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Best Fried Chicken in New Orleans?

Hi, I have a friend coming in to visit whose favorite food is fried chicken. Which place has the best?

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  1. Best is so subjective, but these make my cut:
    --Chicken Sue's on Harrison (be sure to get a side of the eggplant fries)
    --Chicken in a Box (original McKenzie's chicken) on Frenchman
    --Willie Mae's Scotch House
    This is a good starter list--though a master list will definitely include others.

    Willie Mae's Scotch House
    2401 Saint Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70119

    Chicken Sue's
    203 W Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

    Dunbar's Creole Cooking
    501 Pine St, New Orleans, LA

    Mc Hardy's Chicken & Fixens
    1458 N Broad St, New Orleans, LA 70119

    Fury's Restaurant
    724 Martin Behrman Ave Ste C, Metairie, LA 70005

    McKenzie's Chicken in a Box
    3839 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70122

    7 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste

      And also:
      Cafe Reconcile

      Cafe Reconcile
      1631 Oretha C Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113

      1. re: Hungry Celeste


        1. re: barbarasmith

          It is so not hard to beat Popeyes! I beat Popeyes. Just tried Chicken Sue today, she beats Popeyes hands down.

          Chicken Sue's
          203 W Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

        2. re: Hungry Celeste

          checked out McKenzie's Chicken in a Box -- awesome. and cheap. thanks for the tip.

          1. re: kibbles

            Donald Entringer and his younger brother, Gerald Entringer Sr. opened McKenzie's Chicken in a Box in 1952. Gerald Entringer Sr. died 10 years ago. Donald Entringer, who is 92, lost his New Orleans home to Katrina and moved to the Northshore. Gerald Entringer Jr. now carries on the McKenzie's legacy. 56 years of New Orleans chicken.

          2. re: Hungry Celeste

            I agree that this is very subjective, but I need to throw in my 2 cents. I've eaten at Willie Mae's a couple of times within the past 2 months. It's good, but definitely not the best chicken in the country (as Bon Appetit magazine declared in a special on either the Food Network or the Travel Channel...I forget which one. Thats where the "best " fried chicken designation came from, not from the James Beard award.) I ate at Chicken Sue's 2 days ago. Again, it was good but not great. As a matter of fact, it was somewhat bland and undercooked. I should give them another try soon because I don't feel its really fair to develop an opinion after just one visit. I admit I've been a Popeye's fan for many years and I've tried fried chicken at a lot of places throughout New Orleans. But the one place I find myself going back to time after time is a little corner convenience store on the corner of St Claude Ave and Clouet St, across the street from the "brake tag" station (that's vehicle inspection station to the rest of the country) in the neighborhood known as Bywater. I don't even know the name of the store. Good, nicely fried, big pieces, and a bit greasy - but then, isn't fried chicken supposed to be a bit greasy? Oh, and at 4 bucks for five pieces, it's definitely easy on the wallet.

            1. re: dward1112

              Willie Mae's is not so good. The glassy crunchy crust is interesting, but the pieces were very small (like Popeyes) and very oily, and the service brutally slow (and not particularly friendly). Definitely not worth the trip to that little backwater. Chicken Sue's was much better. It wasn't full of cayenne, but that's just a variation as far as I'm concerned. Popeye's chicken pieces are so small (except for the breast) that I always feel cheated (and bloated with grease) when I'm done.

              Chicken Sue's
              203 W Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

            1. re: speyerer

              Yep. It's tough to beat fresh popeye's spicy. Dunbar's and Jacques Imo's are good, too.

              1. Be careful with Popeye's. Only some are good. If you want a sit down experience for fried chicken, I strongly recommend Willie Mae's. Other good places are Lil Dizzy's, Jacque Imo's, McHardy's, and Manchu.

                6 Replies
                1. re: sirvelvet

                  Unfortunately you are right about Popeye's. I posted about Lil Dizzy's having good fried chic a while ago and a bunch of people disagreed. I have not been lately.

                  1. re: mrsfury

                    I tried to steer an out of towner away from a chain, Popeye's, and had alot of disagreement.

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      I tried to steer an out of towner away from a chain, Popeye's, and had alot of disagreement.
                      James Cristinian Sep 26, 2008 08:06PM

                      I don't understand your post.

                      1. re: speyerer

                        The original post was about a friend coming to visit who liked fried chicken. There was a post a while back from someone coming to town wanting something representing New Orleans. Popeye's was mentioned; I suggested maybe some fried chicken other than a chain, and there was some disagreement over that. I was agreeing with mrsfury, maybe something other than Popeye's, but I was made to understand that Poeye's has a special place for many in New Orleans.

