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Fried Chicken

Best in Tampa Bay area ?

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  1. Munch's in St. Pete makes fantastic fried chicken but only on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jeff6806

      I agree with Jeff on this one. Munch's still has the best fried chicken in the bay area that I have tried so far. BTW, don't get to Munch's too late, especially on a Tuesday, as they can run out of fried chicken.

    2. Let's breathe some life into this monumentally important thread!

      This should be an item that has cooks proudly competing, and going nuts, but so many places are content serving fried chicken that's just OK, or good-but-inconsistent, or worse...

      Yup, Munch's in St. Pete does a real good job for classic FC, but like others posted, just on Tuesday & Saturday... And in the civilized form of a 'three piece meal' with the threatening black cloud of running out on the horizon...
      But it's fresh, tender, soft, juicy, toasty and crispy--- with what I believe was a hint of curry...
      Very nice...

      Chef Gary Moran and his crew at Wimauma in South Tampa do a pretty good and awesomely presented fried chicken bucket... I think I have a pic... Munch's too...

      But as I drive around town I wanna know what's here, or there...

      It doesn't have to be Aunt Bea's Sunday fried chicken---- although it would be great to have access to the perfected classic---- ethnic places should be offering their own special versions...
      Heck! My mind's always racing with the possibilities... I'm gonna start workin' on it...

      So if you know of anyone making an effort to knock a fried chicken lover's socks off, me and a few of my buddies wanna know....

      Here's the pic from Wimauma--- darn, I know I have some Munch's pics here somewhere...

      4 Replies
      1. re: Mild Bill

        I agree with this sentiment and wholeheartedly support an all out search for the best fried chicken in the area. If anyone knows of a place around here that makes hot chicken (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_chicken) that would also be very welcome information.

        1. re: jeff6806

          This is not quite relevant but attached is a picture of the fried chicken from Cask and Larder in Winter Park, the new restaurant by the Ravenous Pig people. Hard to tell from the picture, but it is two thighs, a leg, and a wing. On top of the chicken is smoked honey, which really added an interesting- slightly burnt- taste to the chicken. The meat itself was very tender and the skin was well-seasoned and crispy. I might ask for the honey on the side next time just to mix things up. I fully support the effort to figure out who has the best chicken in the Tampa area. Much of it is passable, but I have not had anything great in a long time. I use to like Aunt Lee's in Clearwater but they are long gone. I went to Munch's once but it didn't do much for me. I guess I will have to go back and give it another shot.

          1. re: CFishman

            Ooooo, this looks and sounds delightful.... ;-)

            1. re: CFishman

              Smoked honey!!
              Now that sounds brilliant and incredible.

        2. For an old school Sunday dinner experience the fried chicken at Heilman's Beachcomber Restaurant on Clearwater Beach is really wonderful. I would rate it in the top 10 I've had over the years and the best I've had in the Tampa Bay area.

          There is a nice photo of it if you watch the gallery here:

          5 Replies
          1. re: meatn3

            I have put Bob Heilman's off for too long. That's going to the top of the list.

            1. re: CFishman

              I can't speak to the rest of the menu but the chicken has always been consistently excellent.
              If you fall in love with the slaw e-mail me - I've got the recipe!

              1. re: meatn3

                I bought a mandoline a year ago thinking slaw was the solution to all of my problems. Of course, I have not used it since then, but I may take you up on your offer.

                1. re: CFishman

                  Slaw won't hurt, but bacon is the one true way.

              2. re: CFishman

                CF. Heilman's Beachcomber also has excellent fried Chix livers.

            2. Not many places around here. I'll throw Joseph's Cup out there. Pretty darn good all around soul food. Had this fried chicken today....perhaps a little overcooked but tasty, nonetheless. The chitlins are mighty good too.

              11 Replies
              1. re: Little T.

                That looks pretty tasty. Where is this place again?

