Restaurants / Lists

Where to Eat Great Fried Chicken in Houston — 10 Spots That More Than Satisfy

For National Fried Chicken Day or Any Day

BY // 07.02.20

There are two things in life that are my crack — Shipley’s Donuts and fried chicken. Unfortunately, neither of which compliment my waistline. Cannot resist. Cannot have just one donut or one piece of fried chicken without extreme restraint. So it is with great glee that I mention that Monday is National Fried Chicken Day and that I couldn’t possibly pass this day without indulging in the ultimate southern comfort food.

But where to go on this once-a-year celebration? True confessions: I do get my fix of fried chicken several times a year. In fact, a few years back, I ran into Hines honcho George Lancaster loading up at KFC. He promised not to tell if I promised. Promise broken. Party hostess with the mostest Becca Cason Thrash unabashedly serves Popeye’s for dinner when the guests are from Europe.

So where shall I pick up my cherished fried chicken on National Fried Chicken Day? The choices in Houston are wide and varied. I would start with my personal favorite, the Barbecue Inn. But it is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Don’t let the “barbecue” fool you. This place is considered hallowed ground by fried chicken aficionados. For close to 70 years, the Inn has been serving Houstonians. The late, great caterer Jackson Hicks considered it the best in the city.

While there are many contenders, the fact that July 6 occurs on a Monday when many restaurants are closed eliminates such resources as  Harold’s in the Heights, known for its double-brined cast iron chicken, and FM Kitchen & Bar, whose fried chicken is regularly at the top of everyone’s list.  Alas, Sam’s Fried Chicken & Donuts closed in early March.

The Breakfast Klub

It will be a few years before The Breakfast Klub officially celebrates National Fried Chicken Day. That popular eatery spotlights fried chicken every Thursday, so the two won’t coincide until 2023. But on Monday and every other day of the week you can still get the crazy popular crispy fried wings served with waffles or grits.

Frank’s American Revival fried chicken
Frank’s Americana Revival fried chicken

Frank’s American Revival

Frank’s Americana Revival celebrates National Fried Chicken Day by adding a glass of fancy Bollinger Brut champagne with its always dependable, always delicious fried chicken plate. It’s a $41 special that you will find only on this holiday. The popular River Oaks restaurant has recovered from the bad luck that occurred in March.

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Hot Chicken – State Fare
State Fare’s Hot Chicken is infused with oil and butter infused with three different chilies and other spices for a tasty jolt.

State Fair Kitchen & Bar

State Fare Kitchen & Bar spices up the options with its H-Town Hot Fried Chicken. The half chicken is served with skillet cheddar potatoes and cauliflower. It’s crunchy, spicy goodness comes from the mix of oil and butter infused with three  kinds of chilies and other spices fused together in the chicken for an hour or so and then once the chicken comes out of the fryer, it is quickly dipped into the hot oil to allow it to crisp up.

Cleburne Cafeteria

Cafeteria dining might not come immediately to mind when considering a special fried chicken feast but the Houston iconic  Cleburne Cafeteria‘s free-range chicken fried in peanut oil is the ticket. And you can always order it for takeout. This Monday’s special includes three pieces with a side of mashed potatoes and a choice of gravy (brown or cream) for a wallet-friendly $9.25.

Kenny & Ziggy’s fried chicken
Kenny & Ziggy’s fried chicken goes on the menu for the Fourth of July and continues through National Fried Chicken Day.

Kenny & Ziggy’s

Native New Yorker Ziggy Gruber is all in for celebrating the Fourth of July with special offerings at his Kenny & Ziggy‘s deli, specials that continue into National Fried Chicken Day. The deli’s famed fried chicken dinner made with matzo meal for extra crunch drops from $22.95 to $20.20 for in-store dining only. He also offers To-Go Chicken for Ten Packages that include  two whole Bronx Fried Chickens, two pounds of coleslaw, two pounds of potato salad, a dozen rolls and one whole, giant apple pie.

Price for this package of “independence goodness” is $99. But it must be ordered by Friday for Monday’s feast.

Fried Chicken_Jonathan’s Rub
Jonathan’s The Rub fried chicken

Jonathan The Rub

Jonathan Levine is drawing fried chicken fans to his Jonathan’s The Rub this weekend and on Monday with a special all-American favorite. For a star-spangled $17.76 (get it?), diners get half-bird fried to golden perfection and served with mashed potatoes, gravy and cole slaw. If not everyone in the family is into fried, the chicken can be barbecued or the same price.

Lucille’s might be closed on Monday but the true southern fried chicken worth a visit on Tuesday or any other day in the week. (Photo by Jenn Duncan)

Lucille’s

Playing beautifully off of his southern heritage and embracing the recipes of his naturally talented grandmother, Chris Williams, owner and executive chef at Lucille’s, offers up a hefty plate of fried chicken that merits a visit even after National Fried Chicken Day, Lucille’s in the Museum District is well worth the visit. Order the Yardbird: Brined & Slow-Fried Chicken (white or dark meat), Smoked Mash, Braised Collard Greens, and Honey Spiced Gravy.

Frenchy’s

Frenchy’s distinct Creole-flavored fried chicken reaches cult status in Houston where the business was founded in 1969. With nine locations scattered across the Houston area, it’s a sure win for those wishing to celebrate National Fried Chicken Day.

Also, Louisiana-founded and Louisiana-inspired Popeyes with thousands of outlets across the country is, like Frenchy’s, a delicious chain operation that, according to this Louisiana native, worthy of company.

Ouisie’s

We can’t forget Southern comfort favorite Ouisie’s which celebrates the bird every day with its Chicken Fried Chicken dish served with black peppercorn gravy, mashed potatoes and mustard greens.

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