Food & Drink

From Ezell's and Ma'ono to Quick Pack (?!), these are Seattle's 12 best fried chicken spots

Published On 05/07/2014 Published On 05/07/2014

If there's one thing you have to explain to people about Seattle it's... well, these 18 things... but also that this Northwest town's serving some sweet takes on the South's signature comfort food: fried chicken. So many, in fact, that it's tough to pick the perfect poultry. Unless, of course, someone assembles you a list of Seattle's 12 best fried chicken spots. OH, WAIT...

Best fried chicken sides: Ma’ono Fried Chicken & Whisky
West Seattle
This previously only-available-on-Monday fried chicken's so badass that James Beard-winner Mark Fuller turned his old place into a full-time fried chicken shack, albeit one with unusual flavors/sides, like a Spicy-Hot Kimchi w/ live shucked oysters that sees your coleslaw, and then beats it up and takes its lunch money.

Naomi Bishop

Best fried chicken for breakfast: Meander’s Kitchen
White Center
This daytime-eats destination isn't very good at accurate slogans (they say, "Arteries are for sissies", when everyone knows they're for carrying blood away from your heart. Duh!), but is good at breakfast foods like crispy fried chicken on a fluffy biscuit w/ enough gravy that your arteries might not actually be doing that whole "carrying blood" thing for long. 

Naomi Bishop

Best fried chicken on a waffle: Restaurant Roux
The dude behind Where Ya At Matt didn't just bring the menu from one of America's best food trucks to his new brick-and-mortar, he added stuff like these fried chicken & waffles topped w/ ham hock maple jus. Oh, and that’s bacon syrup to you.

Naomi Bishop

Best spicy fried chicken: Chiang’s Gourmet
The peppers at this Lake City Way spot are even spicier than they look, and there're almost as many of 'em as there are pieces of gloriously crunchy chicken. Our advice? Just wash your hands before you touch... anything else.

Naomi Bishop

Best "broasted" chicken: Marco Polo Bar & Grill
Broasting isn't just what you do to the guy buying drinks at your fraternity reunion, it's also what they do to their chicken that makes it worthing taking a trip all the way to China! Just kidding, it's only SoDo.

Naomi Bishop

Best fried chicken takeout for a group: Bourbon and Bones
This stuff's marinated in lemon, thyme, cayenne & garlic, comes with hot sauce made w/ Tonnemaker Farms’ organic Ring of Fire cayenne peppers, and is available by the piece, but, given that their slogan's “F*ckit, get a bucket”, you should probably get more than that.

Naomi Bishop

Best grandma-style fried chicken: Waterwheel Lounge
This unassuming shackstaurant assumes you're not just there for the free Bingo on Tuesday nights, and once you taste the surprisingly scratch-made bird, you won't be.

Naomi Bishop

Best fried gizzards: Ezell’s Famous Chicken
Central District
It takes 10 extra minutes to get Ezell's fried gizzards & livers, which means you've got plenty of time to laugh at the suckers who are settling for the, admittedly awesome, original recipe instead of waiting to get what chicken nuggets would be if they weren’t made out of... um, whatever they’re made out of.

Naomi Bishop

Best fried chicken using Ezell’s recipe: Heaven Sent Fried Chicken by Ezell Stephens
Lake City
Ezell might have lost the rights to his name and his restaurant in court, but he did not lose his talent for frying a mean chicken.

Naomi Bishop

Best fried chicken from a convenience store: Quick Pack Food Mart
Central District
All those cars in the parking lot? They're not there for cigarettes and diet cokes, they're lining up for some special, spice-rubbed fowl, that's well-known enough that they always keep some in the fryer, but can still be our little secret. Oops.

Best fried chicken sandwich: Pinky’s BBQ
Ways to take chicken from boring to awesome: A) smoke it, B) fry it, or C) put it in a sandwich. Ways to take it from boring to worth-abandoning-your-car-in-45th-St-traffic? D), all of the above.

Best buttermilk-fried chicken: Kingfish
Capitol Hill
They won't tell you what's in their "My Way or the Highway Buttermilk Fried Chicken", but put it on top of a salad, or some waffles, or just pile it on a plate with some mashed potatoes, gravy, and slow-cooked collard greens. We won't tell you which one to choose.

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1. Ma'ono Fried Chicken & Whiskey 4437 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 (West Seattle)

Ma'ono means flavor. Flavor means Hawaiian cuisine. This Junction joint is helmed by island native Chef Mark Fuller, who sources ingredients from the Northwest and the Pacific Rim to bring Seattle authentic Hawaiian dishes like poke and the beef- and sausage-based Loco Moco. It wouldn't be a visit to Ma-ono, however, without a round of chicken, twice-fried and umami spiced, and a least a little taste of their 40+ bourbons, ryes, single malts, imported, and domestic whiskys, either on their own or in a house cocktail.

