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Best Fried Chicken in Houston?

My husband loves fried chicken, and constantly begs me to make it. I used to, but it isn't my cup of tea, and the way I make it is a lot of time and work. Mine is double dipped with seasonings in the breading. So, where do you go for a fried chicken fix? We have tried the chains, and Bar-B-Que Inn on crosstimbers (which I thought was bland and salty, but he likes it) but there has to be somewhere else.


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  1. Have you tried Frenchy’s on Scott near UH/TSU? Often touted as the best in town but it may not be to your husband’s taste if he likes BBQ Inn; it’s spicy, Creole style. They’ve established locations around the city so you don’t have to go down to Scott St. and contend with the crowds and surly service Seasoned fries are good, red beans and rice and the greens are excellent.

    Next to Frenchy’s my choice is Pollo Campero, actually a Central American chain with a few locations. The chicken is marinated and pressure cooked so it’s real juicy but not greasy.

    For another one similar to BBQ Inn you might try Dinner Bell Cafeteria on Wayside @ Lawndale. I only tried it once and thought it very similar to BBQ Inn (I agree with the bland part of your assessment but I don’t remember it as being salty – haven’t been in several years. The only thing I ever found at BBQ Inn which I thought was good were the fried shrimp). The pieces I got at Dinner Bell were huge but go at mealtime so it’ll be fresh - I got there about 2:30pm I think and mine was a little dry from sitting under the heat lamp. People rave about the bake shop but I didn’t try it.

    Speaking of cafeterias that have been in business forever, how about Cleburne on Bissonett next to Channel 13? Food is very good, portions humongous, but my experience with their fried food has been disappointing - it’s always seemed to have a burnt taste to it, cfs, fried fish, fried chicken, which gives me indigestion, but they do have it available everyday.


    I think Harry’s Cafeteria on Tuam @ Bagby has fc one day a week. They used to have a website with their daily specials but I can’t find it now. My choice over the others, if they do it; better food, more reasonable portions.

    This Is It Soul Food on W. Gray also does fc one day a week, I think.

    Then there’s this place, reviewed recently and on my list of places to try:


    Buttermilk and Creole spices – sounds interesting.

    Lots of places do Chicken Fried Chicken, which seems to mean just the breast or strips. Some places that offer that that I think would probably be good would be Avalon Diner and Kelley’s Country Cooking, also Soul on the Bayeaux (IIRC).

    7 Replies
    1. re: brucesw

      Thanks for all the suggestions. We have tried Frenchy's. It was pretty good, but I have a feeling that it had been sitting under the heat lamps a bit too long - crispy on the outside but tough on the inside. He does like the spicy kick (that's how I make it) so that's not a problems. That is why I am baffled about his fondness at BBQ Inn!

      We tried Pollo Campero a long time ago, when it first came to town, but maybe we should re-visit that. I am also going to test Cleburnes, and I'll check out the daily specials you mentioned.

      The chicken fried chicken idea works for me, but not him! I have told him time and again that it is the same formula, just without bones, but he just doesn't get it. Says it's just not the same. Go figure!

      Thanks a lot!

      1. re: danhole

        I don't think I've ever had that problem at Frenchy's. Usually the business is so brisk and the turnover is so fast..... Lately, though, it seems to be greasier than it used to be. I probably only go for fc 3 or 4 times a year, but when I want it, I want some dark meat, actually, frequently only dark meat. Part of the problem with blandness is the meat itself due to the way the birds are raised, what they're fed, and how young they are slaughtered. FC ain't what it used to be.

        Here's a link for This Is It: http://www.thisisithouston.com/html/i... It says smothered fried chicken on Monday, just smothered chicken on W/F/Sun? Please report back if you find anything good.

        1. re: brucesw

          We went to the one on West Little York, and there were tons of chicken laying under the lights - that should have been a clue. Maybe we need to go to the one by UofH. I heard that's the best one.

          1. re: danhole

            OK, a dumb question here (for anybody to answer). My Mother made great fried chicken and I have too, though not in a long time, but gravy was never part of it. I see all these places serving fried chicken or chicken fried chicken with gravy -- do you pick it up to eat it, or do you have to hassle with a knife and fork? Messy?

