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In Search of Fried Chicken

Dear DC Chowheads:

Am I mistaken or is there a serious lack of fried chicken eateries in our region?

I know that there's legit hole-in-the-wall soul food places that you can get great take-out greens and chicken, but I want a sit-down place where I can slurp cheap beer and possibly a shot while I destroy a platter of dark meat.

I know you can go to Georgia Brown's or Eatonville and drop $20 on a platter -- but I'm hoping to find something casual with a liquor license. Does this exist? Something akin to a crab house that will give me some deliciousness in a basket and allow me to come in dude-wear?

Assistance and pointers appreciated.

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  1. My favorite is the smoked-then-fried chicken at Ray's East of the River. The regular fried chicken at Ray's the Third is pretty damn good.

    The only good thing at Flavors in Arlington is their Fried Chicken, but it is very good.

    1. The Black Rooster Pub on L Street, NW between 19th and 20th serves a solid fried chicken platter with fries and slaw. It does not have a crab house vibe as it is more of an Irish/Welsh Pub.

      1 Reply
      1. re: CDouglas

        Thanks CDouglas I may have to check it out

        1. How about Levi's Port City Cafe 8thStreet SE?

          17 Replies
          1. re: 79pooh83

            I've found the fried chicken at Levi's to be just okay. The deepfried porkchops are the way to go, straight up or smothered. Blue & White does excellent fried chicken, but carryout only. When I get a fried chicken jones, I either head to Popeyes or any of the wings & mambo sauce bulletproof Chinese carryouts downtown. But for sitdown casual, I suggest the fried chicken at Southside 815 in Old Town.


            1. re: monkeyrotica

              Where is a good wings and mambo sauce place downtown. I am between downtown and mid town and our carry outs all have wings - I haven't found any that do them the right way with fried rice and mambo (mumbo)

              1. re: drewpbalzac

                I haven't seen any place with Mambo sauce, and only heard about it through a Post article. I think most places that have it are in SE...

                1. re: drewpbalzac

                  I didn't know DC had a "mid-town". What would that encompass?

                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                    I didn't either until last weekend walking down 14th, I saw a bunch of people with "Mid-City Dog Days" signs. I think it's bordered by 9th and 16th Sts, and U and Rhode Island.

                    1. re: mdpilam

                      I suspect there's realtors behind it, trying to New Yorkify DC. This ain't no town. This is The District.

                    2. re: flavrmeistr

                      Mid town is it the 19th and M St. NW section of town, which many now call "Downtown".

                      In DC "Downtown" is the area east of the White House around 9 -12th streets where they intersect is G & H streets.

                      This has nothing to do with the realtors trying to up-sell neighborhoods by giving them fake names like NoMa.

                      If you are interested in learning the actual historical names of DC neighborhoods I would try to find on older map of the city that lists neighborhood names. If can be a blast learning about great cities history through its neighborhoods. Often the only other way to learn about the old neighborhood names is to look at the names of some of the community businesses that still linger around or the playgrounds/community centers.

                      My two favorites DC neighborhood names are Turkey Thicket (which has basically been incorporated into BrookLAND), and Swampoodle (which is a part of what folks are trying to rename NoMa).

                            1. re: drewpbalzac

                              And that's the reason it's getting harder to find wings & mambo sauce & fried rice downtown. It's poor people food. Now, if some celebuchef served it on a small plate with "mambo coulis" and "risotto chinois" for $30 ($60 with wine pairing[1]" they'd have a license to print money.

                              [1] The chef recommends the 2012 Thunderbird or a 2011 Maison de Boone's Farm, a fruity little vintage with a strawberry air freshener finish and a bouquet like a hobo's sock.

                      1. re: drewpbalzac

                        Try Yums II at 14th and P NW. Tell them to fry it hard. Wings & mambo sauce are easier to find in NE or SE where bulletproof Chinese carryouts can thrive. My favorite is at Lucky Carryout near Potomac Ave Metro and Wings & More Wings in Kingman Park. Good luck!

                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                          There used to be a place down on M st. SE way before the ball park that was call the Ohn Luck (my spelling is probably wrong) that had great wings with mambo. The pork chop sandwiches were great too . . .

                          We would boogey down there for carryout from the House office buildings a couple of times a month.