                1. re: RibDog

                  1616 N. Fort Harrison Ave
                  Clearwater, FL 33755

                  Try the oxtail :)

                  1. re: Little T.

                    Oooo, sounds great... I always wanna try Chitlins when I can and Chicken Livers are a mega-favorite... An of course the Fried Chicken...
                    I'll try to hit it next week!
                    Ribdog, don't go without me!

                    1. re: Mild Bill

                      Just let me know when you are ready, Bill.

                      1. re: RibDog

                        When on the road East of I- 75 on Fruitville Road, (less than a mile), "Texaco Fried Chicken, among other goodies like Gorditas, Pork in Green Sauce, Chix Gizzards, livers.........

                        1. re: ospreycove

                          It is certainly worth the drive for their fried chicken and other tasty items.

                          The gas station on Rt 70 in Myaka City use to have terrific fried chicken but the last two times there, the quality has declined.

                          1. re: ospreycove

                            Now THAT place I wanna try. Must remember next time I'm down that way.

                      2. re: Little T.

                        Is Joseph's Cup still open? I drove by and just had a quick glance but it looked like it might be closed...

                        1. re: meatn3

                          I think? I'll check tho. Business is hard in that area. Hardly see anyone there.

                          1. re: Little T.

                            Now that I know the location I'll try to stop & check if I'm back that way.

                            1. re: meatn3

                              Just drove by and it is open. I need to get back there as well. I tried out Blue Rooster in Sarasota last week and wasn't particularly impressed. I have to check out this gas station on Fruitville that Jim has recommended. It's a hard sell to get my wife to drive down to Sarasota to eat at a gas station. She is usually a good sport but that may be pushing it.

                  2. Places I've been hoping to try soon are Manna from Heaven on 34th St. in St. Pete and Yoder's in Sarasota. Has anyone had the pleasure of eating at either of these?

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: jeff6806

                      I'm dying to get to Yoder's---- my friends love the place, and the fried chicken, but I 'have' been to Manna from Heaven... It's a real soul food spot... The chicken pieces were big, and it was good, but on that day it could have used a lil' more time in the fryer... The breast was a little bland and over-cooked while the thigh was 'just' cooked... Lucky I was able to appreciate their fried chicken recipe by the two smaller pieces, the wing and the drumstick, which were cooked well, and were juicy... If they staggered fryer timing it would have been so much better... And I think chicken pieces so big should be seasoned the night before, to get moisture and flavor in there, which I didn't detect they did... I'm hoping to go again soon to hone my opinion of the place... Collards were great, mac and cheese was just OK... It was gloppy with melted cheese---- no cheesy bechamel to smoove it all out... Not that I detected... Banana pudding they were braggin' on was just OK... It came in a too-cold plastic container... Tasted like some instant pudding mix... Chitlins were stinky but I got past it and cleaned the bowl.... I liked my visit over-all...

                      1. re: Mild Bill

                        First, with Manna from Heaven, the fried chicken both I and Dr. BBQ ate had broken bones throughout it. Since a customer does not expect this, it would be very easy to get shards in the eating process. Not good!!!

                        Second, with Yoders, it depends on which days you go. On Friday and Saturday, I believe, they cook their fried chicken in a skillet just like grandma used to make. And that chicken is pretty good. Not as good as some others I have had, but pretty good. The rest of the week they fry their chicken under pressure which I have never been a fan of. But that is just me.

                        1. re: RibDog

                          Thanks for the info. Disappointing to hear that Manna, for what great chicken they supposedly have from what I've read, isn't that great. I'll definitely make plans to get down to Yoder's on a pan-fried chicken day.

                          1. re: jeff6806

                            I haven't been to Manna from Heaven yet, but my experience at Yoder's is similar to Ribdog's. The pan-fried chicken is good but I wouldn't drive to Sarasota for it. Oddly, I have never been there for the non-skillet days. I suspect I would feel the same as Ribdog as I am not a big pressure cooker fried chicken fan either.

