Updated March 2020
One could argue that fried chicken is perhaps the most classic dish ever created in the history of food. If you’re a meat-eater, chances are extremely high you share a love of fried chicken just like the other 99% (assumptive, made-up calculations) of the world.
Most have a personal connection with fried chicken dating back to our childhood as well as generations before us. Fried chicken dates back to the Scottish immigrants who brought their traditions of deep-frying chicken in fat and introducing it to the southern United States. It eventually became a southern staple and was later enriched with seasonings and spices from newer recipes to improve the flavor.
If you’re planning to round up your friends and family for big bucket of fried chicken with all of your favorite sides and an ice cold drink, here’s a list of our favorite fried chicken spots in Austin.
7211 Burnet | Tumble 22 features a menu of chicken-fried specialties with a fiery uniqueness all its own. At it’s core, Tumble 22’s offerings is the chicken itself, which is all-natural, sourced in Texas and contains no additives. The chicken is tumbled in seasoned flour, fried and coated in Chef Harold’s special secret blend of seasonings. When the chicken meets the sauce, it is dipped in a choice of four chef-made sauces: Wimpy, Hot, Dang Hot and Fire in the Hole. It’s crispy, juicy and second to none. Tumble 22 Hot Chicken originally started as a food truck and has expanded and opened their first brick-and-mortar location, T22 Chicken Joint on Burnet Rd. The new T22 Chicken Joint, albeit fast-casual, includes table side service, seats about 140 guests, and is open from 11 am to 9 pm on weekdays and 11 am to 10 pm weekends.
117 San Jacinto Blvd. | Memphis based Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken may not technically be a local spot, but I dare you to eat it without calling it one of the best in town. Each piece of chicken is fried to a golden crisp, all while staying perfectly moist and juicy inside with a slight spicy kick to it. Every plate comes with their standard side of beans, coleslaw and white bread just as does in it’s Tennessee flagship.
1701 E 6th St. | Get down on Spicy Boys’ addicting signature fried chicken leg quarter topped with the signature spice blend, chili-honey, crispy onions and scallions. Pair it with a cold one from Zilker Brewing and you’ve got yourself a real happy meal. Try the crispy boneless wings, tossed in your choice of seven wing sauces, ranging from the mild Thai BBQ and Citrus-Miso to the numbing Lemon-Sichuan and the namesake Spicy Boys level heat, for *real ones only* bold enough to try.
117 San Jacinto Blvd. | Max’s Wine Dive has consistently been crowned by Texans as serving the best fried chicken in state since opening their original Houston location in 2006. The chicken is prepared with a crispy jalapeño-buttermilk crust, encasing its juicy meat, arriving with a slice of Texas toast, mashed potatoes and fresh collard greens. Who doesn’t love fried chicken and champagne?
5811 BERKMAN DRIVE | Super golden brown, crispy and bursting with flavor and a little bite of spice with a side of hot honey for dipping – all of what you want in fried chicken and so much more. That’s what you can expect at Hank’s, as they’re delicious fried chicken can arguably hailed as one of the top offerings in town. It’s available on the menu all day and is extremely addictive. You’ve been warned.
2002 Manor Rd. | Hoover’s Cooking has been serving honest-to-goodness classic Texas home cooking on Manor Rd. for the last 15 years by native Austinite Hoover Alexander. He grew up helping his family hand pick farm fresh produce carrying the tradition on to his restaurant making him a pioneer in Austin’s famous farm-to-table movement before it was cool! Their fried chicken is a classic crispy recipe full of flavor and a home cooked touch.
3 Locations in Austin | Lucy’s is one of Austin’s favorite homegrown restaurants that just happens to be known for its amazing fried chicken where you can literally get a bucket of fried chicken the way our founding fathers intended it to be served (not really). Is it weird that my personal favorite is the cold chicken?
1917 Manor Rd | Salty Sow has the very best happy hour in town. It also happens to be the only time you can get their amazing honey butter fried chicken and biscuit deal for only $5. Add an order of their tacos duck fat fries, crispy brussels sprouts, deviled eggs, and a cocktail and you can actually walk out of their without spending more than $40. After eating their chicken you’ll wish they offered bucket orders with biscuits, but I dream.
604 BRAZOS ST. | The 1886 Honey Glazed Fried Chicken is cured overnight in a mix of thyme, rosemary, garlic, shallots, and salt, this southern favorite is then slow-cooked in duck confit and dredged in our famous hangover rub. Get it while it’s hot when it’s fried to order and topped with local Round Rock Honey.
7525 Burnet Rd | If you’ve lived in Austin for more than 5 years, you should already know everything there is to know about Top Notch. It’s the same place on Dazed and Confused where Matthew McConaughey first said “Alright, alright, alright!”. This classic burger joint has been serving up delicious and crispy Texas free-range fried chicken since the 1970’s, so your parents were probably chowing down on this back in their glory days.
11301 Lakeline Blvd. | Donkey Mo’s offers delicious and flavorful Korean fried chicken wings and tenders from a small counter-service eatery inside the H-Mart grocery complex.
500 W. 5th #168 | Wu Chow’s Spicy Sichuan Fried Chicken features a spicy bowl of organic chicken, sichuan peppercorns and chilies are about as impressive as the upscale decor of the restaurant itself. If spicy Sichuan tickles your tongue a little too much, I’m sure they’ll remove the chilies, but why on earth would you want to remove yourself from such a heated experience.
500 W 5th St, Austin | This bad boy is only available during Daily Social hours for only $9. The fried chicken sandwich comes on a house made sunchoke roll, along with sweet tea pickles, chicken mayo, a sunchoke & benne seed roll and arrives with a side of salt & pepper fries.
2129 E 7th St. | Flyrite uses fresh local ingredients from better the best possible sources, including all-natural chicken raised without antibiotics. Their delicious sandwiches, wraps, and shakes are fresh and made to order. The crispy chicken breast is served on a toasted whole wheat bun with homemade pickle chips and your choice of sauce.
2708 East Cesar Chavez Street | Known for soulful tastes of the Hill Country, Pitchfork Pretty offers dishes crafted from the freshest local produce and inspired by Austin’s cosmopolitan sensibilities. With dishes like their gluten free spicy fried chicken and quality, seasonal ingredients harvested directly from its private garden located only a mile from the restaurant, Pitchfork Pretty is the perfect place to escape SXSW crowds in a clean, inviting space.
909 W Mary St. | Gluten-free fried chicken with a side of sticky rice and Thai sauce will hit the spot every single time. If you don’t instantly fall in love with this chicken, you’re simply not human.
2115 South Lamar Blvd. | The fan-favorite Chicken Karaage, which also appears on Loro’s regular menu, rounds out the happy hour menu at only $6. Tyson Cole’s dry fried Chicken Karaage is dressed with sweet chili gastrique and topped with fresh herb salad and spicy aioli on the side. The chicken makes an outstanding addition to the restaurant’s variety of complex Southeast Asian cuisine, creating a balance that is the perfect counterpoint to the richness of a smokehouse.
1209 Rosewood Ave. | Rosewood celebrates the traditions and inspirations of South Texas cuisine while focusing on whole animal utilization in a historic 1890 home setting. Their fried chicken is outstanding, mixed with a combination of deep southern tradition and an elevated presentation you won’t find in any of the other contenders. It’s only available during happy hour from 5 – 6:30 pm, so plan accordingly.