                        1. re: James Cristinian

                          The original post asked who had the best fried chicken. Chain or not, I think fresh popeye's spicy is about as good as it gets. While not always consistent, when popeye's is on, it's better than every non-chain place in town. I never recommend chains either, but the question wasn't, "which non-chain has the best fried chicken." Therefore, in my opinion, popeye's is an acceptable answer to the op's post.

                          The obvious solution is to try some popeye's (tell them to make you some fresh), then go to some other places. That way they can make up their own mind.

                          1. re: N.O.Food

                            I agree, fresh it is quite good. Maybe if he has time, he could have Popeye's and a local place. I always want to try something different when I go to another city, especially one with the tradition and soul of New Orleans.

                  1. Has Coop's fallen out of favor?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Monch

                      Coops' fried chicken was okay last week - juicy inside and cooked right, very thin coating, not particularly spicy (not my personal preference, fried chicken stylistically speaking)
                      : )

                    2. Forget Popeye's --I think McHardy's is the best!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: thevirginian

                        According to neworleansonline.com McHardy's Chicken & Fixin. This location is currently CLOSED. 1458 N. Broad St. New Orleans, LA

                        1. re: speyerer

                          Re: McHardy's, it was open when we drove by Sat. As to best fried chicken, Willie Mae's. The wet batter makes a wondefully light , very crispy crust unlike the rest of the bunch. The only improvement for my taste would be some heat (spice). If you go, get a side of butter beans..

                      2. I just saw a special on tv that Willie Maes Scotch House is the best fried chicken in the country - next time I'm in NO, I will be trying theirs.


                        9 Replies
                        1. re: lexpatti

                          As I've stated before, I went to Willie Mae's after she won the James Beard award and I was not impressed at all. Went back another time recently on a visit and was not impressed at all. Maybe I happened to catch them on two bad days as I have sent a friend there to try it and he said it was good, but not great.
                          Maybe I'll have to try her yet again on my next visit or just go to Chicken Sue's.

                          1. re: lexpatti

                            Willie Mae's is grossly overrated.
                            This is a typical review:
                            Went there yesterday. It IS a BAD area...and be sure if you do take a cab...that they come back for you. The place closes at 5pm for the safety of their customers. We offered a lift to a young couple who was stranded waiting for a cab hours after their meal. About the same time we waited for our chicken. I don't understand how it can take more than an hour to serve fried chicken. The place is very small and seats only about 40 people...but if you read other blogs and posts...everyone says it takes forever to get your food. It is VERY GOOD chicken, but I really don't understand how this was ranked #1. We live in Baton Rouge, only an hour from New Orleans...so it was no big deal for us. But if you are vacationing, don't waste your time. There are plenty of awesome places to eat in better neighborhoods that won't take a chunk of time out of your visit.

                            1. re: speyerer

                              Oh, please. "Bad area" is such a relative thing. I can tell you that, in all of my post-Katrina visits to Willie Mae's, I have parked nearby on the street. Is it perfectly suburban cul-de-sac safe? No, but then again, most urban areas in the U.S. aren't. Why quote secondhand reports of others? Have you personally experienced any unsafe episodes in the neighborhood?

                              The area around WM's is safer than its been in years, thanks mostly to the overall lower density of population in the area. Fewer people means fewer thugs means less crime.

                              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                Celeste, I'm staying at the Hotel St. Marie at 827 Tolouse in the Quarter.

                                I've been told by locals that under no circumstances should I walk from my hotel to Willie Mae's. Are they just being alarmist, or is the area around Louis Armstrong Park still dangerous?

                                I am talking about full daylight, probably Friday lunchtime.

                                1. re: rramstad

                                  Oh, for pete's sake. If you're walking alone and look like a clueless tourist carrying a big bag and wearing a camera around your neck, you potentially can be a victim of violent crime in most urban areas in the U.S. Take a cab if you're not street-smart and are fearful of street crime. What I am comfortable doing is not necessarily what you're comfortable doing.

                                  Please do realize that actual people live in the neighborhoods you'll traverse: people who go to work every day, park on the street, walk their kids to school, tend their flowerbeds, etc. Please don't succumb to the generalization of an entire area as "bad".

                                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                    Yep. Safe is a relative term. We had a robbery/shooting at Laurel and Octavia today. One of the best areas of the city. You never know in nola. I'm going to have to agree with speyerer, however. Statistics show that some areas are worse than others, and Willie Mae's location is one of them.

                                  2. re: rramstad

                                    NO, they're not being alarmist. I've lived here 32 years, and that is not a walk I would take.

                                2. re: speyerer


                                  I live in New Orleans and I have been to every place listed here, except for ManChu. Willie Mae's is, hands down, the best fried chicken in the city. My last visit there confirmed this. We went for 11:30 am on a weekday and were the second table seated. Our chicken took about 30 minutes to come out but it was worth every second of wait.

