10 Best Restaurants for Fried Chicken in Metro Phoenix

Mrs. White's makes the most famous fried chicken in the Valley.
Mrs. White's makes the most famous fried chicken in the Valley.
Lauren Saria

You might not realize it, but we bet you could go for a plate of fried chicken right now. It's true. We know because it's impossible (for most of us) not to enjoy a well-prepared plate of fried chicken. There's something deeply satisfying about picking up a piece of crispy meat that's covered in a crunchy, salty batter. Maybe it's the combination of grease and meat and eating with your hands, but the bottom line is that good fried chicken is always good.

The problem then becomes finding the good fried chicken -- and that's exactly where we come in. We've done the leg (and the breast, wing, and thigh) work and found the best places in town to indulge in this comfort food classic, whether you're looking for a traditional Southern-style version of the dish or something with a little bit more of a modern twist.

See also: 10 Best Places for Soup in Metro Phoenix

Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe

Hands down, Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe is where you'll find a plate of Phoenix's most famous fried chicken. It's even been featured on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate and once you try it, it's easy to understand why. In case you aren't familiar, know that Mrs. White's (named for owner and founder Mrs. Elizabeth White) has been serving classic soul food in downtown Phoenix since 1964. And not much about the place has changed since then. When it comes to fried chicken you can pick either dark or white meat but either way you'll get succulent chicken covered in a simple, lightly seasoned batter. For sides, we suggest the macaroni and cheese.

10 Best Restaurants for Fried Chicken in Metro Phoenix
Lauren Saria

Bootleggers Modern American Kitchen

It hasn't been long since chef Stephen Jones (formerly of Blue Hound Kitchen in downtown Phoenix) took the reins at Bootleggers Modern American Kitchen. But luckily for diners, the chef wasted no time before making a few small but noticeable changes to the restaurant menu. The Monday night special of buttermilk fried chicken used to be less than stellar, but now includes two giant pieces of chicken over an utterly delicious jalapeno waffle. The moist, flavorful chicken gets covered in a thick batter. It doesn't require a fluffy, sweet and spicy waffle by any means, but the combination is pretty hard to resist.

10 Best Restaurants for Fried Chicken in Metro Phoenix
Lauren Saria

Phoenix Public Market Cafe

You might think of Phoenix Public Market Cafe as a destination for healthy-ish eats like salads and light sandwiches -- and it is. But don't let that fact deter you from ordering the fried chicken. The dinner specialty, available only after 5 p.m., is one of best fried chicken dishes we've had in town and comes with three well-sized pieces of chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, and a kale salad. Chef Aaron Chamberlin's fried chicken features a salty, light, and crispy batter than falls off the moist chicken meat as you bite in. You'll want to pick up the extra bit and eat them on their own or with a bite of the irresistible mashed potatoes for a nice juxtaposition of textures.

 

10 Best Restaurants for Fried Chicken in Metro Phoenix
Lauren Saria

Bobby Q's

Venture out to Bobby Q in northwest Phoenix and you'll find a little piece of often-forgotten Valley history. This eclectically decorated restaurant comes courtesy of restauranteur Bob Sikora (you may remember him from long gone spots such as Bobby McGee's, Mr. Lucky 's, or Mabel Murphy's) and serves a unique brand of bbq inspired by Sikora's travels. The brisket and ribs are some of our favorites, but when we don't feel like smoked meats we get the Southern Fried Chicken. Bobby Q's version of the dish comes drenched in a rich country gravy and served with a side of mashed potatoes. It's the kind of country classic that delivers instant comfort -- and food coma.

10 Best Restaurants for Fried Chicken in Metro Phoenix
Lauren Saria

LoLo's Chicken and Waffles

Can you get fried chicken without waffles at LoLo's Chicken and Waffles? Sure you can! But you won't because it's physically impossible to resist the smell. For a plate that's going to satisfy both cravings you'll want something like the basic LoLo's special, which includes three pieces of fried chicken and two fluffy waffles. Though LoLo's was started by Mrs. White's grandson, Larry "LoLo" White, the chicken here isn't exactly the same as at her spot. From what we can tell LoLo's chicken offers a slightly thinner coating of batter that's also a touch lighter than his grandma's version. Some people have a favorite iteration of the dish, but we respect both in their own right.

