“The Fried Chicken Bucket List:” The best fried chicken restaurants in America ranked

What do you think is the best fried chicken restaurant in the world? I’ve been obsessed with fried chicken from a young age. Something about the combination of deep fried and chicken just tastes like America to me, so it’s no wonder that I find myself here writing about the best fried chicken in the world even though I haven’t eaten meat in nearly a week. I think the first fried chicken I had was probably a McDonald’s chicken nugget. In retrospect, that first bite transition from crunchy to juicy that I experienced as a toddler is a far cry from the fried chicken on this list. If a McDonald’s chicken nugget is a 1 on a scale of 1 to 100, the fried chicken from the restaurants mentioned below are 100, 99, 98, 97, 96, 95, 94, 93, 92, and 91 on the spectrum.

As some may be able to lament, when I become obsessed with something, I am gripped by this urge to seek out the best of said thing. While there are some beautifully comprehensive best fried chicken lists out there (shout out to Gun and Garden), my research also yielded some pretty hodgepodge lists. I felt there was a need for a purely data based approach to the age old question: “Which restaurant has the best fried chicken in America?”

I labored for many days thinking about the best way to empirically rank the best fried chicken in America and came up with this as the ultimate method. I decided that I would take the top 25 most popular “best fried chicken” lists by food publications across the country and aggregate their findings in my own list. I ranked the restaurants by number of mentions in said lists, with each list weighted equally. As has oft been repeated, “we stand on the shoulders of giants.” Consider this the first quasi academic metastudy on fried chicken.

The Best Fried Chicken in America: The Fried Chicken Bucket List

I present to you “The Fried Chicken Bucket List:” The best fried chicken restaurants in America as ranked by number of mentions in “best fried chicken lists” by food critics and food publications over the last few decades.

The best fried chicken in the south, according to the world’s best fried chicken critics, is none other than Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans, Louisiana. Based on the aggregate research of fried chicken eaters up until this point in time…The top ten fried chicken restaurants in America are:

  1. Willie Mae’s Scotch House – New Orleans, LA
  2. Gus’s World Famous – Mason, TN
  3. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar – Miami, FL
  4. Old Country Store – Lorman, MS
  5. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack – Nashville, TN
  6. Mama Dip’s – Chapel Hill, NC
  7. Martha Lou’s Kitchen – Charleston, SC
  8. Busy Bee Cafe – Atlanta, GA
  9. Little Donkey – Birmingham, AL
  10. Beasley’s Chicken + Honey – Raleigh, NC

Best Fried Chicken Bibliography

The 25 “best fried chicken” lists used for this best “best fried chicken” list are:

  1. (Mic) Melissa Kravitz https://www.mic.com/articles/176748/the-best-fried-chicken-in-all-50-states
  2. (Taste of Home) Amanda Tarlton https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/the-best-fried-chicken-in-every-state/
  3. (Spoon University) Addie Christiansen  https://spoonuniversity.com/place/where-to-find-the-best-fried-chicken-in-every-state
  4. (WideOpen Eats) J Marie Martin https://www.wideopeneats.com/best-fried-chicken-state/
  5. (Mental Floss) Michele Debczak, Kirstin Fawcett, Shaunacy Ferro, Anna Green, Kate Horowitz, Andrew LaSane, and Jake Rossen http://mentalfloss.com/article/82649/best-fried-chicken-all-50-states
  6. (Cheapism) Jason Notte https://blog.cheapism.com/best-fried-chicken/#image=2
  7. (Delish) Sarah Weinberg https://www.delish.com/restaurants/g3889/best-fried-chicken-in-every-state/?slide=1
  8. (Garden & Gun) Garden & Gun Team https://gardenandgun.com/articles/garden-guns-fried-chicken-bucket-list/
  9. (Southern Living) Adrian Miller https://www.southernliving.com/dish/fried-chicken/southern-fried-chicken-restaurant
  10. (Thrillist) Thrillist Team https://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/21-best-fried-chicken-in-america
  11. (Food & Wine) Food & Wine Team https://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-fried-chicken-in-the-us
  12. (TheDailyMeal) Dan Myers https://www.thedailymeal.com/best-fried-chicken-america-2018-gallery
  13. (EatThis) Jessica Farthing https://www.eatthis.com/best-fried-chicken-restaurants/
  14. (Gayot) Gayot Team https://www.gayot.com/restaurants/top-10-fried-chicken/
  15. (Mashed) Marie Lalonde https://www.mashed.com/145668/hands-down-the-best-fried-chicken-places-in-america/
  16. (Firstwefeast) Justin Bolois https://firstwefeast.com/eat/2015/02/bucket-list-fried-chicken/
  17. (Taste of the South Magazine) https://www.tasteofthesouthmagazine.com/souths-best-fried-chicken/2/?singlepage=1
  18. (The Southern Weekend) David Gladlow http://thesouthernweekend.com/best-fried-chicken-restaurants-in-the-south/
  19. (Southern Kitchen) Mike Jordan https://www.southernkitchen.com/articles/eat/our-chefs-favorite-fried-chicken-spots-from-buffet-to-brooklyn
  20. Martie Duncan http://www.martieduncan.com/blog/where-to-eat-the-best-fried-chicken-ever
  21. (TimeOut) Lauren Rothman https://www.timeout.com/usa/restaurants/best-fried-chicken-in-america
  22. (Travel & Leisure) Taylor Bruce https://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/americas-best-fried-chicken?
  23. (CuisineNoir) Phyllis Armstrong https://www.cuisinenoirmag.com/fried-chicken-road-trip-america/
  24. (PureWOW) Lindsay Champion https://www.purewow.com/food/best-fried-chicken-in-America
  25. (INSIDER) Sarah Schmalbruch  https://www.insider.com/best-fried-chicken-america-2016-11

Caleb Chen

Aspiring trailblazer. As seen on MERRY JANE, LV Cannabis Reviews, Slyng, and The Stoned Gamer.

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