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Fried Chicken Recs

Any good places for fried chicken that aren't too far (in driving time) from the I35 corridor ? THANKS for your help .

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  1. As bad as it sounds, the best experiences I've had with fried chicken in Austin usually comes from Popeye's. I'm not even aware of any non-chain restaurants that serve fried chicken aside from chicken fried chicken or the ubiquitous chicken strips.

    Of course, if someone can point me in a different direction, I'm probably game to try it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: exlnghrn

      I agree. It doesn't exist in Austin. I moved here 17 years ago after spending a lot of time the prior 3 years in Kansas City and eating at Strouds about every time I was there. Moved down here and have been looking since. Chicken Fried Chicken is about as close as you can get. Original Threadgills used to have a decent one of those, but I haven't been there in years and heard it had gone downhill. The new Threadgills is not good at all.

      1. re: exlnghrn

        Call Arkies Grill....tell em to drop you a half a fried chicken and you'll be there in twenty minutes.Arrive,wait ten minutes and your food will appear.Eat some damn decent fried chicken,ask the waitress what the freshest pie is,she will be honest and the pie will be good,have a cup of their truckstop coffee you will be buzzed up and comfortably full.

      2. The fried chicken I've had at Tony's Southern Comfort was fantastic.

        5 Replies
        1. re: tom in austin

          i'm going to have to agree with tom in austin. tony's fried chicken is some of the best i've had in austin yet.

          1. re: ktown378

            I’m another big fan of the fried chicken at Tony's Southern Comfort. Gene's does a pretty good job with fried chicken, too. And if you like fried chicken gizzards, check out Reggie’s.

            You'll find more details on these three places on the "austin soul food" thread:



            1. re: MPH

              Top Notch Burger on Burnet Road has really good fried chicken (thought it has been a while since I've had it).

              1. re: RonJ

                Personally, I like Top Notch's burgers but not their fried chicken, though there are other local ‘hounds who do like it. To quote something I posted elsewhere (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37331... ):

                “I think the chicken is tasteless and the oil is rancid far too often. The breading is crunchy and just greasy enough, but it doesn't taste good. It just tastes fried. For the same reason (poor quality of oil, flavorless coating), I don't get that excited about their onion rings.”

                It’s not bad for fast food, but it’s not my ideal version of fried chicken, either. For what it’s worth.


          2. re: tom in austin

            Yes! Tony's does give southern chicken comfort.

          3. Gene's or Top Notch are your best bets.

            1. I'm going to have to second the Popeye's rec. Love that chicken from Popeye's. Seriously. I'm hoping to try Tony's this week, so I'll ring in on that later.

              4 Replies
              1. re: foodiegal71

                While Popeye's is about as solid as a national fast food fried chicken chain can get, you'll find that Tony's completely blows it away. I'm not sure how I survived my fried chicken cravings (in Austin) before discovering Tony's.

                1. re: tom in austin

                  I'm going to Tony's for lunch on Friday and I can't wait to try the fried chicken now!

                  1. re: foodiegal71

                    If you like chicken fried steak, I recommend getting what I call "Best of Both Worlds": order the chicken drumettes appetizer and a chicken fried steak main course. This rarely goes wrong for me.

                    1. re: tom in austin

                      That, my friend, is sound advice. I am going to have to do this for sure! Thank you.

              2. Many thanks to Tom in Austin, ktown, MPH, and others who recommended Tony's Southern Comfort for fried chicken.

                Holiday visitors developed a craving for it, and I found this thread after a non-trivial amount of hunting / searching for it. Maybe this recent reply will make the thread easier to find for others.

                The fried chicken was moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, and had a flavor that I woke up craving.

                Mashed potato w/ gravy and red beans and rice sides were very good; both the gravy and red beans and rice could have been spicier. They were out of veggies which I was really hoping to try.

                The only hiccup was that the day had everyone split up running various errands, and I could tell that the female relative who caught the Tony's errand was a little jar'd by the homeless guy offering to watch her car, and didn't expect the homeless people inside. However, she loved the fried chicken too, said she wants to go back on next visit to try the veggies too, just not alone ;-).