            1. re: brucesw

              If you make fried chicken, you have to make gravy from the drippings but you serve the gravy on mashed potatoes. You eat the chicken with your hands. If you make chicken fried chicken, which is like chicken fried steak with a flattened chicken breast, then you make the gravy and serve it on top of the chicken. In that case you use a knife and fork.

              I saw the menu you posted for This Is It and they had "Smothered fried chicken". I have no idea what that would be. I like my fried chicken un-smothered thank you very much!

      2. re: brucesw

        +1 for Frenchy's and Pollo Campero

        1. re: jaime24g

          Frenchy's is way too salty now and I love salt. I still eat it but man the salt is tough.
          For fast food Pollo Camperos is great.

          IMO real fried chicken is pan fried in a cst iron skillet and I don't know anyone doing that? The crust carmelizes on the bottom of the pan creating a crunchy and chewy experience. Then there is the gravy made from the drippings!

      3. hi danhole, hi again. i'm constantly disappointed in the amount of posts there are related houston which is why i check in so randomly. i seem to keep coming across old posts of yours and want to comment on them (i do realize this one is 8 months old, lol).

        like your DH, i like the fried chicken at barbeque inn too. i've had it 3 times now and never found it bland or salty. the crispiness and flakiness of the batter is what is so appealing. i also like that it is slowcooked and made to order (hence the 20 min wait) so the chicken is very tender and juicy. i do have a gripe that it is extremely greasy. also, i agree with bruce that the fried shrimp there are wonderful.

        i just had frenchy's again a couple weeks ago when my brother brought home a whole box of it. i had written frenchy's off b/c i always find it too salty and the chicken too dry for my taste. again, my opinions were confirmed.

        the fried chicken at max's wine dive is where i usually go to get my fix. it is slowcooked and made to order so there is a 20 min wait too, but it is so worth it. (everything requiring a wait seems to taste better, no? like the roasted bone marrow at catalan which also takes 20 mins) the chicken itself isn't too fancy schmancy, the batter is jalapeno buttermilk and makes for a crispy, flaky skin (but not as thick as bbq inn's) and the jalapeno doesn't really come across to me. the chicken is always moist and tender. it is accompanied by collard greens, marscapone mashed potatoes, and chipotle honey in a ramekin on the side. the combination of fried salty goodness, slightly bitter greens, creamy potatoes, and chipotle honey which i use sparingly is so delightful. however, it does have an $18 price tag on it which i don't mind paying. here's their menu: http://www.maxswinedive.com/Menus/spr...

        5 Replies
        1. re: neverfull

          MAX's chicken is not the best in town...it can't be! I could say lots of things about MAX's, but they are providing a service that is in demand and the people of Houston are buying into.... Let's just say it's not one of my favorite places.

          I have been in Houston for 6 months and have yet to find real "down home" fried chicken or "real" barbeque... I'll drive up to an hour out of town to find real back country Texas home cookin'...if someone can give me directions...

          1. re: chefaltieri

            "real" bbq.... Have you been to Burns? Its about as reall as it gets.

            1. re: jscarbor

              This is my first post.
              I read this Fried Chicken post yesterday and unfortunately didn't read the last post about Max's Dive. It is a Dive !!! Unfortunately, we went to Max's, YUK, YUK, YUK. It reminded me of the dark Cellar Club Downtown in the 70's. I think they are supposed to have the feeling of NY, but I'm not sure.
              THE FRIED CHICKEN WAS AWFUL. The previous post must have been from a faithful employee. I must admit the employees are quite nice. The chicken was 18.00 and was fried with almost no crust and quite dry.
              All but 2 of the tables had reserved forcing us to sit right by the bathroom. What was that about ??? No one every showed up !!!

              I am a southerner and feel duped by the statement that this chicken is good
              The best fried chicken I have eaten is at Luby's cafeteria. Also, for the people in the northern area, try The Potato Patch. Quite a fun place.
              Of course, if you want to get depressed and sit at a bar with the excuse of drinking expensive wine, then try Max's.