                          Except for the proprietors sreaming at the junkies who were harrassing the patrons while they waited for their food . . . . the place rocked.

                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                            Thanks monkey I forgot Mum's was still there

                            1. re: agarnett100

                              The Yums at 14th and 7 is scary bad, though. It's not even worth risking after a late night drinking binge. The 14th and P shop is the way to go. I think the original Yums is on Florida near Gallaudet, but I think that one folded.

                        2. re: monkeyrotica

                          I did Bon Chon today for the first time today.

                          It isn't the same as wings w/ fried rice and mumbo sauce with friend rice - but the wings with hot sauce are freaking awesome. Ordering wings also cuts down on the wait time if you didn't have the foresight to call ahead.

                      2. Have you tried Bon Chon? I love their fried chicken. I've heard the Fried Chicken or Chicken and Waffles at Birch & Barley and Green Pig are both good.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: discojing

                          Bon Chon is great, but probably not the kind of chicken the OP is looking for.

                          You might not guess by the name, but I've heard that Freddy's Lobster and Clams makes really good fried chicken. Still a little on the pricey side at $16, but they have a great beer selection to wash it all down.

                          I've also heard that DC9 makes a good platter, but haven't tried it yet. The other stuff I've tried since the menu revamp have all been very good. Some pics of the fried chicken here: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/bl...

                          1. re: Guy Incognito

                            At one point I *think* that Gillian Clark was making fried chicken at Freddy's - though that might be only certain nights. I do not know if that is still the case.

                            1. re: Steve

                              Chef Clark is no longer doing the Wednesday fried chicken night at Freddy's.

                              This is not a comment on the quality of the fried chicken before or after - it was great then, and it's great now. The good thing about the change is now it's on the menu full time.

                              It is $16, but that includes fries and slaw. They used to have a night when it was discounted, but I don't think that's one of their current specials.

                              1. re: DanielK

                                Her fried chicken was not good at Freddy's

                            2. re: Guy Incognito

                              I believe that Freddy's offers $5 off on fried chicken on Thursdays.

                          2. Saw another place on Scoutmob today, and apparently they have alcohol:
                            Ma-Ma's Southern Cuisine, on Georgia Ave

                            Has anyone tried it?

                            1. Just last night I had the fried chicken at William Jeffrey's on Columbia Pike, and whoo child, it was damn good. I dare say it's the best fried chicken I've had in 2012...definitely surpassed expectations. Salty, crispy outside and unbelievably moist and juicy on the inside. Very unexpected for such a nondescript spot. I got it with collared greens instead of potato salad and they, too, were excellent. Most of the other food I've had there has been decent to acceptable, so this was all surprising.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: littlew1ng

                                Well now I'm very upset. I used to live in the one house on Columbia Pike near there. The one across from Bob & Edith's. Don't get me wrong, it was great living there (early 2000's). Thai Square. Before B-54 had a restaurant. Now the hood has changed, and they have good fried chicken?

                                1. re: littlew1ng

                                  Speaking of (just off) Columbia Pike, is Flavors still there and still making good fried chicken? I haven't been there in years, since I decided that grilled chicken was much better for me, but they used to do a really good Southern fried chicken.

                                2. You said region, not district, and cheap beer, so there's Hershey's in Washington Grove, Gaithersburg. Here's a recent review from yelp that says it all:

                                  "You come here for three reasons 1) Fried Chicken - don't bother to order anything else. The chicken's great. Everything else is pretty lackluster (at least since they dropped the crab dip from the menu). 2) Beer - draft, cheap, cold. The small pitcher is the best deal by volume. 3) Shots - once you're a regular they start coming in rocks glasses. Which may or may not be a good thing.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                                    Amen. The steamed shrimp is a good deal as well for about 12 bucks a pound. Drinks are cheap and generous. Hershey's is my go-to dive bar in Rockville-Gaithersburg, one of the last vestiges of a less urbanized, less sophisticated Montgomery County.

                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                      Thinking of taking an elderly aunt there for lunch on a weekday - are there waits for tables at lunch time? She can't stand long to wait. Which side dishes would you recommend?

                                      1. re: Terrie H.

                                        They cook the chicken to order, so it's not quick.

