10 of the best fried chicken restaurants in the South

The best fried chicken restaurants in the South?

Okay, so we know this article is bound to create some controversy. It’s unavoidable. Narrowing down an iconic dish like fried chicken in the South to merely 10 locations is pretty much impossible. Actually, it’s more like insanity. And yet, this was a challenge we wrapped our arms around with enthusiasm.

Hey, we love fried chicken.

LOVE it.

Taking suggestions from all over, we’ve distilled this list down to an essential 10 … the perfect amount for any foodie’s fried chicken pilgrimage.

Ready to get on the road to find the best fried chicken restaurants in the South? Let’s go!


Watershed on Peachtree (Atlanta)

1820 Peachtree Rd NW, Atlanta | (404) 809-3561 | Website


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An upscale restaurant that offers fried chicken as an only “sometimes” special (only available Wednesdays) is an inauspicious start when trying to determine the best fried chicken of *any* location, let alone the South. But as anyone who has sampled Watershed’s delicious chicken will tell you, this is one special that’s worth seeking out. The dish has survived multiple menu shake-ups, so don’t be scared off by the posh setting. Fried in a special ham hock fat bath after first being brined in buttermilk, this bird soars.



Willie Mae’s Scotch House (New Orleans)

2401 St Ann St., New Orleans | (504) 822-9503 | Website

Willie Mae’s story, involving its beginnings as a beauty shop, transformation to a scotch house and then restaurant, and its subsequent rebound from devastation following Hurricane Katrina, is fairly well known at this point. And the reason for that is people keep coming back for the unbelievable fried chicken. Crisp and juicy, but more importantly big on flavor, Willie Mae’s is part of a rich fried chicken scene in New Orleans. They like to keep their recipe secret, but we asked them for some cooking tips anyway … and they obliged!



Prince’s Hot Chicken (Nashville)

123 Ewing Dr #3, Nashville | (615) 226-9442 | Website


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Another legendary establishment with a long list of achievements, this Nashville institution (established in the 1940s) introduced much of the world to hot chicken … and has since helped make hot chicken into a Southern obsession.  With seven levels of heat to choose from, anyone who makes the pilgrimage has the option of deferring from killing their mouth, but then again, the heat is part of the experience. Ask your server what heat they recommend and go for it. You only live once.



Eugene’s Hot Chicken (Birmingham)

2268 9th Ave N, Birmingham | (205) 322-7555 | Website

Like many great brick and mortars, Eugene’s got its start in a food truck. Its fiery success led to a physical location where you can get a number of different kinds of bird (whole bird, tenders, wings and sandwiches), cooked at a number of heat levels. But Eugene’s has the whole package, not just fabulous hot chicken, but also some incredible sides. As our friends at Magic City Weekend noted, Eugene’s gets a visit from them about once a week … which isn’t nearly enough to satisfy their office cravings.



Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (Memphis)

310 S Front St, Memphis | (901) 527-4877 | Website


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Starting with a family recipe in 1953, Gus’s has grown into a fried chicken mini-empire. Originally located 40 minutes down the road from Memphis in Mason, Tenn., the second restaurant opened in the Bluff City in 2001 and they’ve been expanding ever since. Now synonymous with Memphis, this hot and spicy chicken cooked up in peanut oil used to require a special pilgrimage to experience, but with even more new locations being announced regularly, getting to experience Gus’s is getting easier all the time – which is a very good thing for all of us.



Price’s Chicken Coop (Charlotte)

1614 Camden Rd, Charlotte | (704) 333-9866 | Website

Cash only, in a building that dates back to the 1940s (the business itself has *only* been here since the ‘60s), Price’s Chicken Coop deals heavily in nostalgia. But they wouldn’t still be here if the chicken didn’t pass muster, and it very much does. Originally started as a poultry dealer, they eventually started frying the chicken, and it was such a huge hit, they never stopped. Their recipe and much of the restaurant haven’t changed since. And hey, if it’s worked for over 50 years, why change now?



Busy Bee Café (Atlanta)

810 Martin Luther King Junior Drive Northwest, Atlanta | (404) 525-9212 | Website


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The polar opposite of our other Atlanta entry, Busy Bee is as soul food as soul food gets. With a humble storefront and always entertaining huge crowds for that no-frills, home-style cooking, it’s the kind of chicken place this list was created for. In operation since 1947 (and still cash only), all of their Southern favorites are worth checking out, but it’s the fried chicken here that causes people from all over to make a special trip. Just don’t wait too long to stop by … they close everyday by 7 (and aren’t open on Saturdays).


Little Donkey (Montgomery)

7720 Eastchase Parkway Ste B1, Montgomery | (334) 625-1949 | Website


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Montgomery is known as a foodie town, and appropriately it has a long list of fried chicken spots to tickle your taste buds. The most interesting of the bunch is a Mexican restaurant. Yes, you read that right. Little Donkey brings in the crowds for its delicious Mexican food, but it has also earned a reputation for its tasty fried chicken. That might not seem like the most natural of statements, but we’re not alone in noticing these guys – they’ve won a ton of local awards. Try it for yourself and you won’t be disappointed.


Martha Lou’s Kitchen (Charleston)

1068 Morrison Dr, Charleston | (843) 577-9583 | Website

Authentic soul food that’ll “stick to the ribs” is the philosophy you’ll see on full display at Martha Lou’s Kitchen in downtown Charleston. (You can’t miss the bright pink exterior.) The menu is based on the traditional “meat and three,” and as you might expect given its inclusion here, the fried chicken is truly outstanding. Fried to perfection with a golden exterior, the flavor and juiciness are on point. And you can’t beat the ambiance.




Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (Miami)

1600 Lenox Ave, Miami Beach | (305) 538-5220 | Website


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Yes, we know Miami isn’t exactly the South – okay, it’s not even a little the South. But Yardbird is so good, it’s worth bending the rules for. A devotion to farm fresh ingredients and Southern cuisine dominate this rustic-decorated restaurant, and they’ve justifiably earned a national reputation for doing things right. Their chicken plates are offered all day (either with waffles or without), and you’ll taste that 27-hour brining process.



And that’s our best fried chicken restaurants list. 10 amazing spots for fried chicken in the South. How did we do? Give us a shout on Facebook to tell us what we missed or if you think we nailed it.