Updated October 2018
Fried chicken is undeniably Southern, and Atlanta’s love for this hot and tasty legacy is experienced best at these restaurants.
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken – Gus’s hails from Memphis. Lucky for Atlantans, Gus’s Fried Chicken decided to open up in Atlanta with crispy, spicy and juicy fried chicken. Find it downtown in the Peachtree Center Mall food court.
JCT. Kitchen & Bar – JCT. Kitchen has been a mainstay for incredible fried chicken since its opening in 2007 by chef and restaurateur Ford Fry. During JCT's Sunday Supper, get three starters for the table plus sides for the table then pick your own meat. Meat choices include, natch, fried chicken. Everybody gets dessert, too.
Paschal’s – What began as a small 30-seat lunch restaurant has transformed into a beautiful restaurant with a rich history, making its home in Castleberry Hill. Its signature dish, available since 1947, and the most popular comes with a leg, wing and chicken breast.
Watershed – Executive chef Matt Marcus brines his chicken before coating it with buttermilk and seasoned flour. He then fries it in lard and ham fat. It is served with collard greens braised with ham hock and Dr. Pepper, sourdough drop biscuits, B&B pickles and chicken fat deviled egg with caviar -- all drizzled with hot honey. The chicken is available by request only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Come early because the supply is limited.
Sway – Unlike many Southern restaurants that serve fried chicken, the version at Sway at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta comes with a breast, leg, and thigh. The dish is so big that it is served in its own skillet. Brined for 24 hours, it is a customer favorite.
Hop’s Chicken – This Ponce City Market stall is easily noticeable from the long line of people wrapped around to get a bite of this tasty inclusion into the Atlanta fried chicken scene. Hop’s Chicken, from James Beard Award-winning chef Linton Hopkins, was one of the first Atlanta restaurants to dabble in the hot chicken craze, and it’s paid off heavily with droves of hungry patrons wanting the hot and spicy fried chicken iteration.
Mary Mac’s – Super friendly service is one of the reasons that Mary Mac’s has remained popular for so many years. Fried chicken is one of the customer favorites.
South City Kitchen – The Springer Mountain Farms Fried Chicken comes with collard greens, red bliss potatoes, and honey-thyme jus.
Hattie B's Hot Chicken – Believe the hype. Hattie B's is just that good. Just take the long lines of people wrapped down Moreland Avenue in Little Five Point waiting to sink their teeth into bites of crispy delights in heat levels ranging from Southern (No Heat) to Shut the Cluck Up!!! (Burn Notice) that the hot chicken OG out of Nashville is bringing. You'll be a believer too.
Chick-a-Biddy – Looking for a delicious fried chicken, either Buffalo or mild? Check out this spot for tasty fried chicken. Get the braised Brussels sprouts side dish, too.
White Oak Kitchen and Cocktails – This popular spot serves up some tasty Springer Mountain Farms Chicken, with waffles. Perfect for entertaining your out-of-town guests, the restaurant is centrally located Downtown.
Malika Bowling is the author of Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More!, and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including Taste of Atlanta.