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Southern Style Fried Chicken in Calgary

Dear Chowhounds,

Do I have a challenge for you!

So recently I was reading a foodie book, and the author spoke about the fried chicken he had in the Southern USA.

So my question is, where is the best fried chicken in Calgary?

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  1. chicken karaage I had at O Shima last night was excellent.

    4 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      man.... if they only had Popeye's or Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles here

        1. re: John Manzo

          John, was it Southern style ? I am embarrassed to say I like K.F.C. But am slow to trust new places(..the calories and such makes me tone down my cravings to about once a month and I don't want to squander them.) I would love some great Southern Fried chicken!

          1. I wouldn't say its "southern fried" (being a southerner myself) but its damn good...Red Tree in Marda sells fried chicken that is brined, baked and fried. Its lemon buttermilk rosemary and its damn good! You have to call and see if they have it though, they only do small batches. Its also available in Kensington....

            4 Replies
            1. re: messier

              Red Tree, eh? I have to check that out. My current fave for fried chicken right now is Chicken on the Way. I also wish there was a Popeye's in Calgary. And yes, Roscoe's is the best! Chicken and waffles with a side of collard greens...mmm

              1. re: JingJong

                finally went to check out red tree in kensington in search of some fried chicken and it's now closed at that location, with a for lease sign on the window. oh well, went to peppino's as a consolation and picked up some delicious gorgonzola alfredo sauce.

                1. re: theauditor

                  Thanks, no wonder there's no answer when we phone.

                  1. re: theauditor

                    I was in marda loop last week and bought the whole tray...if you get a chance you really should taste it! Its brined and lemony and good...i'm pretty prego so you could probably feed me anything right now, but I'd love to know if someone else loves it as much as I do!

              2. random reply: there's this "Chicken Cottage" I've been driving by... Anyone know if its good?

                12 Replies
                1. re: crigg

                  Yeah, I'm curious about the Chicken Cottage too. I did a quick google, and it seems like it is every where in Europe.

                  I think I'll drop in this week some time

                  1. re: ilikebigmactoo

                    It's good chicken at Chicken Cottage, close to Popeye's or Church's but since it's Halal it's costs a fair bit more. Hage's supermarket on 52nd St and 15th Ave has halal fried chicken and it's surprisingly good for a bit cheaper.

                    I still have frozen Popeye's chicken in the freezer so I haven't had to visit any of these places for a few months but hopefully the quality and taste is still good.

                    1. re: slingshotz

                      I love Cottage Chicken. I hit it once every couple of weeks. Very flavourful and not as greasy as KFC. Their potato wedges are really good as well. I get the lunch special for $6.95 (I think) which includes two pieces of chicken (dark & white), two deep fried hot wings, fries (or wedges) and a medium fountain pop. Great value.

                      1. re: DeeDub

                        Where is this place? It sounds fascinating. I love KFC but the grease destroys me the next day.

                            1. re: cancowboy

                              I will have to remember them the next time I'm in the NE and hungry. Thanks for the link.

                            2. re: DeeDub

                              mmm sounds good, is there good gravy?

                              1. re: crigg

                                Checked out the website and will definitely give it a try. One question - does anyone else think that the photo of the grilled chicken on the Our Menu page looks like a person sleeping on his side with hands tucked under his head? Maybe I've been working too late.


                          1. re: Susanbnyc

                            IMHO it's the best we got and I do enjoy it :)

                            1. re: Susanbnyc

                              Good if drinking, hungry or just looking for some plain inexpensive eats. Nothing to write home about.

                              1. re: maclock

                                A little off topic but a close cousin to fried chicken is Brava Bistro's crispy cracklin chicken. Truly outstanding. It is pan roasted and very, very flavourful. I highly recommend it and am kicking myself for not trying it before last night. One of the best chicken dishes I have ever had.

                              2. re: Susanbnyc

                                No offence, although Chicken on the Way is a Calgary landmark and have great corn fritters, their chicken is just not flavorful, like no seasoning in the flour, also so dry, over cooked? Fried chicken is always good but I hope we can get something better.