              1. re: carolstropicals

                lol, i'm not an employee of max's. i think a lot of people here can vouch for me on that fact. the chef that opened max's, a very talented guy by the name of jonathan jones left to take the executive chef position at the americas woodlands. since his departure, the quality at max's has definitely plummeted. i wrote about my last experience which was disappointing on my food & restaurant blog. but way to jump to conclusions!

                the fried chicken wasn't nearly as bad as you say though, but i've heard in the rumor mill that they have gone through 3 chefs since jj left. sounds like things are getting worse over there. the owners are opening a max's in downtown austin and after that dallas. they may be more focused on the concept these days than the quality or execution of their original location.

                i'm sorry you had a poor experience. to make it up to you, my favorite fried chicken now that i have scratched max's off my list is barbeque inn. their fried shrimp is also fantastic. i have actually been to potato patch but not for fried chicken. good southern comfort food.

                1. re: neverfull

                  There is no fried chicken at Potaoe Patch. It is chicken fried chicken and that is not what he likes. Has to have bones!

        2. This is my first post.
          I read this Fried Chicken post yesterday and unfortunately didn't read the last post about Max's Dive. It is a Dive !!! Unfortunately, we went to Max's, YUK, YUK, YUK. It reminded me of the dark Cellar Club Downtown in the 70's. I think they are supposed to have the feeling of NY, but I'm not sure.
          THE FRIED CHICKEN WAS AWFUL. The previous post must have been from a faithful employee. I must admit the employees are quite nice. The chicken was 18.00 and was fried with almost no crust and quite dry.
          All but 2 of the tables had reserved forcing us to sit right by the bathroom. What was that about ??? No one every showed up !!!

          I am a southerner and feel duped by the statement that this chicken is good
          The best fried chicken I have eaten is at Luby's cafeteria. Also, for the people in the northern area, try The Potato Patch. Quite a fun place.
          Of course, if you want to get depressed and sit at a bar with the excuse of drinking expensive wine, then try Max's.

          2 Replies
          1. re: carolstropicals


            Not to defend Max's, because I have never been there, but I think since neverfull was there last the chef that started with the place has left and the quality has gone down. That is what I have read looking at food blogs and other review type sites. Oh, and neverfull is not an employee. I know that for a fact.

            I never thought about going to Luby's. That may be worth a try. I looked at the menu for the Potatoe Patch and they don't have fried chicken, just chicken fried chicken which if you read a previous post about my DH, that just doesn't do it for him. But the menu looks pretty good, and lots of variety. Is most of the food good?

            1. re: danhole

              Oh, well, just having fun with a bad food experience. The Potatoe Patch is a fun place with lots of comfort food. Down Home - Glad I don't live to the north. I can't do with any more calories.
              Also my experience with Cleburne's fried chicken was awful. Terribly dry - so much so that I got my money back. Hope you find a good chicken place !!

          2. The fried chicken wings served with waffles at Breakfast Klub are pretty spectacular. Always crispy, always juicy, almost never greasy. Triple A on Airline does a pretty good fried chicken as well, even if it is a bit more bland then I like it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: foodpro13

              We haven't tried the Breakfast Klub. Not sure DH would want waffles, but if the wings are that good, I could eat his waffles! How many wings do you get?

              We have tried Triple A and here is my post about that:


              1. re: danhole

                As I recall, it's three, maybe four, whole wings.

                1. re: foodpro13

                  i remember 3 wings at BK too. the fried chicken there is too salty to me and very similar to frenchy's chicken which i find too salty too.

                  i like a flakier crust on my chicken. actually, i'm pretty happy with popeye's and i've been meaning to go to hartz on memorial to get chicken fried gizzards which i haven't had since i was a kid.

            2. Ok, I may get slammed for this, but I LOVE Popeye's. Its great. Ate it all the time when I live in New Orleans. Have you ever tried it?

              1 Reply
              1. re: geegeeTX

                geegee, you are not alone! That is our take out go-to chicken place. Love the red beans and rice, too! I'll take Popeye's over KFC, church's, hartz or any other fast food chicken place.

