Food & Drink

The 9 places that define Atlanta fried chicken

Published On 02/12/2014 Published On 02/12/2014
chicken at chop chop
Sebastian Davis
Sebastian Davis
The Busy Bee Cafe
Sebastian Davis
Pittypat's Porch Restaurant
Sway
Sebastian Davis
South City Kitchen
Watershed on Peachtree
Paschal’s
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1. Chop Chop Restaurant 809 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30316 (Reynoldstown)

Don’t let the metal grating covering every inch of the front doors fool you, this is a serious fried chicken emporium. Locals on Memorial have tried to keep this grocery/lottery/meat­-and­-three secret for years, but now its treasure has been opened to you.

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2. Busy Bee Cafe 810 Martin Luther King Jr Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30314 (West End)

Busy Bee Cafe serves traditional Southern eats. Their specialty is a 12 ­hour ­marinated masterpiece that draws fans from Macon to Marietta, and the only way to eat it is “smothered” in pan gravy. In the past year, Bernie Sanders and Killer Mike broke bread and fried chicken bones in political fellowship. Some would say BBC is “hot” again, but it’s had hot sauce ready for hungry guests and neighbors since icons of the Civil Rights Movement dined there for strategy sessions.

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3. Pittypat's Porch 25 Andrew Young International Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30303 (Downtown)

Serving up soul food with traditional Southern offerings, you can wash your meal down with a glass (or three) of “Pittypat’s Punch,” which is a a delicious mix of moonshine and fruit juice cocktail. It’s named after a character from Gone with the Wind, and PP's plates of Southern fried chicken seem to mimic the movie title soon after they reach your seat at the dinner table.

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4. Sway 265 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303 (Downtown)

Sway, in the Downtown Hyatt, completely schools any pretenders in the fried chicken game. Topped with a crispy sprig of rosemary, their giant iron skillet full of meat is a challenge for most to finish. Fortunately, you’re up to that challenge.

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5. Mary Mac's Tea Room 224 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Midtown)

At Mary Mac's Tea Room, patrons can enjoy a taste of authentic Southern cooking and hospitality. This means heaping plates of staples like fried chicken, braised ox tails, and grilled liver and onions, as well as a number of specialty drinks like the Mint Julep and Georgia Peach. The place is over 70 years old and was officially named “Atlanta’s Dining Room” by the City of Atlanta. Read any online traveler’s guides and you’ll be convinced that there’s no way to visit Atlanta without eating here. There are pencils and paper sheets on your table for you to write your own order, a tradition of MM’s that dates wayyy back (pre-Bieber).

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6. Paschal's Restaurant 180 Northside Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30314 (Castleberry Hill)

In addition to serving some of Georgia's most legendary fried chicken, Paschal's was a key meeting place for civil rights activists throughout the 60s and 70s -- suffice to say, Dr. Martin Luther King jr. was a noted regular. With a lifetime achievement award under their belt, the restaurant's founders are something like local celebrities, admired for their historic civic hospitality, and equally lauded for their inarguably delicious food. The joint's famous chicken, still battered up and fried with the Paschal brothers' famous 1947 recipe, is certainly deserving of its impressive acclaim, and the remainder of the hearty Southern eats on the menu -- po' boys, shrimp and grits, andouille sausage-heavy gumbo -- are equally worth of praise.

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7. The Colonnade Restaurant 1879 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30324 (Morningside)

Being such an Atlanta institution, they pack a full bar with heavy pours. And with over two-dozen regular sides, including “rice & giblet gravy,” you can have a different version of their delicious fried chicken for a month. It’s a place you can get reliable local dishes like North Georgia trout, as well as unique nightly specials, which are known to include unexpected grub like BBQ kangaroo.

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8. South City Kitchen Midtown 1144 Crescent Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 (Midtown)

Open for lunch, dinner & brunch, this award-winning Midtown restaurant puts a contemporary twist on classic Southern cooking.

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9. Watershed on Peachtree 1820 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30309 (Atlantic Station)

A James Beard award-winner, Watershed's a comfortable, soulful spot that's serving up locally sourced, down home, Southern grub.

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