                                  It is possible we had a great experience because we already knew the location (I live less than a mile away) and because we were there so early. I think that only means it may be in a diners best interest to go early. Yeah, the neighborhood is not the best, but they are only open in the daytime and it is my belief that the worst elements of that neighborhood are no longer there since the Lafitte projects have been razed.

                                  If you don't want to walk then take a cab. It is safe if you pay attention. And yeah, New Orleans is not a fake-aluminum-gate around your precious subdivision kind of city. Some of the real culinary treasures of the city have to be found be venturing out a bit.

                                  Good luck!

                                  1. re: sirvelvet

                                    I totally agree with sirvelvet's post. re: Willie Mae's. We also go at 11 when they open. Not a fan of Coop's chicken. Fiorella's closed earlier this year (within past 6 months) and has since reopened.

                              2. It's been a long time, but in 2006, Fiorella's Cafe (near Coop's Place) had outstanding fried chicken. I was told last year that there were new owners, but they were still making fried chicken with the same recipe... but I haven't eaten there in two years.

                                Willie Mae's Scotch House is on my short list of places to try, haven't made it there, but between the bad neighborhood, the somewhat weird hours, and the wildly inconsistent reviews, it's hard to get excited.

                                I love Coop's Place, but have never had the fried chicken... too many good things on the menu!

                                1. I tried Willie Mae's Scotch House a few weeks ago. I was so disppointed. Yes, the neighborhood is not good but that didn't bother me as much as the chicken and the service. I had read about the James Beard Award and I think they need to revisit. Our waiter was overwhelmed, very pleasant, but he just could not keep up. The chicken was greasy, small pieces and overpriced. The beans really tasted like they were out of the can and the corn muffins were awful. I am a local and I was upset to see so many tourist in this place because I was embarrassed by the whole situation. I would have preferred Popeyes Chicken any day. We have so many wonderful restaurants in this city, this unfortunately is not one of them. Sorry.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: mpost

                                    We were very surprised when that place won a James Beard Award. It came out of the blue for sure.

                                    1. re: N.O.Food

                                      It won the award for "American Classic" which the James Beard site defines as:
                                      Each year since 1998 the James Beard Foundation Awards Committee has identified small, regional restaurants, watering holes, shacks, lunch counters, and similar down-home eateries that have carved out a special place on the American culinary landscape. We anoint these restaurants with a James Beard Foundation Award designating them as one of America’s Classics.

                                      In the spirit of James Beard, who enjoyed a paper cone of fried belly clams as much as a fine French meal, we encourage you to visit these American classics if you find yourself in their neighborhood. You are sure to find a warm welcome, and deeply satisfying food. Tell them the James Beard Foundation sent you.

                                      It didn't win an award for the best fried chicken, as far as I know, because as I've stated before, I've been disappointed with each visit I've made there and keep hoping that each visit was just a bad day for them.

                                      1. re: roro1831

                                        A friend of mine and I went to willie mae's for lunch today. We're asian (keep that in mind). We sit at the bar as all the tables are filled. That's no problem. We're handed menus after five minutes and can't order for another 35 minutes. No drinks and no food. Finally two other guests showed up at the bar. They just so happened to be black. As soon as they sat down both our orders were taken around the same time, with maybe a 1 minute interval. Three minutes later, their food arrives and they start munching. As they are finishing up and the check is handed to them our drinks arrive...and 5 minutes later our food arrives. By this time the people who sat down next to us have long been gone. The only things we ordered were fried chicken, so I do not see how it should taken that long to come out. Nonetheless we found the food quite good, but the service atrocious. You expect there to not be any discriminating in this day and age at a restaurant but it was just terrible today. This was the worst service i've had in maybe ever, and i'm a local. When we finally got our check we gave them virtually no tip, which i thought was more than justified.

                                        I don't think I'll ever return.

                                        1. re: c1ue1ess88

                                          Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen and I thank you c1ue1ess88,
                                          It is about time someone recognizes, as in the fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes", that the quality of the food and service at Willie Mae's Scotch House is a fantasy supported by those who refuse to accept the fact that Willie Mae's did not win the James Beard award for the best fried chicken.
                                          The award was for an "American Classic" restaurant which is identified as small, regional restaurant which has carved out a special place on the American culinary landscape.
                                          Willie Mae's has carved out this special place in a less-than-wholesome neighborhood in the murder capital of the world. But this should not be a problem if you are street-smart.

                                          1. re: speyerer

                                            "less-than-wholesome"? my god, give it a rest! we get your point from your many other posts...the neighborhood scares you.

