Like pizza, fried chicken had a pretty great year in NYC in 2014, and as a result, so did all of us (it’s called trickle-down chickenomics, look it up). Here, though, are the eight new spots that had the pretty greatest year (looks like the LES was 2014's fried chicken hotbed).
NYC's 8 best new fried chicken spots of 2014
This Southern spot from from a couple of Top Chef-ers is charming in all the right ways, and pulls off some amazing (if not somewhat divisive) fried chicken. It's slightly citrus-y, somehow kind of light tasting, "crazy juicy" poultry that’s brined in sweet tea, dredged in seasoned flour, and pressure fried, which pushes the moisture into the bird. It's also topped with dehydrated and ground lemon slices and comes with a side of bourbon Tabasco honey. And, since you only eat things sandwiched between waffles because you’re a Goddamn genius, they’ve also got a bomb sandwich here just for you.
Lower East Side
It’s a fried chicken spot that also specializes in Champagne. Which, it turns out, is a natural fit for the flavors the crispy bird is bringing to the table. Get the Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner for a whole bird, three sides, and a bread basket.
Lower East Side
With both Southern fried and Korean fried options, this chicken wing bar has something for just about any type of fried chicken enthusiast, especially if you’re the type of enthusiast who likes gochujang Buffalo sauce or palm sugar & calamansi seasoning. Also of super-awesome note: drinks in coconuts.
Lower East Side
It was a very good year for fried chicken in the the Lower East Side in 2014, and this second location of the Williamsburg favorite is a big reason why. The always-strong regulars are on the roster here as well as a few specials, including chicken & "foieffles": fried chicken, duck fat maple syrup, and waffles with foie gras packed INSIDE of them. This place gets crazy, and it works.
Murray Hill needed two things in 2014: 1) a luxury beer pong table dealership, and 2) a badass place to get crazy-as-hell, late-night chicken fingers. Sadly, it only got one of those two things. Way-less-sadly, the one it got was a second NYC location of Sticky’s, which both immediately got crazy with the fingers (latke finger anyone?) and introduced the world to s’mores fries.
This spot wowed Williamsburg at Smorgasburg by unleashing its General Tso’s buttermilk fried chicken on the already crazy-crowded outdoor food market, combining the best of couch-lazing delivery days and butter milk-infused, top-notch ingredients. Thankfully it's available at the Fort Greene restaurant as well.
1. Wilma Jean345 Smith St, Brooklyn
2. Root & Bone200 E 3rd St, New York
3. Birds & Bubbles100B Forsyth St, New York
4. Seoul Chicken71 Clinton Street, New York
5. Sweet Chick178 Ludlow St, New York
6. Sticky's Finger Joint484 3rd Avenue, New York
7. Martha184 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn
8. The Derby167 Orchard St, New York
Armed with Southern hospitality, Wilma Jean in Gowanus serves up stackable portions of double cheeseburgers, fried bologna sandwiches, fried pickles, and its signature fried chicken, the latter of which is served atop a potato bun, on a stick, and in half-portions. Run by a husband and wife duo, the counter-service spot is a solid option for brunch, happy hour (its daily beer and wine deals are an added bonus), or for a late dinner, with the kitchen open until 10pm seven days a week.
Top Chef veterans Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth dominate Alphabet City's fried chicken scene with Root & Bone. It's a Southern kitchen doing takeout-able, down-home (yet sneakily refined) eats, in a spot that could easily be the ground floor of some country B&B somewhere. Irresistible offerings include gooey corn spoonbread, BBQ brisket biscuits, and, of course, fried chicken.
Sarah Simmons' upscale restaurant on the Lower East Side is dedicated to two things: Southern food and champagne. The menu changes with the seasons but you can always expect the signature buttermilk fried chicken, available by the half or full bird, and an extensive selection of champagne and sparkling wines. The subterranean space opens onto a large outdoor patio, and though it's popular for brunch and dinner, Birds & Bubbles serves a late-night menu with the aforementioned fried chicken and biscuit sandwiches that's a huge draw on Friday and Saturday nights.
This Korean fried chicken spot (serving SEVEN different types!) is one of the hottest spots in the LES for quick and delicious grub. Coming from Chaz Brown of Top Chef, Around the World in 80 Plates, and Fatty Crab fame, sip on some coconut-laden 'tails and some watermelon covered in lard, as well.
The Brooklyn favorite's LES location has some of the best chicken & waffle combos in the entire city. Creations in the past have included chicken and Parm waffles and a special, weekend-only chicken & foieffles, and definitely don't sleep on the tasty cocktails, which are all original creations.
Pizza and burgers be damned, Sticky's wants to convert you to the chicken finger camp. Part lunch counter, part gourmet version of KFC, Sticky's is a sparsely decorated NYC chain whose graffitied walls and simple booths force you to focus on its wonderfully crispy chicken fingers and poppers, house-made dipping sauces, and loaded sides like the cheesy, greasy bacon mac fries.
Hit up this fantastic eatery in Fort Greene for next-level eats (like pork belly bao) and General Tso's buttermilk fried chicken.