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Best fried chicken in OC?

mothrpoet May 30, 2010 12:13 PM

There are so many legendary fried chicken places in LA, but where can an OC resident go for phenomenal fried chicken? Sometimes you just really want some good fried chicken! Who serves it? Thanks in advance.

  1. c
    catbert Jun 14, 2010 01:05 AM

    my vote is for bbq chicken!

    ...however, i just read a blog post and this person had a fried chicken tasting party. she didn't have bbq, but she had knott's and loads others. wanna know the funny thing? albertsons (yes, the supermarket) won and it was thrown in there as a gag!

    personally, if it's chicken strips, i like vons (yes, another supermarket, lol), but fried chicken in general, i'm going for bbq (i've actually been craving it for the past couple o days)

    1 Reply
    1. re: catbert
      coconutz Jun 14, 2010 07:16 AM

      Very interesting re Albertsons. I happen to be picking up some next Friday for an event, so I will try a piece and report back. However, folks might like to disregard my opinion, since, like I said, I don't really seek out fried chicken.

    2. c
      coconutz Jun 13, 2010 11:01 AM

      Yesterday I had breakfast with my Dad at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant. He had the Senior priced breakfast for $5-something (served 8-10:30, irrc), there are a couple other variations available, with pancakes. It came with a glass of juice, 2 eggs, 2 sausages, hash browns, biscuits, sausage gravy.

      I was tempted by the chicken hash($10), and the waffle ($8) with Boysenberry syrup, but I was smelling the fried chicken and it smelled good. I told the waitress that I couldn't wrap my head around fried chicken for breakfast, but she said "lots of people do" and told me it is very good. I got the breakfast with 2 eggs, potatoes O'Brien, biscuits, gravy. We added 2 coffees for $3.

      About the coffee--a nice surprise. I was expecting it to be crap, like any coffee shop, and I usually drink tea lately, but we were up early and I had to have some. It was smooth and strong, and you get real cream. I had 3 cups of it, as they gave us our own thermal carafe and it was piping hot--nice touch.

      They bring your biscuits out, wrapped in a white cloth napkin, right away. I took mine with the bowl of tiny real butter packs and the boysenberry jam. Dad used the bowl of sausage gravy over his. I don't like white gravy with sausage, so I just tasted a bit and it had flavor. Now, I make my own buttermilk biscuits (easy) and nothing compares with a homemade biscuit, so I can't say these were good. But I did eat 2 or 3 and they would likely be good to someone who doesn't get homemade ones.

      The chicken was very good, but first:

      My DISCLAIMER: While I do not DISLIKE fried chicken, this is another thing that should be homemade for me to love it. I never order fried chicken out. Fast food chicken completely skeeves me out, so I never order KFC or Popeye, and getting it from a grocery store counter is equally out of the question.

      The chicken was moist and juicy with a very crispy rendered skin. I was given an enormous breast and it was juicy like a brined bird, producing deep flavor and not overbrined or mushy. Even a couple bites cold later that night went down well, even though the skin wasn't crisp any longer. I also was given a drumstick, which I took home. I don't like them and would have preferred a thigh. If you pay another dollar you get all white, so I suppose a wing would have showed up. I appreciated that the skin was just plain, maybe floured and salted and didn't have a thick coating that I would have likely peeled off.

      The eggs were fine, the sour note were the potatoes O'Brien which were from frozen rectangles, with fresh red and green bell peppers added. They had a stale taste I hate, like the potatoes were warmed over from yesterday.

      Service was sweet and attentive, although we nearly had the place to ourselves at 8:30 on Saturday. The only bum note is they didn't bring a senior menu for my 80 y.o. father and I had to go get it. The breakfast menu is large. I didn't see a dinner menu, except the senior one. Full meals are just under $10 between 3PM and 5PM and include the chicken as well a half dozen other including pot roast.

      If I was a park goer, I'd be happy with the meal and the prices. As a 40 minute drive (well, we were in the area), not so much. I asked Dad which was better here or Denny's and he picked Denny's for the straight breakfast. 3 stars for all the nice touches. I just wish I had room for pie.

      1 Reply
      1. re: coconutz
        reality check Jun 13, 2010 11:23 PM

        If you get lucky enough to get fried chicken, right out of the fryer from Mrs. Knott's it is sooo good. Most of time, the fried chicken has been sitting under heat lamps/hot boxes for too long.

        Pittsburgh Chicken is great and they fry, I mean broast, everything to order.

      2. m
        michelle in laguna Jun 12, 2010 03:09 PM

        I do not like fried chicken. That is my story and I'm sticking to it!
        I do however have a sister in Lakewood who is the I Ching of all things fried or BBQ'd. When visiting her over the years, it was her duty in life to show me the error of my ways. Eventually I would come to throw out an enthusiastic, "YAH!" when it came to an occasional great fried chicken thigh. So here would be my picks for you . . .