                2 Replies
                1. re: sweet100s

                  Just adding an update: Tony's Southern Comfort was really on their fried-food game today. The last time I went, also on a Sunday, the fried chicken was pretty good, but it wasn't as good as usual. Something seemed to be off with the frying oil. This afternoon the place was packed with people enjoying fried chicken and waffles (among other things)—and with good reason. Their fried chicken, of which I ate way too much, was well executed, with flavorful breading and moist chicken. The exterior was well seasoned, and needed no salt and pepper. Their waffles are always quite soft, but at least they are rich and eggy—and become even more decadent if you add tons of melted butter and syrup. Even when I order the chicken and waffles, I always ask for a side of the spicy sauce that comes with the fried-chicken drumettes.

                  Their CFS was good today, too. Occasionally, when I've gone at off hours, I've been served versions in which the breading has ballooned away from the meat. That wasn't the case today. The peppery breading and meat cohered perfectly, and the steak was tender and flavorful. The mashed potatoes on the side were pretty good. They still look and taste homemade, though they're just plain, mashed-up potatoes (no cream, no butter). Fortunately, though, they come doused with white-cream gravy. The gravy today was good. It wasn't floury, and it had a nice touch of black pepper. The green beans were just standard green beans, very soft, no discernible pork flavor. They're probably canned. To me, their corn bread seemed better today than I remember it being in the past. It's still cake-like, but it's sweeter and moister.

                  Desserts were a mixed bag. The peach-cobbler filling seemed like it consisted of very cinnamony canned peaches topped with a cakey pie-crust-like topping which had become a little soggy. The crust didn't have much buttery flavor, but it was a little sweet. If I'm not mistaken, the filling might not have been baked at all. It still had some of the crunch of peach slices straight from the can. The cobbler pastry hadn't browned much, either. In fact, this is one of the palest peach cobblers I've ever had.

                  The German chocolate cake consisted of a single-layer chocolate cake, just a little more than 1" thick, with a dense, brownie-like crumb. It was topped with a gooey, housemade, take on standard German-chocolate frosting that had been drizzled with a chocolate glaze that had hardened. At first, when I tasted it at the restaurant, I liked this cake. It was still cold, but it tasted pretty good. Since I was too full to eat the whole slice, I took most of it home. Later, though, after the cake had warmed up, the interior seemed very dry and flavorless. The frosting was still pretty good, but it seemed much sweeter than it had previously. I wondered just how fresh the cake was. This was one time when a cake tasted better cold than it did warm. Next time, I might just order another slice of corn bread (or another waffle!) instead of having dessert.

                  1. re: MPH

                    Thanks for the update MPH!

                    If anyone has any 'pull' with Mr. Tony, could you please convince him to serve fried chicken on Fridays ?

                    Twice now I've tried to get Tony's delicious fried chicken on Fridays on the way home from the airport on a Friday, but no love.

                    Friday seems to be Catfish day...

                2. Why would a Chowhound even admit to goin' to Popeyes, much less advocate it? Eat local, dudes, you have some great chicken dives, jump in! TSC or Gene's rule!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    When you're picking up a bucket of chicken to head to Zilker hillside theatre with a minivan full of kids, sometimes Popeyes is just just the best logistical choice.
                    And sadly, the one time I had top-notch chicken, the grease tasted old. Was a few years ago, but still.

                    1. re: TroyTempest

                      I'm sure it's out of your way, but Regio on Riverside has excellent roast chicken and is cheap. We didn't have a van full of kids but we did have our daughter, her boy friend and dog.

                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        I'm glad you hit a few of Austin's chow highlights while you were in town, Passadumkeg. When I visit a new city, I also make it an imperative to do advance research and then hit only the best-sounding restaurants. After all, I can't afford to try every place in town at my leisure, like the locals do, since I usually only have a few days. While I am no fan of national chains, I take it that TroyTempest's point is that sometimes locals make different dining decisions than visiting chowhounds who have more free time. That seems logical to me. It's also true that a lot of people like Popeye's fried chicken. There are several raves about it on regional boards all over this site as well as those specifically on the Chains board.