                                        None of the sides are worth ordering. Vegetables cooked until gray, mediocre fries, salad from a bag and dressing from a bottle. You go there for the fried chicken.

                                        1. re: DanielK

                                          Thanks, Daniel. She can wait for the chicken, just not standing waiting for a table. Still sounds worth it for the chicken.

                                          1. re: Terrie H.

                                            There won't be a wait for a table at any time, that I've ever seen.

                                            The fried chicken is definitely worth waiting for.

                                            1. re: DanielK

                                              Right. It's not really a destination restaurant. It's an old-time whistle-stop bar/chicken shack/flophouse (they rent rooms upstairs)/flea market/ice cream stand. They sell a lot of chicken to go and ice cream from a side window. It gets a little crowdy in the bar when the Redskins or Ravens are playing. That's about it.

                                  2. I like Birch and Barley, followed closely by Bar Pilar.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      What "cheap beer" are you ordering at these places?

                                      1. re: hamster

                                        Hamster - some people have a strange definition of cheap

                                        1. re: hamster

                                          The cheapest beer is the one not ordered.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            The greatest thirst is the one not quenched.

                                            1. re: flavrmeistr

                                              A donut without a hole is a danish . . . .

                                      2. I've yet to go there, but I've heard many raves for The Hitching Post.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Mister Big

                                          Hitching Post is gone. The owners have retired.

                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                            Yeah, but apparently the new owners are still going to serve fried chicken. See my post above.

                                            1. re: hamster

                                              I believe Hitching Post is still open, and will close on 7/31. It's a legendary D.C. eatery, and I'd recommend checking it out in its final days. Note that the portions are ridiculous—I've never understood how a "half chicken" can amount to some 10 pieces of chicken.

                                        2. Try Flavors in Arlington. Pretty good soul place. I thought chicken was ok but others rave about it. Sides are good.

                                          My favorite fried chicken
                                          3. Bon Chon
                                          2. Popeyes
                                          1. Shopper food food bar, spicy fried - Location in Lorton right off 95. (also the cheapest)

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Soup

                                            Flavors would be my first choice. Falls Church, though, not Arlington. So much better than Oohs and Aahs. It's great when it's made to order. Bon Chon is good but different and you have to order so far in advance. This is making me think maybe I need to head to Flavors for the fourth.

                                          2. Snyder's Willow Grove used to do a good MD Fried Chicken, and they at least sell beer.

                                            1. Dosen't Majestic have a Sunday Fried Chicken Dinner- I don't know what it works out to per person but I've heard it is very good...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ClevelandDave

                                                The Majestic has a "Nana's Sunday Dinner". The menu changes monthly. Occasionally they have fried chicken. I just checked the website; they had it in May but not this month. I went to the NSD once and wasn't impressed. I wouldn't do it again - though others have reported liking it.

                                                1. re: hamster

                                                  I mentioned DC9 upthread. I think they only have a small amount of fried chicken orders a night. So you'd probably need to get there early if you want to try it.

                                                  1. Ooh's and Aah's has really good fried chicken. Best to do takeout there. Central has amazing fried chicken but it will run you around $20

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Jeremy303

                                                      Just hit up Popeys's chicken on Tuesday when they have the special or make it at home. $20 for fried chicken can feed a family of 5-6 easily with a side of mac and cheese and greens

                                                    2. tom sietsema seemed to like the chicken at a new Frederick, MD joint.


                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: mdfoodlover

                                                        Although, run by Bryan Voltaggio, a little more than just a "new Frederick, MD joint." I'd love to try the place out but I've yet to go to Volt even.

                                                      2. Lots of pseudo hipster style soul in town.

                                                        Henry's Soul is pretty good, with crisp, flavorful crust fried in fresh oil at a proper temperature, served with sweet potato pie made by people with sweet potato pie in their blood. U street location is contaminated by hipsters, but Oxon Hill location is the real deal.

                                                        10 Replies
                                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                                          There is also a location at 3rd and K Sts, NW

                                                          Sweet potato pie is excellent. This is also probably the best place to try the local specialty of wings with mumbo sauce. YMMV.

                                                          The U St location is carry-out only. There is no difference between the food here or the 3rd and K location. I have not tried Oxon Hill.

                                                          Turkey wings are probably the best thing to get here. The rest of the food is only ok.

