You might not realize it yet, but we bet you could go for a plate of fried chicken right now. It goes against human nature, almost, to deny oneself a well-prepared plate of fried chicken. Maybe it's the combination of grease and meat and eating with your hands. Maybe it's the deeply satisfying taste of a piece of crispy meat covered in a crunchy, salty batter. In any case, good fried chicken is always worth seeking out. Here are some of the best places in the Valley to get it.
At Bobby-Q, you'll find a little piece of often-forgotten Valley history. This eclectically decorated restaurant comes courtesy of restaurateur Bob Sikora (you may remember him from long-gone spots such as Bobby McGee's, Mr. Lucky 's, or Mabel Murphy's). It serves a unique brand of barbecue inspired by Sikora's travels. The brisket and ribs are favorites, but the Southern fried chicken does not disappoint. 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 a food coma.
Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe808 East Jefferson Street
Most would agree, Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe is where you'll find Phoenix's most famous fried chicken. It has even been featured on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate. 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 Elizabeth White) has been serving classic soul food in downtown Phoenix since 1964. 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 mac and cheese.
Lo-Lo's Chicken & WafflesMultiple Locations
Can you get fried chicken without waffles at Lo-Lo'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 Lo-Lo's special, which includes three pieces of fried chicken and two fluffy waffles. Though Lo-Lo's was started by Mrs. White's grandson, Larry "Lo-Lo" White, the chicken here isn't exactly the same as at her spot. From what we can tell, Lo-Lo's chicken offers a slightly thinner coating of batter that's also a touch lighter than Grandma's version. Some have a favorite between the two. We respect both.
Southern Rail300 West Camelback Road
Justin Beckett's fried chicken at Southern Rail is easily one of the best dishes the restaurant offers. Of all the Southern specialties you can indulge in here, we strongly encourage you to make time for the signature dish — which is only available after 5 p.m. 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 Yukon gold mashed potatoes and bacon collard greens complement the crispy nicely.
Stacy's Off Da Hook BBQ and Soul Food1804 West Glendale Avenue
Off Da Hook Soul Food serves made-to-order southern and soul food and is known for crispy fried chicken. The secret recipe was concocted by owner Stacy Phipps himself, who will most likely be in the restaurant. The chicken is deliciously hot, well-seasoned, crispy, and served with sides like creamy mac and cheese, salty green beans, and a corn muffin. Off Da Hook pops off at night and on the weekend, but if you go in for a quiet lunch, just enjoy the R&B, photos of icons like Rosa Parks, Wilson Pickett, and the Obama family, and of course, the plate of fried chicken in front of you.
Texaz Grill6003 North 16th Street
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 house specialty, chicken fried steak. The steak version of the dish features a pounded beef patty that's double-dipped, fried, and covered in gravy. The chicken version is exactly the same except ... you guessed it, made with chicken. The combination of two moist chicken breasts under crispy batter and thick, creamy gravy with just a touch of pepper is pretty much perfect.
The Horny Toad6738 East Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek
This classic Cave Creek patio spot offers beer and an essential order of fried chicken. An order at The Horny Toad grants a variety of chicken — the breast, thighs, wings, and drums are crunchy, greasy, salty, and incredible. Decide on feasting over either a half chicken or a whole. And this being the Old West, sort of, the chicken basket comes with house fries or mashed potatoes and (brown) gravy, as well as a weighty cup of coleslaw.
Welcome Chicken + Donuts1535 East Buckeye Road
Sure, the doughnuts are great here. But the chicken is incredible. Welcome Chicken + Donuts offers natural, antibiotic-free Red Bird Farms fried chicken that you may couple with any of the house sauces (either tossed or on the side). Sauce choices are Korean chili, Japanese BBQ, and Vietnamese herb. Menu items range from breast and sauce; to breast, drum, thigh, and sauce; to a chicken sandwich; to wings. Combos rope in sides like Thai slaw, and, of course, a hot cake doughnut.
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Welcome Diner929 East Pierce Street
One of your favorite patio restaurants in town also has some pretty good fried chicken weaved into some popular menu items. The recently moved Welcome Diner is known for its biscuits, and that’s probably because of the deep-fried, piping hot poultry in the Big Jim, the Koko, the Bumblebee, and the Little Birdy. The Big Jim is actually an essential dish of metro Phoenix, and the Koko is a beautiful mix of tomato, arugula, chipotle ranch, biscuit, and crunchy fried chicken.
Windsor5223 North Central Avenue
Sitting outside on the back patio at Windsor feels a lot like enjoying dinner in a neighbor's backyard. And when you order a plate of buttermilk fried chicken — available only after 4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday nights — the feeling really sinks in. 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 — and we like the chopped kale salad to add a little "healthy" to our dinner, though the restaurant's mac and cheese is always a hit.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on November 10, 2014. It was updated on July 6, 2020. Lauren Saria contributed to this article.