        I know the first isn't in OC; but it is the only store of this chain that is edible - it is a drive-though - always busy- and I don't know how - but it's delicious (last visit - 10-09)

        *Church's Chicken
        5801 Cherry Avenue
        Long Beach, CA 90805
        (kind of a scary area - use drive-thru)

        *Johnny Rebs (this location only)
        2940 E. Chapman Ave
        Orange, Ca 92869
        (This place is evil; the chicken thighs now call to me if I'm anywhere nearby - they are even available at breakfast!)

        *Pittsburgh Broaster Chicken & Taters (does broasted count? is this OC? i never know)
        3671 Katella Ave
        Los Alamitos, CA 92833
        562-594-0140 (To go only- and it's a dive- across from Mustards)

        I do not like heavy pepper or cajun spice. If that is your preference my choices will not satisfy what you are looking to find.

        WARNING on Johnny Reb's:

        I DO NOT LIKE FRIED CHICKEN; yet I have to consciously take a different street when in Orange to keep from wheeling into the driveway of the evil Johnny Rebs for a crispy juicy chicken thigh and their sweet potato fries!
        They even have a warm welcoming staff; that is just how evil this place is.

        1. kingkong5 Jun 9, 2010 11:08 AM

          Mrs. Knott's makes some good fried chicken, and the experience/nostalgia and the strange sides make it a fun meal. Like the little biscuits, the boysenberry punch, the stewed rhubarb and butter pickles. But for my money, I'd head a little north on Beach Blvd. to Po' Folks restaurant. It's where the Movieland Wax Museum used to be, actually the museum sign is still out in front.

          This restaurant replicates old school down South food. Cheap eats, and great sweet tea too. I had their fried chicken a couple weeks ago, and it was GOOD. Their other food is also cheap, which is strange because they are so close to the KBF resort area. Gumbo, Jambalaya, collard greens, chicken fried steak, pot roast, it's all good here. And they have that peg/holes game like at Cracker Barrel, so you can play at your table while you wait for your food.

          And then, when I'm in the mood for spicy fried chicken, there's really only Popeye's. On tues/thurs they have the two piece leg/thigh for 99cents (or $1.29 depending on which store you go to). That's a pretty good price, if you're in to dark meat, 2 orders of that, a biscuit and a drink and I'm a happy camper.

          1. s
            subal Jun 4, 2010 10:41 PM

            We finally went to the Hungry Bear in Fullerton tonight to try the fried chicken.
            Dinner was salad, choice of vege and 1/2 fried chicken (wing, breast, thigh) no alternatives.
            The chicken was crispy fried and some what over done. The coating was thin and tight to the skin; maybe FryMix? There was little, if any seasoning in the coating. Having the potato gravey driped over two pieces did not help much! All in all, the FC from Hungry Bear is over rated and and we prefer Albertson or Stator Brothers over the Bear.

            On the subject of being over cooked, we used to grab some FC from the local Vons - not bad for a lunch snack. Then all at once it was always over cooked and dried out! After several times we took some back and complained. We were told that the OC health dept had increased the minimum cooking temperature and this was the result. Not too sure about this as I've recently has FC from an OC PopEyes and also Johnny Rebs and it was not over cooked. I know Johnny Rebs lurks here on CH and maybe they will comment on this.

            Any how heres my choice of FC for northern OC:
            Johnny Rebs,
            Po Boys,
            Ms. Knotts

            Hungry Bear Restaurant
            2219 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92835

            Johnny Rebs
            15051 7th St, Victorville, CA 92395

            2 Replies
            1. re: subal
              OCAnn Jun 4, 2010 10:53 PM

              I've never known The Hungry Bear for chowish food...I only know them to do decent cheap steaks. It was a place I'd go to as a university student and it might be a place I might go back to when my hair is blue....

              Hungry Bear Restaurant
              2219 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92835

              1. re: subal
                stuffed Jun 8, 2010 11:17 PM

                It's true that you should always order the gravy on the side. But I think the Hungry Bear represents an excellent take on fried chicken. It's very much a homestyle recipe as opposed to the corporate chains and fastfood. Mrs. Knott's is OK and I know there's nostalgia for it, but it too is now a corporatized bottom dollar dish that often comes out like KFC. I think that a lot of Americans have lost their taste for authenticity and that's a sad consequence of the corporatization of our food system. Anyway each to their own....

                Chowish? Depends on whether you include authentic Americana as part of your definition. I'm interested in the taste of food as a window to many things (regional variation in taste and ingredients, history, etc.), but not corporate homogenized Walmartica.


