Thrillist, how could you pick 31 fried-chicken places and get it so wrong?

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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.

In Charleston, Martha Lou’s is worth every bit of attention, and I’m happy they got it. Although missing Bertha’s Kitchen and the Glass Onion in the same town is a puzzlement.

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.

This story first ran at CharlotteObserver.com.
Photo:  Christopher A. Record/Charlotte Observer

3 COMMENTS

  1. Ms. Purvis…Good article on fried chicken. I tried Price’s Chicken coop and you are right, that is some good chicken. KFC is better then King’s Kitchen and Dish though. I haven’t tried the other three, yet. Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill is also excellent. I’m going to Charleston this year and have heard some good reviews about Bertha’s Kitchen.
    I’m from Southern California where most of the food is fresh especially the seafood, vegies and fruits. The prices are more reasonable and the flavors just pop. I haven’t found many places like that here in Charlotte, in fact everyone I speak to say the same things about the cooking here. Bland, not fresh, not much of a variety, over cooked and the prices for what you get are high.

    I went to the Capital Grill and had their lamb, it was very good. I heard about Chedders, tried their Salmon, it was over cooked and it was from frozen. Mexican food, I found Azteca on Independence (74) to be pretty good, others were not authentic or were Tex-Mex other wise Americanized, not much flavor.

    I am a seafood junkie and have not found a good a place where they knew how to cook seafood properly or even had a variety. It seems like the seafood here consist of shrimp, whiting, tilapia or cat fish and it’s fried.
    Indian food, I found best off of the trucks downtown, sorry, uptown. I was in India a couple of years ago and the food was outstanding, fresh with lots of flavor. The Indian restaurants here tend to water down the meals a little. I guess people here are not to use to spice other than hot sauce.

    I’ve also had some good Thia and Chinese food on South Blvd. When it comes to bar-b-que everyone says they are the best. I haven’t found any place yet where the meat falls off the bone and is tender. Most places I have tried the meat is tough or chewy.

    Going to close for now. Thanks for your opinion piece (article), I found it helpful.

  2. Another local favorite you forgot to mention is Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits. Its famous, its even in the name plus their so good they have a lot of locations.

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