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May 19, 2014 01:27 AM

San Francisco Fried Chicken Company in North Beach

Open for two months, San Francisco Fried Chicken Company has a prime position on Columbus Avenue. With fried chicken at the ready in the warming oven and staying open until 2:30am, this is bound to be popular with the bar crowd. There was a parking space right in front when I drove by after 11pm last week and I took the opportunity to check it out.

The special of the day chicken noodle soup for $3 was already sold out. So I tried a thigh, $3, and a wing, $2. Very crispy skin and succulent meat suggest brining, the chicken is on the plain side seemingly seasoned with just salt and pepper and fried in clean oil. The wing had a fresh-out-of-the-fryer juiciness; the thigh did not but was still decent. A future strategy might be to inquire which parts were cooked most recently.

Squeeze bottles on the counter offer up ketchup, Tapatio hot sauce, sweet chile sauce, Buffalo sauce, and BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce was the typical sticky oversweetened stuff and did nothing for the chicken. The Buffalo sauce was a pretty good accompaniment, and my favorite, was the Mae Ploy-like sweet chile sauce that I like to add to Thai fried chicken.

The chicken pieces are big, not the runts that KFC serves, so pretty good value for fast food. Street level has two small tables, and there’s more seating upstairs. Cash only and no alcohol.

Who else has tried it?

San Francisco Fried Chicken Co.
362 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 989-5443
Daily 11am to 2:30am

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  1. I stopped by on Saturday afternoon and had a leg, thigh and mash with gravy and a can of soda. The total was slightly more than $10.

    I was surprised that unlike other fried chicken places, the chicken was not kept on display under a heat lamp. Instead it is kept in a warmer hidden under the counter.
    This troubled me in some way since I am used to visually inspecting whats available. Sure enough when I got the chicken, while it looked beautiful and crisp and plump on the outside, the inside was lukewarm and had the distinct texture of reheated chicken or baked chicken instead of freshly deep fried.

    The mash and gravy was nice... the gravy tasted like fresh thyme and the mashed potato had bits of potato skin in it.

    I talked to the person at the counter and this is not a new restaurant, it is actually a side business by Buster's next door.

    I don't think I will eat here again unless they follow standard fried chicken practices of throwing the stuff out en masse during downtimes when it doesn't sell and using heat lamps. Seems like they are not properly warming it and may be instead slowly baking pre-fried chicken at a low temperature.

    The cash only thing is really strange in this day and age when young people don't carry cash, and the bill here can easily go over $10. In the 30 minutes I was there, three people reacted verbally negative to the counter person about this. After learning that this is really Buster's, that explained things as Buster's has been around since back in the days of cash only and the owners are probably just used to that.