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New Orleans’ Legendary Fried Chicken Joints

new orleans fried chicken
Photo courtesy of Willie Mae’s Scotch House

There’s no greater evidence of New Orleanians’ passion for fried chicken than Fried Chicken Festival. This year, the free festival will take place on September 20-22 in Woldenberg Riverfront Park. There will be music, cooking demos, eating contests, activities for kids… and, of course, delicious fried chicken from over 30 local vendors. In honor of the Fried Chicken Festival, here is our shortlist of just a few of the best New Orleans chicken joints.

Coop’s Place (1109 Decatur St.)

One of the French Quarter’s bright stars and mainstays is the always bustling Coop’s, a no-frills bar and restaurant with an extensive and excellent menu that goes way beyond barfood grub. The hands-down standout is Cajun fried chicken, made with Coop’s own seasoning blend. Pair it with Coop’s famous seafood gumbo, or rabbit and sausage jambalaya, and you’ll understand what we’re talking about.

Dooky Chase’s (2301 Orleans Ave.)

This iconic Tremé institution is a treasure and an international destination for many reasons, including its late, great chef and owner Leah Chase’s legacy in the New Orleans culinary world, the unbelievable (and not easy to find) gumbo z’herbes, and its contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. Dooky Chase’s friend chicken is a mainstay, along with shrimp Clemenceau and po-boys, and it’s incredible.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (citywide)

Come on, you can’t write an homage to New Orleans’ fried chicken without including the locally founded chain that put this meal on the map. Launched in Arabi in 1972 by the larger-than-life late restaurateur Al Copeland, Popeyes took off when it launched its signature spicy seasoning blend. Now, the multinational chain boasts over 2,600 locations across 30 countries, and its red beans and rice, coleslaw, and biscuits are almost as famous as its chicken. Popeyes is a taste of home, no matter where you are — but it somehow doesn’t taste as spicy at locations outside Louisiana.

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers (citywide)

Is it the soft Texas toast that comes with every order? The slightly pinkish Cane’s Sauce? The tart lemonade? Or the hefty, made-to-order chicken fingers? Nobody knows for sure, but something on the menu of this Baton Rouge-born fast-food chain has won over millions of “Caniacs.” The fast-growing Raising Cane’s is also one the Fried Chicken Festival sponsors —which means that you can get a taste of the famous Cane’s fare if you’re attending this year.

The Original Fiorella’s Cafe (5325 Franklin St.)

 The Original Fiorella’s reopened its doors in 2016, after a 17-year absence from the New Orleans dining scene — and it did so with a bang. Hot and tender, with a golden exterior, Fiorella’s signature fried chicken hasn’t changed. Past Fried Chicken Festival winner Fiorella’s is back at the fest this year — so you can taste its gem of a recipe and judge for yourself.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House (2401 St. Ann St.)

 Since opening in 1952, Willie Mae’s has gone from a friends-and-family hangout to a Tremé landmark, with a James Beard award and appearances on The Travel Channel and The Food Network under its beltFounder Willie Mae was extremely guarded with her recipe for the wet-battered fried chicken that made her namesake restaurant famous. Before she died in 2015 at age 99, she passed the recipe down to her great-granddaughter Kerry Seaton, who now runs the business. Willie Mae’s legacy lives on, and its legendary chicken has been making regular appearances (and winning) at the Fried Chicken Festival.