10 Best Restaurants for Fried Chicken in Metro Phoenix
Lauren Saria

FnB

The only thing wrong with chef Charleen Badman's fried chicken is that it's not available all the time. In fact, it's only available a few times a year and when it is, you better make a reservation fast because you can bet the restaurant will sell out. Badman's chicken has a dedicated following who flock to FnB for a plate of the hearty dish every chance they get. The last time she made it, she used locally raised Agritopia chickens, which she covered in a lightly peppery and just-the-right-amount of salty batter. The classic fried chicken came smothered in a light gravy and served with a side of bean salad.

10 Best Restaurants for Fried Chicken in Metro Phoenix
Lauren Saria

Chelsea's Kitchen

Fried chicken purists, move along because the truth is that Chelsea's Kitchen's Dixie Pan-Fried Chicken doesn't play by traditional rules. The restaurant appeals to dainty eaters who don't want to be caught gnawing on bones at dinner by serving two pieces of boneless chicken with sides of mashed potatoes and vegetables. The pieces of white-meat pan-fried chicken are covered in a crisp and flavorful batter that holds well to the meat when eating with a fork and knife. We could probably do without the generous side of mashed potatoes, only because the sauteed rosemary-tinted vegetables outshone them so much.

 

10 Best Restaurants for Fried Chicken in Metro Phoenix
Lauren Saria

Southern Rail

It's a shame that Justin Beckett's fried chicken is only available at Southern Rail on Wednesday nights because this dish is easily one of the best the restaurant offers. Of all the Southern specialties you can indulge in at the chef's second dining spot, we strongly encourage you to make a point to make time for the chicken. You'll get three pieces of moist poultry covered in a dark, extra crispy batter that feels just like comfort in edible form. The meat itself is nice and juicy, calling for absolutely nothing in the way of sauce or gravy. A side of simply dressed green tomatoes may not be the expected route, but the acidity makes for a perfect contrast.

10 Best Restaurants for Fried Chicken in Metro Phoenix
Lauren Saria

Windsor

Sitting outside on the back patio at Windsor feels a lot like enjoying dinner in a neighbor's backyard. And when you order up a plate of fried chicken -- available only after 4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday nights -- the feeling really sinks in. The Upward Projects restaurant serves a plate of buttermilk fried chicken that's just like your friendly neighbor might make, assuming your neighbor is an excellent cook. The two pieces of juicy chicken get covered in a flavorful but not-too-salty batter that's fried to a perfect, golden crisp. You'll also get your choice of side; we like the chopped kale salad to add a little "healthy" to our dinner, though the restaurant's mac n' cheese is always a hit.

10 Best Restaurants for Fried Chicken in Metro Phoenix
Lauren Saria

Texaz Grill

"Chicken Fried Chicken" might sound like some made-up dish your great-aunt would try to serve you but in truth it's just the chicken version of Texaz Grill's famous Chicken Fried Steak. The steak version of the dish features a pounded beef patty that's double dipped, fried, and covered in gravy and the chicken version is exactly the same except...you guessed it, made with chicken. The combination of moist chicken meat, crispy batter, and thick, creamy gravy with just a touch of pepper is pretty much perfect. Pro-tip: Get a side of cole slaw to counteract the richness of the rest of the dish.

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Texaz Grill

6003 N. 16th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85016

602-248-7827

www.texazgrill.com

miles
Windsor

5223 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85012

602-279-1111

www.windsoraz.com

miles
Southern Rail

300 W. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85013

602-200-0085

southernrailaz.com

miles
Chelsea's Kitchen

5040 N. 40th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85018

602-957-2555

www.chelseaskitchenaz.com

miles
FnB Restaurant

7125 E. 5th Ave.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

480-284-4777

www.fnbrestaurant.com

miles
Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles

1220 S. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-340-1304

www.loloschickenandwaffles.com

miles
Bobby Q

8501 N. 27th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85051

602-995-5982

www.bobbyq.net

miles
Phoenix Public Market Cafe

14 E. Pierce St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-253-2700

www.phxpublicmarket.com

miles
Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe

808 E. Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034

602-262-9256

miles
Bootleggers

3375 E. Shea Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85028

602-996-4228

www.bootleggersaz.com


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