Things To Do

{Updated}Houston's Best Chicken for National Fried Chicken Day

Champagne wishes and fried chicken dreams come true at La Lucha.
Champagne wishes and fried chicken dreams come true at La Lucha. Photo by Ralph Smith

click to enlarge
Champagne wishes and fried chicken dreams come true at La Lucha.
Photo by Ralph Smith
This Saturday, July 6, 2019, is National Fried Chicken Day. For some, fried chicken conjures up memories of grandmas and cast iron skillets. For others, the drive-thru at KFC. Either way, fried chicken is the comfort food that fills us with guilt and pleasure. If you're going to be bad, fried chicken could be the ultimate cheat meal.

Cultures all over the world have some form of fried chicken. Whether it's a pounded thin cutlet for chicken Parmesan, batter-fried chunks in Chinese cuisine or the Southern 8 piece soaked in buttermilk and coated with pepper-seasoned flour, it is an international favorite.

We have compiled a list of places around town to get some great fried chicken with options for everyone. No list can ever contain all the amazing choices, especially in a food town like Houston. So, if you know a place that has spectacular fried chicken, let us know in the comments.

La Lucha
1801 N. Shepherd

Ford Fry's ode to the late San Jacinto Inn has the Pollo Especiale on the menu every day, so you don't have to wait for July 6. The chicken is sold by half ($18.95) and whole ($35.95). That may be a little steep for chicken lick'n, but the biscuits alone might be worth it. It does include three sauces for dipping: honey sambal, green harissa and oyster mayo, plus some tasty pickles. The price does not include a side, so be prepared to dish out $5 for each accompaniment you choose. There's smoked pork collard greens, crab boil corn, french fries and kimchi brussel sprouts as options. With three dipping sauces, you'd also be wise to get some fries.

There are plenty of bubblies to choose from, but if the price tag is already stretching your budget, there are a couple of bottle options like a prosecco, a cava rosado and a lambrusco that come in at $36 and under. And, if you are out late on Saturday night or an industry person just getting off work, there's a late night menu from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. that includes Biscuits and Gravy, served with a large fried chicken breast and two eggs. At $7.95, the damage to the wallet is minimal.

click to enlarge
So cute and yet, so naughty.
Photo by Julie Soefer
Sam's Fried Chicken and Donuts
601 Heights

Sam's sells its crispy fried chicken as Combos and Feasts. The Combos range from $9 to $13.25, depending on which pieces of chicken you prefer. Each combo comes with a small side, a piece of homemade cornbread and a dipping sauce.

The Feasts are for feeding friends and folks and run from $27.95 (serves 4) to $70.25 (serves 10).  Side choices include french fries, mashed potatoes, mustard potato salad and coleslaw.

If you want to be a little more adventurous, try the Double Donut. It's two fried chicken tenders sandwiched between two glazed donuts and further enhanced by the addition of bacon marmalade. For $7.50, that's a pretty sweet way to reach nirvana, as in the state of perfect happiness definition. The enlightenment part, not so much.

For National Fried Chicken Day, Sam's is offering a special $10 combo which includes the Double Donut chicken sandwich, french fries and a drink. There's also a spicy hot version.

The chicken at Kenny and Ziggy's has a Bronx accent. "You talkin' to me?"
Photo by Paula Murphy

Kenny and Ziggy's New York Delicatessen

5172 Buffalo Speedway
2327 Post Oak Boulevard

Known for its sky high deli sandwiches and house-cured corned beef, Kenny and Ziggy's has rolled out its summer fried chicken meal and it's a wee bit different than your Southern granny's chicken. The Bronx fried chicken summer special uses matzo meal to give the chicken a little extra crisp and a Northern flair. It was originally created as a Fourth of July special, but K&Z regulars begged for more, so the special started this past May 3 and will continue through the summer. It's $22.95 for five pieces of chicken (that's more than half a chicken, y'all) plus sides of grilled sweet corn, mashed potatoes and coleslaw. As with many of its dishes, two people could feast pretty well off one plate and save a little room for the killer desserts. End your chicken dinner a winner as you dig into a slice of Wolfie's Famous Victory Layer Cake ($9.95) or one of the delicious pies and pastries.

