Best fried chicken in NOLA for the fried chicken fiend


Harrison Thorn | Senior Staff Photographer

Willie’s Chicken Shack has billboards all around the city and in the quarter.

We can think of few things more satisfying than biting through crispy fried chicken skin and into the juicy chicken that lies underneath. Ordering Raising Cane’s and Popeyes will give you a satisfactory meal, but we can do better. Being in the South, and especially in New Orleans, Tulane students have access to some of the best fried chicken in the country. In this article, The Hullabaloo reviews some of the fried chicken joints in the city where Tulanians can get their fix.

Of course, this list is not comprehensive. A full fried chicken city tour would take months. There is no shortage of great chicken in the city.

This list attempts to steer readers towards chicken that is either easily accessible to Tulane students, or is an absolute must-eat meal worth going the distance for.

Willie’s Chicken Shack: several locations in and around the French Quarter

This restaurant has billboards all around the city and in the Quarter. The probability you haven’t seen one is low. The Hullabaloo went to the Canal Street location, and we were hit with the French Quarter vibe as soon as we stepped inside. It had all of the characteristics of a casual French Quarter eatery: the extensive collection of frozen alcoholic drinks behind the bar, the brightly colored signs indicating that any consumer would have slapped their mother concluding their meal had she been present, etc.

The Hullabaloo ordered the “2 Piece mix,” which yielded a breast and a thigh. The skin was post-crispy: hard and crunchy, as opposed to the slight crunch you crave when you bite into fried chicken, though it tasted like a good piece of chicken. A big drawback: it was not made fresh. It was not “the best fried chicken in town,” either. If you’re in the Quarter and you absolutely need chicken, this will do, but the area has dozens of food options that are more delicious and interesting than Willie’s. On a night out with friends, however, this is a great place to grab a bite.

Frankie and Johnny’s: 321 Arabella St.

Labeled a “New Orleans food institution” by Pokemon Go, Frankie and Johnny’s is a restaurant with good, old fashioned Cajun food just off of Tchoupitoulas Street. Its fried chicken comes as a half bird, cooked fresh to order.

This chicken is proof that the eyes do, in fact, eat first. The iPhone camera couldn’t accurately capture the beautiful plate of glistening chicken, the most attractive plate we came across on our chicken adventure. It also featured one of the largest chicken wings The Hullabaloo has ever seen.

The skin was perfectly thin and had a nice crunch to it, and the chicken inside was full of juice and had good flavor. For $12.95, a half bird of quality fried chicken is hard to beat. This is our recommendation for chicken a little closer to campus, though it will require some form of transportation other than walking unless you’re very dedicated.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House: 2401 St. Ann St.

The general consensus in the city, and our overall conclusion, is that the best fried chicken in New Orleans – nay the country – is at Willie Mae’s Scotch House. Featured on numerous high-profile travel and food websites including Food Network, this is the place to eat some “legendary fried chicken”.

It’s a bit of a schlep from campus, but if you’ve got time to get there and wait in the line, it is absolutely worth it. Every bite of chicken triggered an involuntary response that forced someone at the table to say how delicious it was.

The skin is incredibly crispy, but thin enough that it isn’t crunchy and hard. Biting into the chicken will reward you with the beautiful sight of a perfectly juicy piece of chicken. Of all of the places visited, Willie Mae’s had the most flavorful chicken and the juiciest meat. This was easily the most well-seasoned chicken on the list. It had a slight kick to it that the other chicken just didn’t. Willie Mae’s reputation precedes it and you have to go eat there.

Honorable mention: Love Me Tenders, City Diner

We concede that tenders don’t technically qualify as “fried chicken” and that City Diner does in fact have the real, bone-in variety enjoyed at the above eateries. But these chicken tenders fill an important niche in the Tulane community. It’s safe to say that students would miss them if they weren’t around to satisfy our late-night cravings. The tenders aren’t all that juicy and they don’t have any sort of skin to talk about, but they are here for you when you need them. Isn’t that what really matters?

Other places to consider trying:

Jacques-Imo’s: 8324 Oak St.

Located on Oak Street, Jacques-Imo’s is an Uptown classic. While it is not a fried chicken restaurant, Jacques-Imo’s is known for its “Real Nawlins Food.” Of course, fried chicken has made the menu, but Jacque-Imo’s is worth experiencing whether you go for the chicken or not.

McHardy’s Chicken and Fixin’: 1458 N Broad St.

If you ever find yourself near City Park, try eating here. It’s to-go only and very affordable. The initial search was limited to sit-down restaurants, but this place is at the top of out list for other fried chicken to try.

To get a more all-encompassing feel for the fried chicken New Orleans has to offer, The Hullabaloo recommends checking out the annual National Fried Chicken Festival at Woldenberg Riverfront Park this weekend.

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