                            1. re: CFishman

                              Yoder's is an interesting place; a variety of "farm style offerings, HUGE portions; but for me it stops there. If you crave commercial bases and flavorings heaps of salt in the food and sturdy, basic dishes this is your place. Sometimes when the "Hunger Wolf" takes over, I will go for their breakfasts!!

                              1. re: ospreycove

                                Tried Joseph's Cup today on Little T's suggestion. I am glad to know about this place as I have been looking for a replacement to Aunt Lee's in this area for a long time. I got a breast, a wing, fries and a side of chicken livers for $12.50. The chicken was seasoned nicely and was fried hard, perhaps one notch too hard as Little T indicated. I will definitely be back, most likely for taking to the beach. I will also have to get back there for the oxtails and the chittlins.

                                1. re: CFishman

                                  I'm glad you made it there. That chicken breast looks good right about now. Definitely get back and and have some oxtails, mac n' cheese and try the butter beans if they are available! Awesome. I've yet to make it there when they have collard greens (they get wiped out early).

                                  I think I'll mention to them about the chicken being fried a bit too hard/hot because it really does have the potential to be /very, very/ good.

                          2. re: RibDog

                            That's too bad about the bones, RibDog. The chicken I had there with Mild Bill was spot on. I'm surprised no one ever mentions the Chattaway. I think it has some of the best fried chicken around. I actually prefer it to their better known burgers. But nothing around here matches Beach Road chicken in Jacksonville. Hands down the best fried chicken I've had in Florida, at least since Palios is gone. I'm going to try Manna again to make sure I didn't just luck out. In fact, I almost went there today but got lazy...

                            1. re: Tom Scherberger

                              Tom, I agree. I have enjoyed the fried chicken at Chattaway the couple of times that I have had it. I would put it near the top of my list as well. As for Beach Road, it looks like I will have to find a reason to go to Jacksonville.

                        2. re: jeff6806

                          Yoders is extremely bland. As a southerner, it's the first time I've ever had bad fried chicken.

                          I agree Publix is pretty good.

                          None as good as my grandmothers. She soaked hers in buttermilk.

                        3. Best? Very tricky - but my foodie friends in the know suggest (in order) the following:
                          1) Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe on Nebraska for Soul Food Sunday. Chicken & waffles is only served on Sunday, and it is amazing! Fried Catfish there also rocks.
                          2) Love's Artifacts Bar & Grill near Gandy/MacDill - they have won a Best of the Bay for their fried chicken in the past.
                          3) Random suggestion: Tampa Luv Chicken and Waffle on N. Florida - very casual, but very good both times I've eaten there.
                          Let me know if you visit any of those - I would love to hear your take.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Katafer

                            I've eaten at Tampa Luv many times. It's a great place for chicken and waffles and the cheapness of a meal is icing on the cake. I wouldn't throw it into the running for best fried chicken though, at least from the pieces I've had. They're always freshly fried and generally perfectly cooked but usually lack seasoning.

                          2. Like many of you I suspect your mothers fried chicken was the best...In the 50's and 60's for those of you who recall,chicken was not the cheap meal alternative(at least here in Florida) so when it was served it was relished and carefully prepared....My moms chicken was very basic,seasoned with salt and pepper and left to rest in that for a while then floured in a brown paper bag with seasoned flour and fried in a deep cast iron pan in vegetable oil(Id use Canola now),not too slow,not too fast...the result was a fabulously crispy and moist piece of chicken...The place I get chicken "to go" when Im too lazy to cook it myself is Publix..Its as close to my moms that Ive found...its best to get it as soon as it comes from the fryer...Im sure there are more exotic and expensive places to get fried chicken but if you just need a quick place to pick up your basic fried chicken try theirs...Its certainly better than KFC(elbow lickin' good) I also remember Palios and I think Publix is better than theirs was...As a footnote,there was a chain called Maryland Fried Chicken in Tampa way back...there is still one left in Plant City(maybe more elsewhere?) near the hopital and their chicken is tops for a chain...

