, the fried chicken parmesan is a tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan waffle topped with –yep you guessed it -- fried chicken. Sweet Chick’s original location is in Brooklyn and it has expanded to another location on the Lower East Side of New York and one in Los Angeles. Last fall, the restaurant announced it would be expanding to Queens in 2018. This new location comes after rapper Nas invested in Sweet Chick and collaborated with Sweet Chick founder John Seymour.  

Photo credit: Sweet Chick Facebook 

Fried chicken from Screen Door

Editor's Pick: Screen Door in Portland, Oregon

The menu at Screen Door gives the Northwest a taste of classic dishes from around the South. Screen Door’s buttermilk battered fried chicken is served at breakfast with sweet potato waffles or as an entrée with ham hock collard greens at dinner. When Southern Kitchen’s Associate Editor Kate Williams lived in Portland, this was one of her favorite places to eat fried chicken. 

Photo credit: Iva Wolf Facebook

Fried chicken from Pies

Pies 'n' Thighs in Brooklyn, New York

From Southern Kitchen’s chef Jeffrey Gardner: “Cue the line from those incredulous cowboys in that famous salsa commercial: “New York City?!?” As much as I would love to take a parochial point of view to assert that you cannot find good fried chicken above the Mason-Dixon Line, this unassuming Williamsburg joint nails the vibe and the heart of a classic comfort food eatery. Offering humanely raised, hormone free birds, Pies ‘n’ Thighs brings a contemporary philosophy to the traditional flavors of fried chicken. Biting into a juicy drumstick with a perfect balance of salt and black pepper made me feel like I was only a short saunter from the Mississippi River, instead of the nearby East River."

Photo credit:Toasted Wedding Event Facebook

Fried chicken from Roister

Roister in Chicago, Illinois

Roister serves up a platter of chicken in three different ways: poached, braised and fried. The fried chicken created by chef Andrew Brochu is the best on the plate. “The recipe involves dredging the chicken in cornstarch, buttermilk and flour and finishes off with a deep-dish massage (really),” reported TimeOut Chicago. 

Photo credit: Roister Facebook

Fried chicken from Federal Donuts

Michael Solomonov’s Federal Donuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

We’ve heard of (and made, of course!) chicken and waffles, but at Federal Donuts, the fried chicken comes with a side of doughnuts. In 2011 chef Michael Solomonov, along with his business partners Steve Cook, Tom Henneman, Bobby Logue and Felicia D’Ambrosio, opened the first Federal Donuts in Philadelphia. According to Eater the fried chicken is “inspired by Korean fried chicken at Cafe Soho, Solomonov and his team set about creating a double-fried chicken with "teeth-shattering" crispy skin.” For the donuts, the team decided to focus on cake donuts in a variety of flavors. "The honey doughnut is a great alternative to a biscuit," Solomonov said. Federal Donuts has expanded to four other locations (San Diego, Portland, Phoenix and Chicago) across the country. 

Photo credit: Federal Donuts Facebook

Fried chicken from Low Country Kitchen

Low Country Kitchen in Denver, Colorado

Feeling homesick, Katy and Brian Vaughn decided to bring the South to Colorado by opening Low Country Kitchen in 2014. Using high quality ingredients, they filled the menu with classic Southern dishes, but the standout item on the menu is the fried chicken. The buttermilk fried chicken appears in a few places on the menu. You can get it as an appetizer, on a biscuit or as a main entree. Make sure to add a side of Anson Mills antebellum grits topped with cheddar. 

Photo credit: LOW Country Kitchen - LoHi, Denver Facebook


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Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.

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