Food & Drink

The 8 Best Fried Chicken Spots in Philly

Published On 03/05/2014 Published On 03/05/2014
fried chicken thrillist
Sebastian Davis

Next to sweatpants, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything as comforting as fried chicken (and we're pretty damn good at wearing sweatpants). Whether it's served on its own, or on top of waffles at one of Philly's best boozy brunches, our town batters birds better than anyplace outside the Deep South, and these 8 local restaurants have all the proof you need.

Vanessa Beahn/The Fat Ham

The Fat Ham

Old City
Now open for lunch, this Southern-style joint does extra-juicy and extra-spicy fried chicken that's plated on ranch-covered bread that really isn't meant to be eaten, only to counteract the spiciness (but go ahead, did you hear us say it's got ranch on it?!).

Stephen Yaeger/Jones

Jones Restaurant

Center City
If you're jonesing for something more than just deep-fried protein AND buttery Belgian-style carbs, know that JR tops its chicken and waffles with a thick chicken noodle soup-style gravy that might be just as good on its own.

Federal Donuts

Federal Donuts

Old City
There are 74 types of federal buildings you can line up to get inside, but the only one you actually want to line up to get inside is this much-lauded fry shop where they're serving up dry-cured and double-fried Korean-style bird, and, as the name suggests, some of the city's best fresh-fried cake-rings.

Twisted Tail

The Twisted Tail

South Street
When you get bored with the same old waffle underneath your chicken, this little piggy has chicken and sweet potato waffles to try for Sunday brunch. Not only that, they tout an awesome selection of suds that wash it down well.

Sbraga

Sbraga

Rittenhouse Square
Nashville hot chicken, a Tennessee staple, is made with birds brought in from Griggstown Farms, that're brine'd in buttermilk, covered in cayenne-spiced flour, and after they hit the fryer, paired with Southern classics like ranch dressing, coleslaw, and pickles.

Rex 1516

Rex 1516

South Street West
Chicken thighs and drumsticks soak in sweet tea for 24hrs, then get coated in flour and hot sauce buttermilk, and dropped in the fryer (twice!), before being plated with the kind of down-home food (tater tots, collard greens, etc.) that totally Rex appetites if you're not careful.

The Industry

The Industry Bar

Old City/Pennsport
These birds get a three-day bath before getting all gussied up in flour and deep-fried grease, finished with some honey glaze and sambal, and dropped on a skillet of cornbread, or potato salad, though you should probably skip the latter, unless Chris Rock is wrong and there is something wrong with the former.

Percy Street BBQ

Percy Street BBQ

Washington Square West
Opened by the crew behind Zahav and Xochitl, this authentic Texas-style BBQ spot does meat by the pound/half-pound, plus beers by the gallon/half-gallon in a red & beige 150-seater that's also a go-to for some sweet chicken, which they'll Q-up whole, or fry and make badass biscuit sandwiches with, obviously.

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1. The Fat Ham 3131 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (Old City)

Southern-inspired eatery Fat Ham serves up pork pretty much any way you can imagine it: from ham and eggs to their charcuterie platter, you're bound to get your down-home, Southern fix here.

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2. Federal Donuts 1 Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148

The third location of the donut franchise is at Citizens Bank Park and serves Section 140 with twice-fried chili-garlic and barbecue-glazed bird, plus out-of-left-field sugared 'nuts like lemon creme and chocolate malted.

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3. Percy Street Barbecue 900 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (Philadelphia)

From the crew behind Zahav and Xochitl, Percy's serving up authentic Texas-style BBQ by the pound/half-pound, plus beers by the gallon/half-gallon in the former Crescent City spot now decked out as a red & beige 150-seater with church pew seating at padded leather-topped tables, and above-bar lights inside green gallon jugs suspended with pulley hooks from meat lockers.

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4. The Twisted Tail 509 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (South Street)

The Twisted Tail's a hulking two-story joint from a classically trained actor who, while touring Tennessee with his theater company, fell in love with the Deep South's food, drink, and music, and has now launched his tribute to bourbon and blues, the most notable Southern combination since Brooks & Dunn.

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5. Jones Restaurant 700 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106 (Market East)

Though known for their brunch, this eatery runs the gamut with its cuisine, serving up everything from chicken tandoori kebabs to chicken and waffles.

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6. Sbraga 440 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19146 (Center City West)

Top Chef champ Kevin Sbraga's eponymous joint offers a predominantly prix-fixe global menu in an interior full of repurposed fir-planked walls, low-slung leather & tweed banquettes, and vintage-look Edison-style lighting.

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7. Rex 1516 1516 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (G Ho)

From the crew behind Jet Wine Bar, Rex 1516 is a breezy 35-seater that pairs an interior reminiscent of a derelict mansion (wrought iron chandeliers, antique mirrors, distressed woodwork) with a Mobile-bred, chef-prepped menu that covers all the Deep South culinary bases. With ongoing whiskey specials and a killer burger (and a home run mac nā€™ cheese), you get both killer food and drink under one roof.

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8. The Industry Bar 1401 E Moyamensing Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (Pennsport)

Although the Industry Bar features some slick local brews on tap and serves a more than decent dinner, you'll wanna hit up the brunch inside the cabin-like interior to lap up some middle-of-the-day 'tails and super-tasty eats.

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