                        By the way, have any local chowhounds tried the fried chicken at Arkie's Grill lately? As much as I like my regular options, it's also good to branch out.

                        1. re: MPH

                          We very much enjoyed Austin and look forward to a return visit. A report on our visit is forthcoming; after we get done dealing with all the new snow! As a hound, I just object to the whole concept of international chain restaurants on economic, political and culinary grounds. Locally owned and operated chains are my preference. I really used to enjoy a Lotta Berger w/ double green chile when living in New Mexico. We had a Popeye's briefly here in Maine and once when stuck for evening meetings, did try it.
                          We had dinner tonight from fixin's purchased a fiesta. I bought chaqui(dried beef) for a Bolivian rice dish, majadito. How is it used locally?
                          Senor cinco cinquenta, I very much enjoy reading your posts, your observations are very much respected, you are the don of Austin chowhounds.

                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            it is often used for a breakfast dish called machacado. depending on where you are in/from mexico it is also called machaca

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              Oh, how I miss Blake's double green chile Lottaburger....

                          2. re: Passadumkeg

                            Most everything's out of my way. I live in Oak Hill, but I'll have to El Regio. I keep hearing good things about it. MPH, your post above hits the nail on the head. If was visiting a new town, I'd bypass the chain unless I felt I had no choice.
                            and I have to admit, though popeyes isn't the best, I like it, and I like the Red Beans and rice, which for fast food is pretty good

                      2. I guess according to some here, I have a somewhat unrefined palate-I love the chicken at Top Notch. But, I will have to try Tony's-I may change my mind.
                        The Austin Chronicle food section did quite a bit of research on the subject. I do believe both Tony's and Top Notch were mentioned.

                        Original Story:

                        Article posted on some she forgot:

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: angthefoodie

                          Plenty of other chowhounds like Top Notch, though it may not be everyone's absolute favorite. Unfortunately, many of the Austin Chronicle's recommendations in the original cover story and follow-up were not good—particularly Terry's Fried Chicken: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/428676 .

                          I hope you'll check out some more fried-chicken options in town and report back, angthefoodie. With many different contributors, representing different points of view, we local chowhounds collectively do and share more "research" here, on these boards, than you'll find in articles published by "food experts" in the local media.

                          Welcome to chowhound! (See also: http://www.chowhound.com/manifesto )

                          1. re: MPH

                            I definitely will. I must admit, I haven't tried many-that may be why I like Top Notch so much (I am recalling a hilarious bit by Eddie Murphy about giving a starving person a cracker and how they think it's the best cracker they ever had...)
                            I live up North in what I call Chainland, so I don't get around as much as I would like. So sad...
                            Thanks for the welcome.

                        2. Nubian. Queen. Lola's. 'Nough said.

                          The chicken wing plate is fried food nirvana. Everyone needs to go there.

                          1. Having a serious craving so I thought I'd revive this. Tony's and Gene's are both closed. Lola's is great when she's open. I like Top Notch but it's a bit bland. I guess I need to try Lucky J's Chicken & Waffles, but the reviews aren't promising.

                            This trailer looks pretty interesting, if non-traditional - http://austinfriedchicken.com/honduras/ Anyone tried it?

                            Any other tips?

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: brentwood

                              I love what Nubian Queen Lola is trying to do for the community and I like several of her creole / cajun dishes. I did not enjoy her fried chicken as much. It seemed as if the chicken wings were fried (they are fried to order which is very nice) and then had seasoning shaken over the pieces after. Not bad, but not great

                              My family went to Burnet and went to the original location of The Real New Orleans Style Restaurant. This location is counter service, but the lady told us that Marble Falls and Round Mountain have table service and a much broader menu

                              It took fifteen minutes or so because they also fry to order. We had a fried wing and breast. Each was very juice and the skin coated wth the batter or breading that they used was perfectly crispy, but not crunchy and mixed with a few different spices. It was not spicy, but very flavorful. Some of the best fried chicken that I have had in years.

