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East Bay Fried Chicken

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Occasionally I get an unbelieveable hankering for fried chicken. Anybody got a favorite place in Oakland/Berkeley or Concord/Walnut Creek areas? All other areas ok too, these are just the areas my life takes me to regularly. I particularly like it to be crispy.

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  1. PURPLE PLUM
    4228 Park Blvd.
    Oakland CA
    Tel. 510.336.0990

    I have never had better fried chicken, anywhere, in my life, than the stuff they serve at Purple Plum. You will encounter a wait, no matter what night you arrive, and be advised they only take reservations for parties of 4 or more. But really, it's worth it. And the mashed potatoes, green beans and mac and cheese are also otherworldly.

    2 Replies
    1. re: marzipan

      What is the cross street on Park Bl please?

      1. re: Sarah

        MMMBelieve this is in the Glenview commercial strip between 580 and 13--there with Mi Casa, Cheshire Cat of ill repute, that lot.

    2. A couple of other chowhound favorites for fried chicken in the East Bay are the Merritt Bakery in Oakland (18th @ Lakeshore) and Casa Orinda in Orinda (near the theater, I believe).

      9 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I'll second the Merritt Bakery. Plus you can wander around the lake (albeit a slightly less scenic side) to walk off the calories.

        Used to really like Roscoe's Chicken'n'Waffles, but I didn't hear of them reopening after leaving the Grand Ave restaurant... so they might be history now.

        1. re: Marc Wallace

          Merritt Bakery's fried chicken is pretty good, but beware the sides. You aren't going to get collard greens or yams here. These are strictly diner-style mashed potatoes and gravy, frozen veggies and a roll. They also have fries, of course, but these are the ubiquitous inferior thick-cut frozen kind. And an iceberg lettuce salad. I'm not knocking it, just saying it's not fancy comfort food.

          The 1/4 chicken dinner is around $10. I always feel kind of ripped off when we get the bill for dinner for two and end up shelling out close to $30. Nonetheless, I actually love Merritt Bakery. To me, it's so prefectly Oakland.

          They do have huge take-out bucket options, up to 100 pieces or something.

          I've had great fried chicken at Powell's Soul Food (I think that's what it's called) on Hayes St in SF, but I'm not sure if it's still around.

          1. re: Missy P.

            I tried Merritt and didn't like it. It was greasy, not crispy, and generally not good.

            I do miss Roscoe's though! Soul Brother's Kitchen too.

            I had some fried oysters and hush puppies at some new cajun place in downtown oakland (can't remember the name, 9th and washington). I'd imagine they probably serve fried chicken. Anyone tried it?

            1. re: Dan Raffle

              Jesso's--I think that's the place you're talking about--doesn't have fried chicken, but they do have wings. They're more of a seafood place.

              Link: http://www.maxx-technologies.com/jessos/

              1. re: Dan Raffle

                Yep, it was Jesso's (new location -- the 29th+Telegraph old location has a new (if similar) sign).

                Don't recall them serving fried chicken, but I could be mistaken.

                Around 16th+Franklin (downtown Oakland) there's a chicken spot that's always smelled great. Hole in the wall, next to a hole in the wall bar named Pat's. Never tried it, but there's usually a line at lunchtime.

                1. re: Dan Raffle

                  WHAT?? Soul Brothers Kitchen is no longer??

                  1. re: Sarah

                    It's now an Ethiopean place.

                2. re: Missy P.

                  I like Merritt a lot as well, but I agree it's not as cheap as you might think it should be. Consider not ordering the dinner, and having chicken piecewise at $1.50-$2 per. Or, try the Chicken and Waffles, something like $8 for a waffle and two thighs.

                  I go there enough to have had a couple of off nights, where the chicken was not tasty and more oily than usual or necessary, but I'd say it's well under 10% of the time. Usually it's very nice indeed, crispy and not all bready, well-seasoned. I haven't had any better in the area, but have not been to Casa Orinda or had Walker's.

              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                I love Casa Orinda's fried chicken and their 50s/60s atmosphere. Walker's Pie Shop in Albany is also worth a trip to the past. Although link below is over 2 years old info still seems timely. I agree with anything Jennifer posts. (vbg)

                Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

              3. Has anyone been to Emma's Lousiana Fish and Chicken? It's near Flint's on San Pablo, across the street from the car wash.

                Looks promising, but I'm always in a hurry whenever I pass by.

                1. Here's hoping that someone checks back to this aging thread...

                  The Thai Buddhist Temple (just east of the MLK/Russel St. intersection in Berkeley - close to Ashby BART) serves amazing fried chicken that comes with sweet-sour-funky fish sauce and sticky rice if you wish. Open on Sundays, I think from about 10AM to 2PM or 3PM. Gets crowded on nice days. The fried chicken is served on the far right-hand side of the main counter, and hacked into manageable portions while you watch! What a great way to start a Sunday.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Mr. Eli

                    Thanks for the comment: people who read Hot Posts will see it!

                    Hot Posts is a feature that allows you to bring up all the new posts since a specified date (it defaults to the current date). Many (most?) regulars use it, so don't be reluctant to respond to old posts. You can bring it up from a link on the Chowhound home page or the California page (linked to the top of this board).

                    The Thai Temple is a chowhound favorite -- here's a report on a recent chowhound gathering there:

                    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  2. I thought I would revisit this thread since I was just out there. Any new places to mention? I tried Louisiana Fried Chicken. It was pretty good but nothing to write home about ... a little on the greasy side. I didn't try any of the sides.

                    I also intended to try Home of Chicken and Waffles down at Jack London Square. Apparently they used to be part of the Roscoe's chain but broke off.

                    I used to love Powell's. Unfortunately I didn't get to that part of the city during my visit to see if they still make the best fried chicken in SF.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Uptownflavor

                      I went to Home of Chicken and Waffles acouple of times when they first openned 6 or 7 years ago. I was not too impressed. But hey, they might've gotten better. My go to fried chicken places are still Merrit Bakery, DeClancey's on Park Blvd and Jodie's in Albany.

                      1. re: nicedragonboy

                        I think their appeal is staying open late and being in the right location. They never seemed busy otherwise.

                        1. re: Uptownflavor

                          No one mentioned Casa Orinda. I haven't been in ages, but the fried chicken used to be remarkable.

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                          Casa Orinda
                          20 Bryant Way, Orinda, CA 94563