New Orleans’ Legendary Fried Chicken Joints
Photo courtesy of The Original Fiorella’s Cafe on Facebook
There’s no greater evidence of New Orleanians’ passion for fried chicken than the Fried Chicken Festival. This year, the free festival will take place on September 30-October 1, 2023, at the Lakefront. There will be music, cooking demos, eating contests, activities for kids… and, of course, delicious fried chicken from dozens of local vendors. In honor of the Fried Chicken Festival, here is our shortlist of just a few of the best New Orleans chicken joints.
Brothers Food Mart
Gas-station fried chicken is a thing, and Brothers does it really, really well. While the company has many locations across New Orleans, its 148 Carondelet St. location is said to have the best fried chicken. It’s crispy, it’s not greasy, and it’s super crunchy.
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 bar-food 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.
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 fried chicken is a mainstay, along with shrimp Clemenceau and po-boys, and it’s incredible.
1458 N. Broad St.
This tiny, always-bustling takeout spot efficiently churns out even huge party orders of its legendary chicken. It’s crisp, with a touch of peppery heat. Get yours with some classic Cajun/Creole sides like red beans and rice or fried okra.
3839 Frenchmen St.
McKenzie’s Chicken in a Box is grab-and-go (there are no tables) local favorite. It’s been serving delicious, crunchy fried chicken since 1952, making it a Gentilly institution. Some locals would say it has the best chicken in New Orleans.
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.
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 of 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.
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.
Are you planning to spend some time in New Orleans soon? To stay close to all the action, book a historic boutique hotel in the French Quarter at FrenchQuarter.com/hotels today.