The website Thrillist had 31 spots to fill on its list of the best fried chicken in the country? And this is the best they could do?
Yes, I’m more than a little astounded that they skipped over Charlotte entirely – no Price’s Chicken Coop, LaWans, Mert’s, Chicken Box, King’s Kitchen or Dish? This is a city with so much great fried chicken, even our Shell gas stations have cult followings for fried bird parts.
But to miss Gus’s in Memphis, a place so important that its official name is Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken? Sorry, but that really ruffles my feathers.
Yes, I’m happy that two North Carolina places ended up on the list. Yeah to Ashley Christensen’s Beasley’s Chicken + Honey in Raleigh and to Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill. When it comes to righteous fried chicken, Mildred Council’s family at Mama Dip’s makes chicken that is worth the Southern nickname “gospel bird,” a holdover from the days when you only got fried chicken when the preacher was coming to your house for Sunday dinner.
I can even agree with some of their national picks: I wear my T-shirt from Stroud’s in Kansas City with pride. (Especially at the gym: The slogan “We choke our own chickens” always gets a laugh over by the free weights.) I once sprang for a rental car in Nashville so I could sneak away from a literary festival to hit Prince’s Hot Chicken. Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans is worthy of its legend, and I have no pulley bone to pick with the choice of Little Donkey in Birmingham.
But there are many other choices that make me question how this research was done. How could a list that includes Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Seattle skip over Charlotte? They made room for two places in Portland (seriously, Portland?) but only one (Big Jones) in Chicago? A list that made room for two places in New York (Bobwhite and Charles’ Country Pan-Fried Chicken) still missed Sylvia’s and Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster?
Sorry, Thrillist. When it comes to fried chicken, your list is a few pieces shy of an eight-piece box.