              2. I like the fried chicken at Just Oxtails on Reid Rd. The line is long and moves pretty slow but they're constantly bringing out fresh food.

                It's on the menu Fridays and Sundays only. Fridays they also do the fried catfish whiich is good and makes for a tough decisiont.

                Good sides too and very big portions.


                3 Replies
                1. re: dexmat

                  Just heard about Just Oxtails from a friend. Can't wait to try it. Thanks dexmat

                  1. re: dexmat

                    I take it this is a buffet? You have to give your name and email address to look at the menu. Bad form.

                    1. re: Lambowner

                      Agreed. There are some menu photos on YELP.

                      It WAS a steam table service type place (haven't been in several years) and the menu changed every day. I wonder if fried chicken is available every day now?

                  2. Dredging up another ancient thread here. The Press is out with a 10 Best list.


                    I've had just four of these. I've been wanting to try Haven for a long time but haven't gotten around to it.

                    I'm a little surprised to see Randall's - it is my go-to but partly that's because of convenience as there isn't anything close to me that's better.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: brucesw

                      Great list and includes a few I will definitely have to try.

                      As a reminder though, not on the list is Mancuso's Italian Kitchen on Voss. They only serve fried chicken on Sunday evenings and I would put it against anything on the list.

                      Ain't cheap, but it is excellent.

                      1. re: brucesw

                        My favorite fried chicken is at the Church's location on S. Main in Stafford. I recall from another thread that I'm not the only one that finds it superior to even its own other locations. BBQ Inn is not the best IMO, but I like the shrimp.

                        Where are all these people that used to comment here? I guess moved on to bigger and better things. And who named Potatoe Patch? I think that right there vindicates Dan Quayle.

                        When I make it at home, I bake it without using oil, coated with Andy's Hot N Spicy Chicken breading. It forms a nice crunchy spicy crust and I recommend it. I find it at the bigger HEBs.


                        1. re: Lambowner

                          Yes Lambowner that was me on another thread. The Stafford Church's has a meeting room where distrcit managers meet. I worked around the corner for five years in the 90's and if you saw a fleet of Ford Taurus cars out front you were in for extra good chicken. Actual overheard conversation from the DM's, " I've got an extra truckload of thighs." "I'll take those thighs." I think brucesw and I had talked about this, I really like Kroger's, had some about a week ago, delicious. The wifeacita and I make Hempstead on old 290 a fried chicken destination. Hempstead Fried Chicken and Brookshire Brothers Grocery are in the same parking lot, plus the DPS drivers liscense place never has more than a ten minute wait, sometimes none at all. Last time we went to Hempstead Chicken the nice young owners were happy to fry fresh chicken, and we were happy to wait for the goodness. A bonus is an opportunity to see a freight train or two as I love me some trains. We also journey to Frenchy's on Scott for the bird and uncomparable red beans and rice with andouille sausage the put the liquid smoke Popeye's version to shame. The greens at Frenchy's are also good.

                          1. re: Lambowner

                            I have tried that Church's a couple of times since reading bout it here and I don't get what's special. I will agree with you about BBQ Inn - overrated AFAIC and not worth the drive from where I live and the wait.

                            Thanks for the tip on Andy's - I'll be on the lookout for that. I haven't fried chicken at home in years, I usually do rotisserie or use chicken in a stew, occasionally do a couple of leg quarters in the oven with just a seasoning mix, no breading; if I want fried, I go out.

                            1. re: brucesw

                              Well admittedly, I haven't been there in a long time, but it was always hot and freshly cooked and the pieces were HUGE.

                        2. I accumulated quite a deficit of the intake of fried food over the last couple of months so I set out to recitify the situation recently with fried chicken at a couple of places.

                          Al Aseel, 8619 Richmond @ Dunlavy - I’ve been here twice before, once for the Chicken Musakhan or Palestinian Chicken, a charcoal grilled dish that was one of the most memorable dishes I had last year. Then I read they also do great fried chicken; in fact, Al Aseel ended up # 3 on the Press’s recent list of Ten Best Places to get Fried Chicken in Houston, right after BBQ Inn and Frenchy’s..This caught my attention.

