Food & Drink

The 7 best fried chicken joints in Houston

Published On 10/15/2014 Published On 10/15/2014
Sam Davenport

Fried chicken is as vital to Texas history as the Alamo, but unlike the Alamo, when it comes to fried chicken, Texas wins.  Nearly anyone born and raised in the south has a Granny/Mimi/Nana who can cook some damn good fried chicken, but for those times when they aren't available, here are the best spots to get your fried poultry fix in Houston. 

The Barbecue Inn

Independence Heights
Generations of Houstonians have been able to enjoy The Barbecue Inn’s family charm and Southern taste. Their family recipes have been honed and perfected over the last 70 years, including some seriously mind-blowing fried chicken, which isn't even the most sought-after menu item (that title goes to the fried shrimp). But sometimes only bird will do, and this one does beautifully with a homemade batter that crisps up perfectly around an impossibly juicy interior.
 

Frenchy's Chicken

Frenchy’s

Multiple locations
Frenchy's puts a creole twist on their menu, which includes boudin, red beans & rice, and jambalaya. It also includes some impressive fried chicken that's always accompanied by a tasty jalapeño. If you've been to one of their many Houston locations, you've likely experienced a long line, and the feeling (as soon as you take a bite) that said line was worth it. This makes sense, as they've been perfecting their game since the original location popped up on Scott St in 1969.

Sam Davenport

Punk's Simple Southern Food

West University
From longhorn purse holders under the bar to a trophy peacock on the wall, this place screams Southern. Chef Brandi Key has developed a delicious menu inspired by all stretches of Southern cooking. They've got fried oyster BLTs, pickled Gulf shrimp, and a biscuit bar with toppings like crawfish etouffee. But of course, you can’t leave out the option developed by her ancestors: fried chicken. They encourage a family-style dinner, and you can choose a half-bird or full-bird, but either way, Grandma Pat's crispy buttermilk preparation will have you salivating before you even notice you've been given sides of biscuits, horseradish mashed potatoes, and red-eye gravy.

Sam Devenport

Max’s Wine Dive

Multiple locations
With two locations inside the loop, Max’s Wine Dive is making a tasty name for itself on the fried chicken map here in Houston. Dimly-lit, and with an ambiance that tempts you to stick around for "one more drink" (or two more bottles of wine), the place also keeps you coming back with a Southern-style menu that'll have you licking the grease off your fingers. The hard part is picking between the jalapeño-buttermilk marinated fried chicken with home fries, collared greens & Texas toast, or maple-glazed donuts & chicken wings. The easy part is saying "f*** it" and choosing both.

Sam Davenport

Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar

The Heights
Who knows whether it’s the exclusivity of this fried bird or the fact that its just DAMN GOOD that brings the crowds. Probably both, but the fact remains that if you make it into Liberty Kitchen on Wednesdays for their fried chicken special, you'll probably want to come back with more friends next Wednesday.  Accompanied by homemade hot sauce syrup and smashed potatoes & gravy, this perfectly prepared bird will make you want to get up and demand the recipe (which will not work). Although the full bird isn't available daily, you can nab some extremely tasty fried chicken sliders and also (yep) fried chicken deviled eggs.

The Breakfast Klub

The Breakfast Klub

Fourth Ward
How did a breakfast place land a spot on this list? Because this breakfast place fries chicken, puts it on top of a fried waffle, and then fries your tastebuds off with sweet and savory amazingness. Do yourself a favor, and add some grits into the mix while you're at it. Don't mind the clown who may or may not be making balloon animals while you wait for a table.

Sam Davenport

Lucille's

Museum District
This chicken-frying establishment was named after the chef/owner's great-grandmother, Lucille, the first African American businesswoman in Texas. Chef Chris Williams serves Southern-style dishes with European twists, to make his food both familiar and unique. Freshness is key, and they prove it with a backyard garden that supplies much of their produce. When it comes to the fried chicken, or "yard bird" as they call it, freshness is not spared. Organic and slow fried to perfection, the yard bird is served with garden-grown, smoked collared greens, mac & cheese, and a bourbon pickle... 'cause everything is better with a pickle. Throw in some hot rolls and some blue crab beignets and you have yourself quite a meal.

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1. Barbecue Inn 116 W Crosstimbers Rd, Houston, TX 77018

Barbecue Inn's menu has been mastered for over nearly 70 years, by tweaking and perfecting their family recipes. Their fried chicken is out of this world, and it’s not even the best thing on the menu! People drive in from all over just to enjoy their fried shrimp! With either pick, you are going to enjoy a homemade batter so crispy and tasty that it will be hard to go home and tell granny that hers still the best.

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2. Punk's Simple Southern Food 5212 Morningside Dr, Houston, TX 77005 (Rice Village)

Grandma’s fried chicken, sweet corn hushpuppies, and other Southern favorites are on the menu at this spunky Rice Village soul food spot from Clark Cooper Concepts. All the recipes have been handed down for generations, including Chef Brandi Key’s buttermilk biscuits which are offered -- stuffed and smothered -- in a mix & match biscuit bar, which sounds like it belongs in fat kid heaven. The interior feels like a modernized version of a Western saloon, carrying the restaurant's concept through both space and cuisine.

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3. Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette 1050 Studewood St, Houston, TX 77008 (The Greater Heights)

The bright blue of the cursive neon is enough of a beacon, but the '50s-diner-meets-five-star-hotel interior and fish-centric menu call to the Greater Heights like a seafood siren. Serving up fish every which way, Liberty offers big platters of East Coast oysters, pan-seared fresh fish on their own or on a po boy, and a whole slew of sides like creamy mashed potato and garlic-y sauteed spinach.

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4. The Breakfast Klub 3711 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002

This Fourth Ward breakfast spot has some of the best fried chicken in Houston. They even give you the option of fried catfish (and waffles OR GRITS!). Plus, every once in a while there is a clown that makes you balloon animals while you wait in line. Real talk.

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5. Lucille's 5512 LA Branch St, Houston, TX 77004

This chicken-frying establishment was named after the owner/executive chef’s great-grandmother, Lucille, the first African-American businesswoman of Texas. Chef Chris Williams serves Southern-style dishes with European twists, to make his dishes both familiar and unique. Freshness is key, and they prove it with a backyard garden that supplies much of their produce. When it comes to the fried chicken, "Yard Bird" as they call it, freshness is not spared.

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