Chicken-fried steak is a dish that could only be made in America. Beef is hammered thin and battered and fried, then lathered in a sinful gravy. Some enjoy chicken-fried steak as a guilty pleasure, or save it for a special occasion. For others, it’s simply breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Now that you're mentally swimming in gravy, here are five spots across Phoenix for you to try chicken-fried steak — bite after tasty bite.
6003 North 16th Street
The cooks at Texaz don’t bog down this dish with frills. They simply let salt and pepper bring out the flavors of steak, which is tender and easy to cut, but still chewy enough to tear into. Mashed potatoes are hearty and smashed rather than light and whipped. They put a bow on this satisfying meal.
And Texaz doesn't mess around when it comes to portions. You order one chicken-fried steak, you get two. They don't offer any explanation as to why; it's just part of their chicken-fried steak repertoire. Don't question it, just think of it as a gift from the comfort-food gods. If you can't wolf it all down in one sitting, you'll be taking a delicious trip to leftover city.
Ranch House Grille
5618 East Thomas Road
This breakfast and lunch spot offers a couple of ways to order chicken-fried steak, making it hard to choose between meat-on-meat options. The chicken-fried steak platter at Ranch House Grille finds an immoderate slab of crispy fried-and-breaded steak topped in a zesty, peppery, white gravy. You can also order your deep-fried beef slathered in green chile pork.
The tasty, punchy pork makes this an exciting choice for those not afraid to back away from tradition. With this steak, Ranch House has upped the ante from one animal to two. The chewy steak and soft pork shreds co-mingling make each bit a textural treat. Chile adds welcome heat to the chicken-fried steak experience. Rustic, homey decor makes Ranch House an ideal setting for comfort food.
Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe
808 East Jefferson Street
The goods come tender, juicy, and loaded with gravy at this downtown, soul-food fixture. This is another eatery where the portion size will make you start planning how you'll enjoy your leftovers. Unlike the thick white gravy many spots offer, Mrs. White's is a little different. Theirs is a thinner brown gravy, making it even more of a homestyle take on the Southern dish.
And this gravy adds a nice kick to the generous and thickly-battered steak. Its hearty size doesn't prevent a fork from sliding in with ease. A stick-to-the-ribs meal, for sure. Though mashed potatoes covered in the same gravy as the steak is a natural accompaniment to this sizzled meat dish, the sweet potatoes at Mrs. White's are an equally worthy option.
5th Avenue Cafe
501 West Thomas Road
This if-the-walls-could-talk breakfast and lunch spot has been in business since the 1950s. It has seen a few owner changes over the decades, but the landmark has always been a destination for comfort food. It's no surprise, then, that 5th Avenue Cafe offers a mean chicken-fried steak. And it offers the steak with country gravy as part of, yes, a two-egg breakfast option.
Unlike some spots, the cafe keeps the portion size reasonable, so while this order still makes for an intense breakfast, it won't put you in a coma. This steak is easy on the teeth, and its fried jacket offers a nice crunch. The lightly seasoned country gravy that tops it is lush and tasty — you definitely won't shed any tears when it spills over onto your crispy hash browns.
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My Mother's Restaurant
4130 North 19th Avenue
At My Mother's, you can order chicken-fried steak for lunch or dinner. The spot has been serving up the dish with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a side of corn for over three decades. You don't have to order mashed potatoes — you may find another side preferable — but in that case you'd be sorely missing out. The mashed spuds here are thick and buttery, whipped to a hearty perfection, a great accompaniment to your thin battered-and-fried steak.
At My Mother's, the chicken-fried meat is tender and surprisingly thin, covered tightly in a crunchy wrap of batter. More crispy than bready, it gives a nice texture to each bite. The white gravy is more sauce-like and contains some bacon bits that give it a nice, salty flair.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on February 5, 2018. It was updated on May 25, 2019.