Howdy Fried Chicken Lovers!
I’ve been excited and wanting to create my list of top fried chicken joints for over two years, but like fried chicken itself, you just can’t rush perfection. We’ve been enjoying fried chicken all over North Texas from casual, fast casual and fast-food joints and I’ve finally decided it was time to let the feathers fly and expose what I consider to be the BEST fried chicken in the North Texas area.
We have many places selling various forms of chicken nowadays, so I want to be clear about what I mean when discussing fried chicken. I’m talking about fresh, bone-in chicken fried to GBP – Golden Brown Perfection. Wikipedia defines fried chicken as: “Southern fried chicken,” also known simply as fried chicken, is a dish consisting of chicken pieces that have been coated with seasoned flour or batter and pan-fried, deep fried, pressure fried, or air fried. The breading adds a crisp coating or crust to the exterior of the chicken while retaining juices in the meat.
Growing up, we served fried chicken at some of our Chapman Family Restaurants and it was very good. Under our restaurant umbrella we also owned a Churches Fried Chicken franchise, and this is where I truly learned the preparation techniques and the time it took to cook and deliver fresh fried chicken. There really are no shortcuts in the process – if you try and eliminate a step, you’re asking for subpar chicken. Preparing fried chicken isn’t very technical, but I strongly believe that simple cooking processes are sometimes the hardest to pull off. The simpler the dish, the less places there are to hide from subpar preparation.
If you follow me, you know how I feel: Nothing goes better with a delicious meal than family, good friends, and a great story. That being said, let’s talk fried chicken!
When I was a young buck there was a lady cook that went by the name of Mercedes. She would cook for folks around Fort Worth at your house like a caterer would today. She also did other things for folks but her cooking was always fresh southern perfection. She cooked many dishes, but she had two dishes that I loved. I’m sure you can guess one was southern fried chicken – true skillet southern fried chicken from a cast iron skillet. The kind of chicken where every bite is succulent, flavorful, and the chicken juice just runs down your chin and gets all over your grubby little fingers. I can promise you the term “FINGER LICKING GOOD” came from dedicated hard working southern ladies like Mercedes that wouldn’t ever cut corners. Simply put, it was her way or no way in the kitchen!
I will never forget the time I was outside under some big trees and I could smell the chicken cooking. I ran inside and told her I was hungry, and not just once. It was probably more like 10 or 20 times; I was like a parrot on crack when it came to food. Even as a child I had little patience, and when it came to Mercedes fried chicken I had even LESS. I kept on badgering her and she finally had enough. She turned and kicked me out of the house and locked the front door. She said, “I’ll open it soon as I’m finished cooking my chicken, young man!” I was so intent on eating that chicken and I was worried somebody else was going to get it before me. I went around and climbed on the window seal and started tapping on the kitchen window frame and glass. Let’s just say she wasn’t happy, but she finally finished that incredible chicken and called me inside to eat.
I sat down at the table and she gave me two breasts and a leg. I got a big helping of her home-made mashed potatoes, prepared with fresh potatoes, butter and smothered in white cream gravy. The steam was bursting off the taters, and the fried chicken aromas were unforgettable. Every single bite of that chicken was savory, flavorful, succulent perfection. It was exactly like that every time she prepared it! It never varied in flavor or deliciousness and that’s why I’ve never forgotten how incredible her fried chicken dinners were.
Fried chicken has to be prepared fresh, hand-dipped, and coated with a delicious signature batter that is always the same. CONSISTENT. Mercedes used a real cast iron skillet and only cooked three pieces of chicken at a time. She would make her own batter, then hand dip the fresh chicken one piece at a time. Never in a hurry, and she never changed her process. She was patient and passionate about the cook and knew there were no short cuts to achieve the deliciousness everyone loved. I truly miss that woman and her chicken. She meant a lot to me and I always respected her and what she could cook in that kitchen. Man, I can still smell that meal now it still makes my mouth water.
The point of the story is to demonstrate how much I love fried chicken and where my passion for the southern dish derived from in my child hood. While we were traveling around enjoying fried chicken, I always keep Mercedes in the back of my mind.
I hope you will enjoy some of the fried chicken places on my list because I sure did. I had a Best Chicken Dish Special on ABC two years ago and I featured a couple of these dishes on that special. Please remember to be kind, easy on the staff and support your local restaurants. Now let’s start slinging fried deliciousness!