                                1. re: beekeroc

                                  You have to go when it's busy there, or else you stand a very good chance of getting chicken that's been sitting in the heat rack.

                                  Also, their chicken quality varies greatly. I've had some terribly chewy chicken from there.

                              3. A total surprise for us was the fried chicken at the Lethbridge casino Chuckwagon Grill -- we were lucky to hit a fried chicken special a couple of Saturdays ago. Extremely crispy and non greasy, plus very moist, just needed a bit of salt and pepper. Not in Calgary, but something to think about ......

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: sweeterpea

                                  Lethbridge? Is this Southern Alberta style chicken?

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    I have no idea but I will ask around. I never thought that Lethbridge would be the place to get good chicken. My husband and I will have to go check it out and report back!

                                    1. re: GilmoreGirl

                                      With all the Texas gates in Alberta, you'd think there were some Texans and Texan cooking. :)

                                      1. re: GilmoreGirl

                                        The don't make it every day, you would be better to call ahead. Fried chicken is one of my favorite treats so I'm quite picky and this was suprisingly very, very good.

                                        Now, with all the good beef/pork here you'd think we'd have an excellent southern bbq place ... but I guess that's another thread!

                                        1. re: sweeterpea

                                          Although I have nothing to really compare it to, but I thought Palamino on 7th Ave is not bad. The meat is moist and juicy.

                                          However, Big T's have really gone down hill from when it first opened.

                                          1. re: ilikebigmactoo

                                            We had some dry brisket from Palamino's and wouldn't really recommend it. You're right Big T's has gone downhill. My husband works with people from the Southern US and they thought Big T's at it's best was passable. We get down to the US fairly often and do get a chance to eat good BBQ and there's nothing here, unfortunately, that compares. If it weren't so difficult to open a restaurant I would open a Southern BBQ place for sure, Calgary is crying out for one! ;o)

                                          2. re: sweeterpea

                                            The biggest problem with doing Southern Style BBQ in the North is the lack of hard woods and the lack of a BBQ culture (a hard thing to develop when the climate is what it is here). The quality of the meat isn't really an issue as some of the best BBQ is done with some of the lowest quality cuts. Personally I have never had a good meal at Palominos (black eyed peas still crunchy, brisket extremely tough and ribs that tasted like they had been dredged in flour). Big T's is passable most of the time, but definitely not at the level of the Q joints I've visited in the States.

                                              1. re: Zydeco_Mama

                                                lack of bbq culture maybe,but hard wood smoking stuff is easy to come by.probable these wannaby bbq places havent adopted true form yet

                                      2. I heard last week that the lounge at Rush has an excellent buttermilk fried chicken entree. I checked the website menu and it says "boneless" so not sure if it's a breast or what. Might be worthwhile to check out.

                                        1. Try Big T's BBQ across from the Stadium on Crow child North. Terrific Food, and if you have a real hungry group try the Elvis Platter . Outstanding ribs, chicken, brisket, sausage. catfish, deep fried dill pickels, and beer.

                                          Casual dining, good service and won't break the bank. Worth the drive from the south side (there used to be another location at Heritage and Macleod but they closed it :-(

                                          1. I dream of Church's Chicken and Popeyes... it makes me sad that Calgary doesn't have any really juicy, crispy, well-seasoned chicken.

                                            I find Chicken on the Way to be either soggy or dried up... the same with Big T's. I tried Red Tree and although I liked the seasoning, the batter fell off when I was reheating the chicken.

                                            Unfortunately all my fried chicken ventures in Calgary have just ended up in heartache and pain ;(

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: foodkarma

                                              That's exactly why every chance I go to Vancouver or the US I bring back 20-30 pieces of Church's/Popeye's chicken and put it in the freezer. They reheat up surprisingly well in the oven, even the Popeye's biscuits!

                                              I've had Chicken on the Way hoping that it'll get better every time or I'll clue in on the "wow" factor that everyone seems to have for this place only to be disappointed again and again. I'm a native Calgarian so don't tell me it's cause you had to have grown up there or some nonsense like that.