Kenny and Ziggy's serves beer and wine, but we think an egg cream soda makes a perfect buddy for the Bronx fried chicken.

click to enlarge
Jonathan's fried chicken is ready for its close-up, Mr. De Mille.
Photo by Paula Murphy
The Original Jonathan's the Rub BYOB
9061 Gaylord
Jonathan's the Rub Memorial Green
12505 Memorial

Both locations of Jonathan Levine's namesake restaurants will be offering a fried chicken package for dining in or taking out. For $22, you'll get a 1/2 fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and mango coleslaw. If you've never had mango coleslaw, here's your chance.

click to enlarge
Relish is elevating the bucket o' chicken.
Photo by Julie Soefer
2810 Westheimer

Executive chef Dustin Teague creates an herby, peppery fried chicken with honey for sweetness and buttermilk for tang and tenderness. It's based on his Paw Paw's recipe. Anytime there's a Paw Paw or a Maw Maw involved, you know it's gonna be good.

For National Fried Chicken Day, Relish is offering a bucket of eight pieces plus two sides and 4 herb biscuits for $38. There's also the crispy chicken sandwich made with boneless thigh ($15) and the chicken and waffle ($14) for Saturday brunch is a Belgian waffle topped with chicken thighs and maple syrup.

click to enlarge
Pour some syrup on me.
Photo by Julie Soefer
And if you're looking for a way to enjoy National Fried Chicken Day on a budget, this fine dining establishment has an atypical Saturday happy hour offering specials on snacks like deviled eggs with horseradish, crispy fried chicken and maple drizzle for $1 a piece from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you've been to any establishment in our fair city with deviled eggs on the menu, you know that's an awesome price. There are also drink specials including $6 select cocktails and wines plus $3 select drafts.

click to enlarge
Cane Rosso serves more than pizza.
Photo by Jeff Amador

Cane Rosso
1835 N.Shepherd

This Texas pizzeria was founded in Dallas, Texas in 2011. Unfortunately, the Montrose location closed in December of last year, but the lucky folks in the Heights can still get the Neapolitan-style pizza locally.

Why are we putting a pizza joint on a chicken list? Because Cane Rosso has two fried chicken specials for its weekend brunch. First up is Josh's Big Biscuit Sandwich ($14). It's fried chicken with bacon marmalade on a jumbo biscuit, served with rosemary Parmesan tots and sausage gravy. Diners can add a fried egg for an additional $2.

Then, there's the Fried Chicken and Cereal Waffles ($16) for a little bit of spice. It's a fried chicken breast served with cereal waffles, fontina cream, habanero honey and bacon marmalade. Brunch runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ouisie's Table
3939 San Felipe

This longtime Houston restaurant serves upscale Southern comfort food, but fried chicken is not usually on the menu. However, it is this July 6 for National Fried Chicken Day. Ouisie's will be serving a special chicken dinner in the evening only. It will include a hefty portion of fried chicken, okra with onions and peppers, plus mashed potatoes topped with Ouisie's famous pepper milk gravy. The $25 price tag includes a bottle of Shiner beer or a glass of prosecco can be substituted. Either pairing works for us.

Spice It Up:

click to enlarge
Peli Peli Kitchen crispy chicken
Photo by Ryan Ray

Peli Peli Kitchen
9090 Katy Freeway

The Peri Peri Chicken and the JoBurger burger are some of the most popular items at this fast-casual spin-off of Peli Peli, a Houston-based restaurant serving upscale South African cuisine. For National Fried Chicken Day, we suggest the Crispy Peri Chicken Sandwich ($12) is the way to go. It's served on a brioche bun with peri-naise, so you'll get a little kick from the peri peri pepper, but not too much. It's garnished with crispy onions, peppadews (a mild, pickled pepper) and cilantro. It's served with flat potato fries on the side. You can also get crispy chicken tenders ($12) with a choice of one side, or snack on the 8 piece chicken wings ($12).

click to enlarge
Double your pleasure, double your sammiches.
Photo by Christopher Frydenlund
Mico's Hot Chicken
2829 Chimney Rock