                          The chicken is cooked when ordered, like the grilled dish, so it takes a bit of time. It had a beautiful reddish/orange tinge and didn’t look greasy. I dug into the rice and almonds while giving the chicken some time to cool down and could have made a meal of just that. The chopped Middle Eastern salad of diced tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley with lemon was nicely chilled. The chicken itself proved to be just as good as the Musakhan, maybe better, amazingly juicy and flavorful. Sumac figures in the seasoning mix, I’m sure. Some of the more heavily battered nooks and crannies had sopped up quite a bit of grease but that was the only negative. All the pieces except the wing had been scored to facilitate even cooking. The birds are Halal so smallish; your only options are a half chicken or whole chicken.

                          I still haven’t been to several of the places on the Press list but this one certainly deserves a high ranking of the places I’ve experienced. This little restaurant is a real jewel. Palestinian restaurants are not that common and it’ll be on my list of places to recommend to out-of-towners to try to get a sample of the best of Houston’s diverse dining scene..

                          Broaster Chicken - 2601 Cartwright, Missouri City - I happened across this place and had to try it. Broaster is a name that’s been around for decades although there have never been many around here, I think. I’ve had it only once before, at a gas station, and I thought it was the worst of the gas station genre fried chicken. But I’d read lots of good things about it and wanted to try it again. Broasted actually means it’s pressure fried.

                          This is in a strip center, a restaurant of it’s own, not just a counter in a gas station or convenience store. Dining accommodations are minimal, however, so I got my meal to go. The young man explained the process is supposed to insure crispiness and juiciness. He also explained they use rice bran oil. The ‘chef’ was out sick so the only sides available were fried; I chose okra. The chicken was under a heat lamp but the okra was freshly fried. The chicken pieces were kind of small.

                          When I got home 20 minutes later I was astounded at how crisp the skin still was and how the skin clung to the pieces with remarkable tenacity. The freshly fried okra was not so good; it was too bready for my taste and hadn’t had enough time to drain and had picked up a lot of oil. The dark meat pieces were nice and juicy but the breast was overcooked and dried out. I got a coconut empanada which was also overcooked although the flaky pie-dough like crust would have been very good, otherwise.

                          Both times I’ve had Broaster chicken it’s needed salt, unusual for fast food, of course, and it was pretty bland. This place does have some Indian food - samosas, biryani - and I think there was a poster about a ‘Cajun Spicy’ version.

                          Although I wouldn’t claim this was the best fried chicken in the Houston area, I may go back just to try it again as I was so intrigued by the crispiness and how the skin clung so determinedly

                          1. I finally tried the chicken at Randall's. I lost track of time and got there at 2 p.m. for lunch against the recommendation to get there early, but it was fresh an hot. Also crunchy and spicy, I liked it despite the occasional taste of, I don't know, maybe old grease?

                            1. I saw that Ripp's Grill on Memorial at Kirkwood is now offering fried chicken on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

                              I talked my mom and aunt and little bro, (OBD to youse guys), into meeting me there for lunch on Saturday. I'm just starting to get my appetite back after suffering a sinus/upper resp infection this week, (don't feel too bad for me though, I lost about four pounds!), and I have been craving some good fried yard bird.

                              Cooked to order, (25 minute wait), it was everything I hoped it would be.

                              Is it BBQ Inn good?

                              It's pretty darned close. Nicely seasoned, great crunchy crust, large pieces, (half a chickie), two sides, (mine - chicken and dumpling soup and mac and cheese), I was utterly thrilled. Really good stuff. And it's about a four minute drive from my front door.

                              To top it off, our server quite happily brewed us some real tea when they recognized me as the "tea whiner".

                              If you like fried chicken and live within a half hour or so, I highly recommend you give it a shot. For $12, I brought half of it home.

                              I just wish the OP was still with us to enjoy it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: DoobieWah

                                Thanks for the tribute to the OP, Doobie - I, too, would love to have her with us to enjoy this. It was nice to see this thread pop up again. Her birthday was May 23rd - we should gather at BBQ Inn and eat fried chicken in her honor.