                              FYI The red beans and rice was awesome with a 3/4 inch cubed piece of tasso, multiple slices of andouille, and tender, but not overcooked beans

                              The crawfish etouffee was top shelf and loaded with about 1/2 cup or more of crawfish

                              It made me want to visit the other locations with the full menu

                              1. re: brentwood

                                Tony is serving his fried chicken on Monday nights at Hyde Park Bar and Grill Westgate (This is the south one, not the one in Hyde Park) in case anyone was interested.

                                1. re: Homero

                                  Wait... what?


                                  Can you tell me more? whaaa! To Google! AHOY!

                                  1. re: tom in austin

                                    Yeah, I remember reading it in the Austin Chronicle, when they did a feature about fried chicken in the food section. I'll post a link if I can find it.

                                    Yep, found it on their website... Looks like they serve it at both locations now...


                                    $9.99 for two pieces and two sides.

                                    1. re: Homero

                                      Man! That teleporter they have between South and Central must be amazing, serving true Tony's fare at both locations simultaneously on Monday and Tuesday.

                                      I've now killed some FC at Hyde Park South and it ain't bad.

                              2. Has anyone tried the Fried Chicken and Flying Falafel and Po-Boys on Guadalupe? I remember reading in the Chronicale, that they do fried chicken for lunch from 11 to 3, and that it's really good, but I am too far to make it normally in a regular lunch hour. Which saddens me. :(

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Homero

                                  I know many people will not agree, but I love my fried chicken and I am pretty picky about it. One of my favorites if Bill Miller BBQ. I love the fried chicken (hate the bbq) and those pickled onions. With fries and sweet tea, a real treat for me. Getting old so I can't eat that stuff much anymore.

                                  1. re: Homero

                                    they don't do it every day... just Mondays, I think.
                                    I had the fried chicken a couple times. While I love love love their poboys and the middle eastern food... the fried chicken was just okay... nothing special.

                                  2. I stopped at Flying Falafel today (Wednesday) and had the lunch special. It's listed as jambalaya on the menu, but it's much, much more. You get a healthy scop of sausage jambalaya, two pieces of fried chicken, homemade potato salad, and a couple of slices of bread cut off one of their po-boy rolls.

                                    The chicken comes straight out of the fryer, steaming hot. The skin was crisp, and just a shade past golden brown, with a near perfect crunch. The chicken itself was juicy but not greasy, and had a slightly spicy kick all the way through, not just in the batter. It was outstanding.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: brentwood

                                      good lord, that sounds like quite the "special".

                                    2. So I just read a piece online about fried chicken, and I have a terrible craving. Can't wait for Tony's at Hyde Park or the Flying Falafel lunch special. Gimme gimme gimme - I need new picks!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: brentwood

                                        I agree, Brentwood - this week I had some pan-fried Chicken at Stroud's in KS. Best I've ever had - want to find it here!

                                        Should I go to Flyin Falafel, or just make it at home?

                                        (Update - Flying Falafel doesn't seem to have it on the regular menu, but on the Monday lunch menu - should have read the older posts).

                                        1. re: rudeboy

                                          I think it's on Wednesdays. It's listed as "Jambalaya" on the website's special's menu - http://www.flyingfalafelaustin.com/ca... - but you also get 2 pieces of chicken with your cup of jambalaya.

                                        2. re: brentwood

                                          This may be a frowned-upon suggestion, but the deli of the Randalls at 290 and Manchaca has chicken that is above any of the fast food options (including popeye's, which i agree with the above posters as being the best of the chains). Crunchier, thicker batter than what's at top notch, and seldom greasy (except in a good way). Doesn't stack up to Brother's Fried Chicken in Dallas, but with TSC and Gene's gone, I'm not sure what the other options are for cravings that fall outside Hyde Park or Flying Falafel's narrowish chicken serving windows.