11 Fantastic Spots for Fried Chicken in Atlanta

Fried chicken is undeniably Southern and Atlanta's love for this hot and tasty legacy is experienced best at these restaurants.
  • Watershed's fried chicken is available on Wednesdays only and usually sells out.
    Watershed's fried chicken is available on Wednesdays only and usually sells out.
  • Sway's chicken comes with breast, leg and thigh.
    Sway's chicken comes with breast, leg and thigh.
  • A hearty portion of fried chicken fit for a king awaits at Paschal's.
    A hearty portion of fried chicken fit for a king awaits at Paschal's.
  • Whether on a plate with sides or by the bucket, JCT Kitchen's fried chicken is a pleaser.
    Whether on a plate with sides or by the bucket, JCT Kitchen's fried chicken is a pleaser.
  • Tupelo Honey Cafe's chicken is topped with creamy gravy and served with Southern favorites.
    Tupelo Honey Cafe's chicken is topped with creamy gravy and served with Southern favorites.

Is there ever a bad time to eat fried chicken? Nope. But if you need an excuse, Atlanta is the top spot for this Southern-fried delicacy.

  1. Gus’s Fried Chicken – Gus's hails from Memphis.  Lucky for Atlantans, Gus’s Fried Chicken decided to open up in Atlanta. What struck me was how crispy, spicy and juicy Gus’s Fried Chicken is. Find it downtown in the Peachtree Center Mall food court. Gus's can be tricky to find as you must go downstairs from the main food court. Rather than just a standard kiosk, Gus’s Fried Chicken is a stand-alone restaurant.

  2. JCT Kitchen – Hot, crispy and flavorful to say the least, JCT Kitchen has been a mainstay for incredible fried chicken since its opening in 2007 by chef and restaurateur Ford Fry. The Westside hot spot for Southern cuisine has become such a favorite for fried chicken that they're filling buckets of it every first Sunday in the month for Fried Chicken & Oyster Sundays at the JCT. Bar.

  3. 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 huge chicken breast. Although a bit pricey, at $17, it is juicy and filling.

  4. Watershed  It takes a whole three days to make this delish dish. A half chicken is brined, soaked in buttermilk, coated with flour and spices, and fried. It's served with a side of biscuits, of course. You’ll have to plan accordingly if you want it, though. It’s only available on Wednesdays and sells out quickly.

  5. 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's such a customer favorite that Sway is going to start selling it at the market in the hotel, which offers foods to go.

  6. 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.

  7. Mary Mac’s – One of the oldest restaurants in Atlanta is Mary Mac’s Tea Room. Super friendly service is one of the reasons it has remained popular for so many years. Mary Mac’s Tea Room has been patronized by celebrities like Richard Gere, Beyonce, the Dahli Lama and is a favorite of Paula Deen. Fried chicken is one of the customer favorites. Tip: It goes well with tomato pie. Plus you can make these recipes at home with the Mary Mac's cookbook.

  8. Agave – Three words. Cayenne. Fried. Chicken. The spice on this dish is incredible. And here’s a bonus tip: All entrees are just  $12 between 5 and 6 p.m. every day.

  9. Tupelo Honey Café  Based in Asheville, N.C., Tupelo Honey recently opened in Atlanta. Southern favorites are served up in a funky décor complete with fancy cocktails and friendly service. Fried chicken breast is a signature item. 

  10. Chick-a-Biddy  Looking for a delicious gluten-free fried chicken? Check out this spot for tasty fried chicken. Get the braised Brussels sprouts side dish, too. 

  11. White Oak Kitchen and Cocktails  Chef Todd Richards serves up some tasty Springer Mountain Farms Chicken with his classic recipe. Perfect for entertaining your out-of-town guests, the restaurant is centrally located downtown

Malika Bowling is the author of Food Lovers' Guide to Atlanta, Food Blogging 101 and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog. She has been a contributing writer to USA Today and has been featured on HGTV, Huffington Post and About.com. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including Taste of Atlanta. She is the president of the Association of Food Bloggers and her podcast, Just a Byte, can be downloaded from iTunes. Follow her on Twitter @MalikaBowling and Instagram

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