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: flamale863

                              That would be an interesting throwdown between Palios and Publix.

                              1. re: RibDog

                                I must say I got in on Palios late, just several years before they closed and maybe their glory days were long gone but their chicken always seemed greasy to me and worse than that,it tasted like old or cheap oil....

                              2. re: flamale863

                                I'll take Popeye's any day over Publix fried chicken, which I think has too much breading. Church's spicy isn't bad in a pinch. But I agree, home cooked is best. We had it every Sunday when I was growing up until my mom rebelled and that's when I learned how to cut up chicken and fry them. Always used a brown paper bag and still do today. I've tried other methods but it's not the same....

                                1. re: Tom Scherberger

                                  I have to agree with you, Tom, on Popeye's over Publix. There has just always a smell and a taste to Publix that did not sit well with me.

                                  1. re: Tom Scherberger

                                    Too much breading and the size of the chicken is just too big. Yes, T-O-O B-I-G. All I taste are anti-biotics. It just ain't normal.

                                    1. re: Little T.

                                      Are you speaking of the Publix FC, the Popeye's FC, or both?

                                      1. re: RibDog

                                        Sorry about that. Speaking of Publix. I think their chicken is just too big & just too much breading. It ruins it for me.

                                        Now, I like Popeye's. I wish they wouldn't have closed down the location in Clearwater...

                                        1. re: Little T.

                                          I agree, I have never liked Publix FC. The breading has something in it that just smells wrong to me.

                                          That being said, I was at Munch's today for lunch and it was FC day. And today's seemed to be even better than it usually is. So it was a very good day!

                                      2. re: Little T.

                                        You don't taste antibiotics. Stop it.

                                        You probably taste the chicken broth that the pieces soak in for far too long. And they chicken bullion that Publix insists on putting in their breading. But not antibiotics.

                                  2. hey hey hey, has anyone tried the Fried Chicken (yes, capitalized) at D' Cajun Blues Road House in St. Pete?

                                    Look at this picture:


                                    'nuff said.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Little T.

                                      Thanks for picking out my spot for dinner tonight!

                                      1. re: jeff6806


                                        Actually, I went there tonight but they were out of the fried chicken :(

                                        I settled on the ribs which were very good although they could have used a bit more smoke. Other than that, they were smoked really well. Tasty BBQ sauce too. Very good mac n cheese. Collards were way too salty.

                                        Anyways, as this is OT I'll stop now.

                                      2. re: Little T.

                                        As long as we are including fried chicken sandwiches, here is a recent one I had at Gulf Coast Po' Boys one day when they were out of oysters. I love their fried oyster po'boy but I would definitely order the chicken again.

                                      3. I had some excellent fried chicken today at Southern Fresh in Safety Harbor, located in the spot previously occupied by Brady's BBQ (I think they moved to main). The building has received a face-lift and I believe they added a bunch of outdoor seating with a fire pit.

                                        The collard greens and mash potatoes were both excellent. The collards were some of the best i've had in a long time. Perfect breading on the chicken. Perfectly fried. Very good stuff.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Little T.

                                          I still stop at Texaco on Fruitville Rd. and I 75,Sarasota a few miles East. for wonderful chicken with a coice of sides.

                                          1. re: ospreycove

                                            funny you should mention a "gas staton" deli because the Shell plaza in Mulberry does fabulous fried chicken too...only trick about these places is getting there when its fairly fresh and hasn't been laying around in the hot box for hours...

                                            1. re: flamale863

                                              The Texaco listed above does a HUGE lunch biz, they start frying about 11:00 AM and continue through the lunch rush. Very good daily Mexican specials too. Some folks even stop on their way from work for take out dinners, or eat under the old Oak trees.
                                              This joint is a trip, I like the way the friendly Hispanic ladies doing the cooking and serving are very proud of their food.