                                              I miss Calgary of old, Church's chicken within a 10 minute drive, now it's a 11 hour drive :(

                                              1. re: slingshotz

                                                wow, when was there a Church's in Calgary?

                                                1. re: nonlinear

                                                  There were many locations about 25-30 years ago (good gawd I really feel old now) then they disappeared for about 15 years and resurfaced at one Harvey's location on MacLeod Trail where they lasted for maybe a year. They didn't get much advertisement nor was it very noticeable hence why I think it failed.

                                                  I believe that the reason why it does not exist in Alberta anymore is that you need to get a franchisee licence for all of Alberta and you have to open a minimum of like 5 or more stores at once to qualify. It's pretty damn risky and expensive to do that. If I ever win a big lottery, I may do that just to have local fried chicken :)

                                                  1. re: slingshotz

                                                    I'd visit your Church's Chicken locations weekly.

                                                    Incidentally I was in Van two weekends ago and bought 4 pieces back thinking I would eat one and freeze the other 3... I couldn't stand it and ate all 4 between going to the airport, getting onto the plane, driving home from the airport, then unpacking. *sigh* maybe it's a good thing we don't have Church's in Calgary.

                                            2. Looks like there's several Mary Brown's restaurants in Calgary now (SE and NE). I haven't eaten there, but it could be another fast-food fried chicken option.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: 23skidoo

                                                The International Hotel has a southern fried chicken that is surprisingly good.
                                                Their restaurant is not the greatest but they make some pretty good food. A bit if a hidden gem.

                                                1. re: 23skidoo

                                                  I've tried quite a few different Mary Brown locations in Calgary and every single time it has been horrible. I keep hoping that my bad experience was a one off bad day but after about half a dozen times, I've finally realized that it really is bad.

                                                  And to be more specific, sometimes it's been soggy, dry, too salty, under seasoned or all of the above!

                                                2. Went to Fritou canyon meadows location over the weekend. After what seemed to be a 15-20 minute wait I got handed 4 small pieces of overfried chicken. Fries were similar to McCains. My pal who got the chicken sandwich enjoyed it though. My other pal who had a 3 piece said it's ok.
                                                  Only a takeout place so we went to fish creek park and no plastic cutlery in any of our bags to try the coleslaw which seemed very watery.
                                                  Chicken on the way is still my fav here. Good spices, corn fritters and the chicken breasts are still juicy.

                                                      1. re: bossyblossom

                                                        The only Canadian Popeyes is in Toronto.

                                                      2. that really sucks................. its the closest to my home country kfc, and I have major cravings for tht chicken:(

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: bossyblossom

                                                          Best fried chicken in Calgary is at Olive Chicken on 10th Ave SW east of 14 St, in the plaza with all the Korean businesses. Korean fried chicken is AMAZING. Their fries are excellent.

                                                        2. I would second Olives as some of the best fried chicken in town. That being said, I stumbled upon some amazing fried chicken earlier this week. Two of my buddies had a few beers and dragged me to the Elbow River Casino to play poker on wednesday night. After winning a bit of $$ I was wandering out the front door when I noticed a little deli counter to the left of the front door.

                                                          The chicken was very well seasoned, SUPER crispy and not at all greasy. The wedges were also perfectly done. I wouldn't expect many folks to go to a casino as a destination restaurant, but if you happen to be on your way to/from the saddle dome, it's well worth a try.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: johnjohnson78

                                                            You must had a unique batch, we tried it the other day and it was terrible :(

                                                            Bland, small pieces and not juicy. It was a new batch out of the fryer too.

                                                            1. re: slingshotz

                                                              It could indeed have been a freak incident. I was shocked that it was actually good to be honest. Huge piece, heavily seasoned and super crispy. I guess I'll have to be careful about recommending this joint in the future....

                                                            2. re: johnjohnson78

                                                              Just be clear, Olives =/= Olive Chicken. Olives is a resto over in Victoria Park. Olive Chicken is on 10 Ave SW a little bit east of 14 St. Tiny place with fantastic Korean fried chicken.