This chicken shack on wheels has been open barely a month, but it's getting a lot of buzz on social media because of its Nashville hot chicken. The menu is limited, for now, to three items. Those three items, however, are all you need. The Sammich ($8.99) is a humongous, spicy fried chicken breast on a toasted bun, topped with housemade coleslaw and pickles. The food truck also offers a chicken tender basket ($8.99) with two spicy tenders and a side of waffle fries. The tenders are halal and can be substituted for the chicken breast on the Sammich. For a hot and heavy dose of pleasure, try the Animal Fries ($7.99). Mico's tops its waffle fries with chunks of hot chicken tenders, melted cheese and its Mico's sauce. Bye, bye bikini thighs.

click to enlarge
Is it hot enough for ya?
Photo by Shannen Tune

Craft Burger
712 Main

This food truck and Finn Hall vendor just debuted its own Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich ($8). Owner Shannen Tune is a former champ on the Food Network's competition cook-off show, Chopped. Tune's version comes with salad fixings. For those who aren't too keen on Nashville hot while it's Houston hot, there's the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich ($8) made with boneless chicken thigh. There are also great burgers, but it's National Fried Chicken Day. Don't rock the boat.

And if, like me, your Maw Maw always ended a fried chicken dinner with a banana pudding, Craft Burger has a Bananas Foster milkshake that makes a great substitute.

click to enlarge
HTown Hot Chicken will funk you up.
Photo by Lisa Gochman
State Fare
947 Gessner

State Fare has a new chef, Justin Yoakum, and an HTown Hot Fried Chicken ($26) that'll spice up your day of fried chicken devotion. The half chicken is served with skillet cheddar potatoes and cauliflower and is available on the lunch, brunch and dinner menus. There's also the Southern Fried Chicken Thighs ($13) served on its Cathead buttermilk biscuit. You can make it HTown hot for an extra buck or keep it classic. If you go all in for the heat, try State Fare's frozen flight to cool you down. We know your momma said milk is better, but that's no fun.

Give Me Wings To Fry:

1491 Spring Cypress

This Southern eatery comes from the owners of Q-Shi, which moved to FM 2920 this past December, according to Spring Happenings. The new restaurant is housed in Q-Shi's former spot. Chefs Ray Aker and Jonathan Branch are serving up comfort soul food and folks are really digging the Creole Fried Chicken and Waffle ($12.50). Diners can choose either the bread pudding waffle or the sweet potato waffle as the base. We're putting our money on the bread pudding waffle and so should you. Then, it's topped with a couple of fried chicken wings and served with a bourbon butter and bourbon maple syrup. This tasty breakfast dish is served Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. At lunch, there's the Southern Fried Chicken Wings ($11.95) served with two sides such as collard greens, mashed potatoes and mac 'n cheese.

Circle the wings!
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
The Breakfast Klub
3711 Travis

This Houston breakfast favorite has lines out the door for a reason. However, the staff keep that line moving and according to its website, " It's not a line, it's fellowship!" So do as they do in church and turn to your neighbor and shake hands. You are all on the same journey: to dive into some wings and grits. Or wings and a fluffy Belgian waffle. That's not the easiest decision to make on a Saturday morning, so you may have to order the 6 piece wings and waffle and get some grits on the side. The wings aren't the only popular item on the menu. The Katfish and Grits also ranks up there as one of the restaurant's best dishes. However, National Catfish Day was June 25. However, we won't tell if someone in your party orders the Katfish. They just have to be willing to give everyone a little sample.

On National Fried Chicken Day, July 6, The Breakfast Klub is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Fried Chicken Around the World:

click to enlarge
Ambrosia's Karaage Orange Chicken
Photo by Dragana Harris
2003 Lexington

For fried chicken done differently, Ambrosia has Karaage a l'Orange ($12). It's a dish of skinless, fried chicken thighs with orange curry, frizzled basil and citrus sauce. The restaurant is open daily for dinner only.

23501 Cinco Ranch

Go Japanese/ Hawaiian with Tobiuo's chicken katsu. The thin, panko fried cutlet is served with house tonkatsu sauce and a crunchy house salad for $12. They also have $8 chicken katsu bento boxes for little nippers.

I like my wings how I like my men-sweet and spicy.
Photo by Phaedra Cook
1302 Blalock

Located in the Super H Mart, ToreOre serves up some of the best Korean fried chicken in Houston. Diners can order chicken pieces, boneless thighs or wings. There are a variety of flavors to choose from, but garlic plus and hot and spicy are the crowd favorites. There's also boneless gang jung with rice for something different.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.