4234 Maple Ave #2403, Dallas, TX 75219
I had a friend in Dallas telling me about Mike’s for over a year before we tried it. I’m just sorry I didn’t take his advice sooner. I get suggestions and recommendations daily – on average about 3 to 4. I should have acted on this one sooner. Mike’s is located in a laundromat building on Maple Ave. in Dallas. Yes, I said a laundromat! Mike’s is slinging what I consider the be the BEST fried chicken in North Texas. Every aspect of their chicken is perfect and it’s consistently perfect every single time. The preparation, cook, and presentation is everything I look for in fried chicken: it’s savory, crispy, succulent, flavorful with a hint of salt and a load of deliciousness. Simply put, they should rename Mike’s Chicken and call it MORE. Because more is all you will want with each juicy bite of chicken. It’s R.I.D.I.C.I.L.O.U.S. – ridiculously delicious that is! Don’t forget Mike’s buttery house biscuits because they are some of the best you will ever put in your mouth.
5701 Curzon Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Unfortunately, as I write my article, Drew’s Place has decided to close temporarily. They will reopen – just follow their social media and watch for notifications on their status. Located in Fort Worth on the west side off Curzon Street, they have an awesome old school atmosphere. I had to include Drew’s Fried Chicken because it’s so perfect and delicious every time. They prepare using fresh chicken and house batter to fry their chicken GBD Golden Brown and Delicious every single time. It’s savory, loaded with great flavors, slightly crispy and has a unique flavor profile that screams Drew’s. It is some seriously delicious fried chicken. You will be sucking your fingers to get every last drop of the flavor-loaded chicken juice. Don’t forget some house-prepared sides, greens or deliciousness. Everything from Drews place is a trip to Deliciousville! They’re also some of the BEST people you will ever meet!
2713 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75226
I like this chicken so much I featured it on my Best Chicken DISHES special on ABC Channel 8 a few years ago. They are located in Deep Ellum in the heart of the arts district. I love that name Brick and Bones, kinda catchy! Classified as Mexican Fried Chicken, it’s something you’ve never tasted before. They will tell you it is a throwback bar in Deep Ellum focused on craft Mexican fried chicken, great cocktails, and curated spirits. They started in the kitchen, where they cooped up and built a menu centering around Mexican-inspired fried chicken, which is their specialty! Prepared with fresh chicken and over 15 different fresh Mexican spices, it’s stupid delicious. The first time I put this chicken in my mouth I said, ”S!@#$%^& W.T.F.” because it was so damn delicious! I ordered a second helping because one just wasn’t enough. If you love lip-smacking savory chicken – some of the BEST in North Texas, then head over to see them at B & B. Tell’em big Trey sent you! Oh and don’t forget the Mac-N-Cheese with your fried chicken.
2023 Greenville Ave #110, Dallas, TX 75206
I also featured this delicious dish on my Best Chicken DISHES special on ABC Channel 8 a few years ago! Located on Greenville in Dallas, Chef Nathan will say that details are always important and they’re all about the details at Rapscallion. When I first heard the name Rapscallion I smiled, because the definition of Rapscallion is a mischievous person, lol! I just had to go meet this Chef. I was eager to meet him and try the Long Walk To Nashville Hot Chicken. Let me tell you after the first bite I’m not sure If I took any breaths of air as I inhaled this delicious savory, crispy, juicy chicken. Each piece is a kaleidoscope of flavors on your palette with a slight hint of salt and heat to round out the flavor profile. It is one of those dishes you will tell everyone about! Prepared fresh to order and with 25 different fresh spices, this fried chicken is truly unforgettable. Head over to Rapscallion and be a little mischievous, lol!
1067 W Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76104
I know this is considered Nashville Hot Chicken, but I don’t care because it’s dam delicious. Gus will say it’s simply the best-fried chicken on the planet…but you won’t know what they mean until you try a piece or two yourself! I’m telling you: this spicy, crispy fried chicken will make you have chicken dreams while you sleep. I have the same dreams and that’s when I head to Gus’s in Fort Worth. The chicken is savory, light, crispy, and has some heat that you will fall in love with. The legend is that someone asked Gus Vanderbilt of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken for his fried chicken recipe and he simply replied, “I ain’t telling.” They marinate it overnight, put a little of this on it, with a dash of that, and then toss it in the fryer. By the time we get the finished cluck cluck, it’s fresh, hot, a little spicy, with a delicious crunchy skin. I can’t ever stop eating the stuff. All I know is Ol’ Gus knows what the hell he’s doing. I’m sure he won’t ever turn loose his legendary chicken recipe. Fortunately for us, you can eat as much as you can buy. You better take a bib, some wipes, and get some chicken to go while you’re at it! It’s a trip straight to chicken deliciousville.