                                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                                            Torrie's on V Street near the 930 Club used to do good chicken, but it's been years since I stopped in.

                                                            Fried chicken has never been all that good at Florida Avenue Grill.


                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                              I recommend everyone to a trip to Oxon Hill

                                                              1. re: law_doc89

                                                                This. Seriously. The best fried chicken (or fish for that matter) is going to be in PG County. You've got Korean run seafood joints like Mid Atlantic Seafood, older local joints like Cameron's, and other joints that can't afford downtown real estate. My latest find is a little place in Temple Hills called NY Chicken & Grill of all things. Good, cheap, and CLEAN. They have a fry cook who knows WTF they're doing and they deal in volume so it's fried fresh, hot, and hard.Outside of the bulletproof Chinese carryouts selling five wings and fries and mambo sauce for $6, you need to look for fried chicken in PG County.


                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                  Have you eaten at the Carolina Kitchen? I haven't but heard good things about it. One in Hyattsville, another in Largo.

                                                                  I agree that there are certain things where PG County is da bong!

                                                                  1. re: law_doc89

                                                                    I had dinner at Carolina Kitchen in Hyattsville - it was a major disappointment not worth the trip

                                                                    1. re: agarnett100

                                                                      Please tell us what it was that was so disappointing.

                                                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                                                        The services was okay but the food was disappointing. Carolina Kitchen bills itself a Soul Food restaurant having grown up on soul food many of the dishes lacked the bold favor and spices that are essential in Soul Food

                                                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                                                            This is what I ordered -Fried Catfish Platter with collard green and a side of mac & cheese

                                                                            The greens lacked the signature smokey favor you get with the addition of smoked turkey necks or ham hocks.
                                                                            The mac & cheese was a step above Kraft
                                                                            The catfish lacked the crispness you expect from freshly fried fish and lacked seasoning.
                                                                            Its been a while since my first and only visit so I can't get more specific.

                                                          2. See this post on Maryland style fried chicken at Crisfield's in Silver Spring:

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: poncedeleroy

                                                              That post is 6 years old, but since Crisfield has been around forever, it's probably still good. I haven't been in about 20 years, but I remember it being cooked the same way my mom used to cook it: cast iron skillet filled with Crisco, buttermilk batter,  and it would take about half an hour.

                                                              Two local chains serving good fried chicken: Chicken Basket (Wheaton) and the unfortunately named  Cluck U. You can still get fried chicken livers and gizzards at the latter. If you've ever made the trip to Grace Garden, there's a Cluck U a couple doors down. There's another in Seabrook. 

                                                              Nobody's mentioned Royal Farms fried chicken, which has something of a cult following. There's a shop in College Park, but I've never been. 

                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                I first learned of Royal Farms when they had an ad on during this year's SuperBowl. People say the whole store smells like fried chicken and it is fresh because of the turnover. I looked on their website and boy they have a lot of locations in Maryland. And there is a little drumstick next to each location that serves chicken.

                                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                  Royal Farms is originally a Baltimore chain. Been around for 50+ years. The only store in the DC area is in College Park. And it's open 24 hours...

                                                                  1. re: DanielK

                                                                    I love Royal Farms chicken. I know its fast food chicken, but its good. Much better than any of the other fast food chicken. A 3 piece and a side of wedge fries, right out of the pressure cooker.....that's good stuff. When my daughter was younger she thought it was weird we were buying our dinner at a gas station....but she loved it.

                                                                    BTW...the is one in Crofton now.

                                                                2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                  Just got fried chicken from Chicken Basket after reading your post. Too salty and just not very good. I much prefer Shoppers Food Warehouse when it is fresh. I will try Cluck U at some point, but my next stop will be Royal Farms.

                                                                  1. re: Mister Big

                                                                    Cluck you has good wings but depending on the franhise the sandwiches and chicken can be hit or miss.

                                                                    1. re: agarnett100

                                                                      Agreed. The H Street shop was hit or miss and has since folded. The Seabrook store is solid. Have not tried the one near Grace Garden.

                                                              2. Some of the best fried chicken in the area can be found at the Laurel Amish Market

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: agarnett100

                                                                  Which stall? I believe two sell fried chicken.

                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                    I like the one next to the restuarant and baked goods