The Best Fried Chicken in NYC

A picnic table top spread of BBQ food dishes.
Photo credit: Pies ‘n’ Thighs Facebook

National Fried Chicken Day is quickly approaching (July 6th, to be exact), so what better time to take yourself on a fried chicken tour of NYC?! Fried chicken is one of those foods that brings us back to childhood summertimes or hometown roots. And while it may not be as prevalent as green, leafy kale that we tend to see on menus in the city, there are some places that fry it up so good, you’d think you were south of the Mason Dixon Line! We’ve rounded up the best of the best below.

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For the Best Fried Chicken in Williamsburg: Pies ‘n’ Thighs

Some friends of mine think of Pies ‘n’ Thighs as the spot where the hip fried chicken movement began back in the early 2000’s, making it a must-eat stop on your fried chicken quest! In fact, their fried chicken was awarded “Best Fried Chicken” in national surveys by Food & Wine and Bon Appétit, which are two very trusted sources of foodie knowledge in my book!  You can order your fried chicken in a box with a few sides, in a sandwich, with a biscuit, or along side fresh waffles!

Red and white containers of golden brown crispy chicken.
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Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem

Sylvia’s Restaurant was founded in 1962 by the “Queen of Soul Food,” Sylvia Woods. The fried chicken has remained exactly how it was back then – perfectly flour dusted and fried, creating a light and crisp skin, just like they do it down in the south!

You could really make a fun evening out of this spot, because in addition to its excellent fried chicken, they have events going on several times a month, ranging from karaoke nights, live music and wine specials, and a gospel Sunday brunch (hello, chicken and waffles!)

Another fun thing about this hot spot? They have a Birthday Club, so if you subscribe to their mailing list, you get a free dessert when you dine there on your birthday! Nice way to top off a good meal!

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For Budget Friendly Fried Chicken: Chick-fil-A

Working at Chick-fil-A was one of my first summertime jobs out of high school, so I can promise you first hand that there’s nothing frozen or processed about any of their fried chicken sandwiches. There’s a reason they have such a cult following, even in NYC:

The chicken sandwich is consistently phenomenal, and priced perfectly for a lunch meal out that you won’t feel guilty about later.

And at only 440 calories, it’s actually on par health wise with some of the salad bar options!

The fried chicken sandwich is really quite simple: they bread the chicken, give it a quick fry, toast the buns with a touch of butter, and top it with a signature pickle. They offer plenty of dressings, if you want to jazz things up a bit, but quite honestly it’s perfect just on its own. They have locations in midtown (6th Avenue and 37th and 46th Streets), as well as one on the NYU campus, and one in the Elmhurst Mall in Queens, making it an easy spot to grab lunch.

An interior view of Nickle & Diner's kitchen in NYC.
Photo credit: Nickel & Diner Facebook

Where to Get Fried Chicken in Chinatown: Nickel and Diner

I’m a little obsessed with Nickel and Diner: it’s set up like the old fashioned five and dime lunch counters, and is a beautiful spot to stop in and enjoy an iced coffee and a plate of fried chicken.

Unlike the simple versions of fried chicken on this list, their signature spin involves coating the chicken with panko crumbs, fry it to resemble a tempura texture, and sprinkle sweet chile sauce and crushed cashews on top.

Where will you be celebrating National Fried Chicken Day? Share your favorite spots with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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