3413 W 7th St, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Located on Upper West 7th in Fort Worth, Chef M.T. is one of the original celebrity chefs in the DFW area. He’s been slinging deliciousness in Texas for decades and always uses farm-fresh products to create big, bold flavors that everyone loves. His restaurant is very cozy, with a classy and friendly atmosphere. His creative secret recipe for Fried chicken is no exception. It is loaded with savory, crispy deliciousness. It’s hard to put the chicken down until it’s all gone. Always served HF&D Hot Fresh and Delicious! If you’ve haven’t visited Chef M.T. on Upper West 7th Street then you need to be sure and make that trip. Tell’em Trey sent you and you want some of that HF&D Fried Chicken. You can also get curbside or TOGO if you like. Just get you some!!
Fort Worth Proper 18 Locations
I’ve been banging on Lisa’s chicken doors for over a decade, and banging hard! While they are considered to serve simple southern fried chicken, remember that I said simple dishes are the hardest to pull off. Lisa’s just does it right! Using fresh chicken and hand-battering with Lisa’s house batter and then dropping in the fryer, it’s always perfect chicken! I have Lisa cravings all the time and now I order it straight to my house. It’s always savory, slightly crispy, and loaded with deliciousness. And why not? It’s hand prepared with Lisa’s love in the kitchen and everyone follows that recipe of deliciousness. If you haven’t checked out Lisa’s, try them and grab some fried catfish too. You will thank me later I can promise you that!
6465 East Mockingbird Lane Dallas, TX 75214
I’m just going to say the minute I walked in the door and heard those ladies yell “Hi Welcome to Palmers!” I got warm food fuzzies. Palmers is NEW to Dallas but not NEW to the fried chicken world. They offer a vibrant atmosphere with awesome service, delicious fried chicken and a full bar. Yea, a full bar! ” They are slinging fried chicken, cocktails, froses and FUN! They offer Authentic NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN with different levels of heat. The offer different levels of heat. You can pick no heat or 911 call the FIRE department HOT HEAT. The flavor profiles with Palmers secret chicken time tested receipt is savory deliciousness that you will really enjoy. Don’t forget a Palmers fresh FROSES from the bar it pairs perfectly with their fried chicken. Throw those doors open and YELL: “Trey sent us to CHOW DOWN!”
Multiple North Texas Locations
Back in the year 1987, Mr. Williams opened his first fried chicken restaurant in Dallas. Since then they have grown to multiple locations all over the place. I started eating William’s back in the late 80’s and have enjoyed them ever since. Starting with only fresh chicken, they’ve stayed true over the years using the Williams Family secret recipe to create savory, fresh fried chicken deliciousness. It’s always consistent and carries that southern fried chicken deliciousness stamp! If you love authentic southern fried chicken, you need to chow down on some Williams.
2 Locations in Dallas
Streets Fine Chicken is slinging hand-prepared fried chicken, sides and fresh craft cocktails. I haven’t met the chefs or owners of this brand, but I’ve enjoyed their chicken deliciousness on several occasions. Chef-driven classic southern chicken that is hand-prepared with love and each piece is fried chicken perfection. Every bite offers a flavor profile you can’t and won’t forget. If you haven’t tried Streets then you need to head over and chow down. Don’t forget a fresh tasty cocktail – you will enjoy the added experience. Tell’em Trey sent you for some of that unforgettable fried chicken.
Bonus Chicken House for the families to enjoy!
10 North Texas Locations
I’m going to make this easy for you and tell you that Babe’s is a family dining experience like no other in the fried chicken world. They offer a cozy family atmosphere with awesome service and delicious southern fried chicken with unlimited family shareable sides. Babe’s will tell you that, “They wanted a sit-down restaurant where people really feel at home. Babe’s is a casual place where you’ll feel comfortable in your blue jeans or cutoffs. Where your neighbors wait on you and your whole family.” That pretty much sums up Babe’s, except to say they are slinging some of THE BEST fried chicken in Texas. It’s always prepared fresh, hand-dipped and with Babe’s passion for savory, crispy deliciousness! If you haven’t been to a Babe’s you need to head over there and chow down. Don’t say I didn’t warn you because they are going to roll you out of there in a wheelbarrow because you won’t be able to stop eating all that savory fried deliciousness! Tell’em Trey sent you!
I would highly suggest a fried chicken adventure to try all the top ten winners. Be sure to visit each and every location because they all offer different flavors and experiences. Tag me in your photos @Trey’s Chow Down and Trey Chapman.
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-Trey Chow Down Chapman, Fried Chicken Professor