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2. Restaurant Roux 4201 N Fremont Ave, Seattle, WA 98103 (Fremont)

Helmed by the guy who brought the po boy to Seattle with the Where Ya at Matt? food truck, Restaurant Roux is Matt Lewis' brick-and-mortar extension offering up even more Southern and French Creole eats in Fremont. His New Orleans roots, French culinary training, and Pacific Northwestern location all come together in the form of comforting dishes like buttermilk fried chicken, grilled trout, and ham-brined pork chops. And with names like Red-Footed Baby, Purple Skirt, and Doctor Boggs, even the handful of affordable cocktails carry on this spot's Louisiana spirit.

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3. Chiang's Gourmet 7845 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115

Chiang's exterior doesn't amount to much (its building was formerly a fast-food restaurant) and the interior resembles any average Westernized Chinese restaurant with bare walls, white tablecloths, and large, lazy Susan-equipped round tables, but the place is often packed with locals there for dim sum and family-style dinners. The long and winding menu features standout dishes like house-made Shanghai noodles, five-star chicken, and sizzling rice soup.

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4. Marco Polo Bar & Grill 5613 4th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108 (Sodo)

When you hear Marco Polo, the first thing you think is DEFINITELY fried chicken. Or, you know, world explorers. But this spot in SoDo is slinging their famous "broasted" chicken. Which is presumably fried chicken that likes hanging out in gym shorts.

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5. Bourbon & Bones 4350 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA 98107 (Fremont)

Boasting "smoked meat, fried chicken, and whiskey," Bourbon & Bones is serving up everything you need to have an authentic BBQ experience in Fremont. What's better than whiskey cocktails? Whiskey cocktails served in mason jars.

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6. Waterwheel Lounge 7034 15th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117 (Ballard)

The Waterwheel Lounge is a dimly lit roadhouse dive in Ballard serving Southern-inspired food and plenty of beer. They’re known for their fried chicken dinners and their original Waterwheel Cheesesteak, and they’re open every day from 2pm until 2am, and on weekends from 10am to 2am to serve brunch to Ballard’s masses. The Waterwheel Lounge has daily happy hour specials, weekly trivia nights, live music, and a whole host of games for guests to enjoy. Beyond the bingo, ping pong, and karaoke, they’re keeping up with the tech times with modern options like Guitar Hero and Wii Sports.

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7. Ezell's Famous Chicken 501 23rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 (Central District)

For over 20 years, Ezell's has been serving up some of Seattle's favorite fried chicken. They've got plenty of locations all over Washington, and cater events, so they can bring their battered-n-fried awesomeness straight to you.

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8. Heaven Sent Chicken 14330 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98125 (Lake City)

From the same guy who brought you Ezell's, Heaven Sent features all of the fried, bready, poultry classics you've come to know and love. The fried chicken is a no-brainer, but don't miss their signature baked beans, which are slow-cooked in BBQ sauce.

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9. Quick Pack Food Mart 2616 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98144 (Central District)

Have you ever wanted to get delicious fried chicken at the same place you pick up your soda or cigarettes? Well NOW YOU CAN at Central District's Quick Pack, where they're serving up gloriously fried bird along with standard convenience store items.

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10. Pinky's Kitchen 211 NE 45th St, Seattle, WA 98105 (Wallingford)

Proving sliders are more than just a vehicle from which to dispense hilarious, pithy quips about Jerry O'Connell and that fat bearded dude traveling to a parallel universe where penicillin had not been invented, are the two dudes (one behind Rancho Bravo, the other the former owner of Bizzarro Italian) behind the slider-heavy, BBQ-inspired menu at Pinky's Kitchen, their dispenser of "pig 'n chips", which is also a short-lived spin-off in which Ponch and John compete over chubby women.

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11. Kingfish Cafe 602 19th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112 (Capitol Hill)

One of the few seriously Southern eateries in Seattle, this Eastern Cap Hill hole-in-the-wall boasts a slightly Gothic-inspired interior, and a menu stocked with family favorites like crawfish and corn chowder, Sho'Nuff fried green tomatoes, and their My Way or the Highway buttermilk fried chicken. Plus, they do a badass weekend brunch with bread pudding, chicken & waffles, and other stuff that'll make your diet head... waitforit!... South.

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12. Meander's Kitchen 9809 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106

Meander (sorryboutthat!) down to White Center for some good ol’ fashioned AM-eats only rivaled by yo mama’s cooking. Drop by from 8am-3pm for next-level dishes like the Punk House Hash and super-tasty Belgian Liège waffles with a bevy of toppings.