by Jonathan Baker - 319 Reviews - 185 List
There is just something magical about fried chicken. And to properly cover (or uncover) Atlanta's best spots for fried chicken, I enlisted the help of Citysearch Dictator and Southern food connoisseur, Adam Johnson, to contribute. From cafeterias in Tucker to Beard-award winners, we dish the scoop on 10 restaurants that will have you licking Atlanta's best fried chicken off your fingers in no time.
Updated: August 26, 2010
The upside?it's Atlanta's best fried chicken. The downside?it's only available once a week. Watershed's Tuesday dinner special is one of the city's most popular recurring food events, with executive chef Joe Truex churning out 100 plates starting at 5:30pm. This eclectic converted garage is always worth a stop-in, but the pan-fried chicken served with mashed potatoes, green beans and two biscuits is a can't-miss.
The fried chicken at this upscale Southern spot is available for dinner in limited quantities. JCT Kitchen serves up a thigh and a wing, with mac and cheese and garlic green beans. Or arrive on Sunday nights for Sunday Supper, a family-style meat-and-three that features fried chicken, veal meatloaf and pork loin.
Carver's is the Cadillac of meat and three lunch spots--and by Cadillac we mean a 1985 Seville with a bench seat, broken tape player and crank windows. Rustic is an understatement, but it's not about setting. Robert and Sharon don't arrive at 4am Tuesdays thru Fridays to serve up mediocre food. They do down-home cooking right and know their way around a bird and fryer. Crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside: it's the goods, y?all.
We can't talk fried chicken without mentioning the Busy Bee Cafe, a favorite of Martin Luther King Jr. Walls of old photographs, warm booths and counter seating recall a 1960s diner. While there's a full menu of soul food, the pan-fried chicken--crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside--gives reason enough why nothing has changed.
After flirting with closing up shop, Bobby graciously decided to keep the old 14th Street house-turned-restaurant open. Bobby & June's rivals Carver's in fried chicken execution; the only clear difference is scale. Here, the portions are more sensible and prices easier on the wallet. For the full experience, sit in one of the rocking chairs on the front porch and challenge Bobby to a game of checkers.
The lunch line will send you back to grade school, but if only those lunch ladies dished out food this good. Some locals swear by turkey and dressing Thursdays, and, while good, the fried chicken (available Tuesdays and Fridays at lunch and every evening for dinner) is the real deal. Point to the piece you want, and one of the women behind the counter will hook it up.
If you don't want to trek to Matthew's in Tucker, Vickery's fried chicken is a good in-town consolation prize. It's served with excellent mac-n-cheese, collards and a biscuit. Just close your eyes and pretend you're somewhere with a bit more authentic Southern charm.
Because College Park isn't on many Atlantans culinary radar, this south-of-town restaurant doesn't get the attention it deserves. Located in quaint downtown College Park, the Feed Store does down-home cooking with upscale execution. The fried chicken is boneless and served with mac `n? cheese and Coca-Cola baked beans. Ask for the chicken without barbecue sauce.
This gourmet market in Candler Park does a Sunday fried chicken dinner starting at 12:30pm that comes with two pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes, plus a green side for $8.99. And come Monday, whatever chicken didn't sell can be bought right from the refrigerator. There's no better way to beat a hot summer day than with a cold piece of fried chicken.
You wouldn't necessarily expect to find a Southern specialty at a restaurant that is based on Southwest cuisine. But at the ever-popular Agave in Cabbagetown, there's a cayenne chicken breast that's been marinated in spicy buttermilk, fried and served with mashed potatoes and grilled corn with a poblano drizzle. Get ya some of that!