                                            1. re: mortalcoil

                                              I particularly have no problem with the neighborhood, I've been to worse for good food, but don't find the chicken to be all that.
                                              With regards to Speyerer's previous post where he notes a typical review in which is states that the place closes at 5 for the safety of its customers, I wouldn't say that, I would venture to guess that the place closed or still closes at five because that's the way it always was, when Willie Mae ran the place she probably did all the cooking and did not trust anyone else to do it, so she worked as long as she wanted to which happened to be 5pm, why work a 12 to 16 hour day when you don't have to?

                                          2. re: c1ue1ess88

                                            The tip is included in the bottom of the bill and it say's 20% will be added. I found the chicken to be great and that was as of a week ago.

                                      2. re: mpost

                                        Whenever I get a fried chicken craving, I go to McHardy's on Broad, just a stone's throw from Willie Mae's. I wish every chicken seeking tourist would go there instead. Delicious every time, spicy, perfectly crispy and juicy, and cheap. True, there are no frills, but if fried chicken is what you want, why not forgo the sides and eat four or five pieces? I like to eat it on a bench at City Park, and work it off on the tennis courts after.

                                        Mc Hardy's Chicken & Fixens
                                        1458 N Broad St, New Orleans, LA 70119

                                        1. re: uptownlibrarian

                                          McHardy's spicy? Not any that I've had.

                                          1. re: JazzyB

                                            No, you're right. It's only a little spicy, maybe slightly spicier than Popeye's mild. Still really good though!

                                          2. re: uptownlibrarian

                                            Awesome chicken and sides!! my favorite. Although, if in a pinch and it is late night, I don't mind Brother's fried chicken.

                                        2. Been to each of those places at least once and half the list a dozen times, and some more. I for sure agree with the list but one of my favorites not on the list is Brother's on Carondelet and Common, one block up from Canal. Not dripping grease, perfect spiciness and usually have chicken until 3-4am. It is a convenience store so you have to take it away... you can either eat it on the paper boxes outside (which is totally normal) or you can walk the six blocks to the river and eat it on the grass. Either way, some of the better fried chicken in the city based on value and taste.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: haywire

                                            OK, I had to laugh at this because when I was in New Orleans in May, I was staying at the Hampton Inn on Carondelet and I stumbled in the Brother's on my way in from a night of drinking. It was awesome chicken, but I didn't know if it was just because I was drunk and loved fried chicken. Now I know it was actually as good as I thought!

                                            1. re: haywire

                                              yeah i work near there and it is pretty good. however the owners/staff are rude as hell. i think they kinda hate the late nite crowd.

                                            2. I'm surprised no one even mentioned Picadilly Cafeteria!! the recipe they use is real old school from the original Picadilly in Baton Rouge. perfectly seasoned and fried crisp and juicy. Willie Maes is good....but not great, and it is in a not so great neighborhood and the service basically sucks. Popeyes is really better and cheaper. Fiorellas has OK fried chicken, but it takes a long time. Coops is just ok. Choices for fried chicken in the quarter are slim, but there is a popeyes up on canal street, shockingly about the only consistenly decent dish on the Harrahs buffet is the fried chicken (if you have a coupon check it out)
                                              really though...of all these Picadilly i think has the best!!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mt234

                                                I agree with you on Willie Mae's, Popeyes and the others. I'll have to give Piccadilly a shot. Since they have 130 locations in 15 states, Piccadilly would be a good "road food" stop. Thanks.

                                              2. DIXIE CHICKEN & RIBS ON ARGONNE IN LAKEVIEW

                                                1. Fiorella's - 1136 Decatur @ Governor Nicholls (French Quarter)
                                                  Jacques imos - Oak Street off Carrolton at the River (Uptown)
                                                  Willie Mae's Scotch House - St. Ann (Treme)
                                                  Wing Shack - Claiborne under the highway overpass near Esplanade Ave.

                                                  1. Two words...... BRO--THERS
                                                    Knuckle sucking good!!!!

                                                    1. Anyone else vote for McHardy's on Broad Street???

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: MidCityGumbo

                                                        I dunno, was in the neighborhood went there on Sunday before the game (maybe the sixth or seventh time) and it was still just OK. It's pretty cheap which is nice, and they have A&W, which is my favorite root beer... but it's kind of flavorless.

                                                        A year later, and probably over 30 fried chicken meals out and Brother's is still the best value in New Orleans.

                                                        Willie Mae's in a vacuum is ok... but when you consider the service and price... it significantly drops it down the list.

                                                        1. re: MidCityGumbo

                                                          have tried it twice. the first is was bland and boring. the second time peppery spicy and good. hmm.

                                                        2. Popeye's is the best chicken joint in New Orleans period........

                                                          1. Here is a post that includes New Orleans' Buster Holmes’ and Austin Leslie’s fried chicken recipes among others.

                                                            1. I just ate some excellent "Cuban style" fried chicken at Liborio's on Magazine Street a few days ago (it was a special, I think they serve it every Monday). Cuban style= with garlic mojo atop it.