                Hungry Bear Restaurant
                2219 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92835

              2. OCAnn Jun 2, 2010 04:28 PM

                Three years ago seems like yesterday:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/434202 | Fried Chicken in OC

                1. d
                  degustateur May 30, 2010 11:14 PM

                  Hmmh … OC’s best fried chicken? My list, in tier order of preference:

                  Grandma’s Chicken House – 1st (tie)
                  6072 Lincoln Ave
                  Cypress, CA 90630
                  (714) 527-3162

                  BBQ Chicken – 1st (tie)
                  2750 Alton Parkway
                  Irvine, CA 92614
                  (949) 752-2001

                  BBQ Chicken – 1st (tie)
                  5260 Beach Blvd
                  Buena Park, CA 90621
                  (714) 994-1111

                  Popeye’s Chicken – 2nd
                  1244 E 17th St
                  Santa Ana, CA 92701
                  (714) 834-9709

                  Chicken Box – 3rd (tie)
                  330 E Whittier Blvd
                  La Habra, CA 90631
                  (562) 691-1701

                  Memphis Café – 3rd (tie)
                  2920 Bristol Street
                  Costa Mesa, CA 92626
                  (714) 432-7685

                  Memphis at the Santora – 3rd (tie)
                  201 N Broadway
                  Santa Ana, CA 92701
                  (714) 564-1064

                  Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner – 3rd (tie)
                  Knotts Berry Farm Marketplace
                  8039 Beach Blvd
                  Buena Park, CA 90620
                  (714) 220-5055

                  Hungry Bear Restaurant – 3rd (tie)
                  2219 N Harbor Blvd
                  Fullerton, CA 92835
                  (714) 526-2711

                  Johnny Rebs’ – 3rd (tie)
                  2940 E Chapman Ave
                  Orange, CA 92869
                  (714) 633-3369

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: degustateur
                    OCAnn Jun 2, 2010 04:32 PM

                    LOL @ 6-way tie for 3rd place...can't pick just one, eh? ;)

                  2. s
                    stuffed May 30, 2010 09:53 PM

                    I've had consistently excellent chicken at Chicken Box. You need to call at least 30 minutes ahead since it is made to order.

                    Mariscos Chapala in Placentia also has excellent broasted chicken and they deliver.

                    The Hungry Bear in Fullerton is your best bet, however.

                    Hungry Bear Restaurant
                    2219 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92835

                    Mariscos Chapala
                    640 W Chapman Ave, Placentia, CA 92870

                    1. s
                      subal May 30, 2010 04:05 PM

                      After a long search. I feel Johnny Reb's on Chapman Av is the best in OC. Mrs. Knotts is third after Po'Boys on Beach Blvd.

                      I still have to try Golden Bear in Fullerton - supposed to be quite good>

                      Johnny Rebs'
                      3532 Katella Ave Ste 114, Los Alamitos, CA 90720

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: subal
                        Jrebs1984 Jun 2, 2010 03:11 PM

                        Just an FYI, the Los Alamitos location is the Johnny Rebs' Corporate Office. No restaurant here! We do have 4 amazing locations in Bellflower, Long Beach, Victorville as well as Orange.

                        Johnny Rebs'
                        3532 Katella Ave Ste 114, Los Alamitos, CA 90720

                      2. digkv May 30, 2010 02:27 PM

                        Chicken Box in La Habra is quite good. They make "broasted" chicken which probably isn't technically fried but it's still quite delicious and is a legendary OC fried chicken staple. Get their Monday night special which is like 10 pieces of chicken with fries for around $12 i think.

                        Mrs. Knott's, of course, is probably Orange County's most famous fried chicken place. I happen to love it but I know most people actually don't. The chicken is brined prior to frying making it deliciously well-seasoned and moist. Don't forget to get their boysenberry pie either.

                        Other than that I really can't think of much, there's a couple of "asian-style" fried chicken places that use rice flour. An asian-style one is BBQ chicken in Diamond Jamboree in Irvine, they do have some rice-flour fried chicken but their famous one is just the plain which is fried in olive oil to be healthier. It's good, something a bit different than the previous 2 i mentioned which are a bit more traditional but BBQ chicken uses these tiny chicken pieces and it does get expensive, much like everything in Irvine.

                        Good luck on finding some more places! Hope you try some of these out though.

                        Chicken Box-Broasted Chicken
                        330 E Whittier Blvd, La Habra, CA 90631

                        Mrs Knott's Restaurant
                        8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA

                        Bbq Chicken
                        2750 Alton Pkwy, Irvine, CA 92606

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: digkv
                          wienermobile May 30, 2010 03:10 PM

                          I know it's not as good as it used to be before the family sold the park but I also like Mrs. Knotts chicken. Part nostalgia of my childhood when we used to go at least once a month for a Sunday fried chicken dinner. Love that rhubarb, pie and biscuits too.

                          1. re: wienermobile
                            selfportrait93 May 30, 2010 03:15 PM

                            I am so glad someone brought up Knott's fried chicken. I have totally forgotten about it and how good it was the only time I had it more than ten years ago. I remember it hitting the spot and I went home very, very happy.

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