When it comes to fried chicken we immediately think southern comfort food—maybe with a side of collard greens, cornbread, creamy mac and cheese, or even fried okra. If you dig deeper you’ll find out that fried chicken was brought to Southern America by the Scots, whereas, the English were known to bake or boil their white meat—the batter and spicing on fried chicken we can thank Western Africans for.
In celebration of National Fried Chicken Day, we’ve compiled a list of 5 must-try fried chicken dishes in Denver—some taking a more creative route on the classic southern fare.
Neighborhood: Prospect Park
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot may only be a little over a year in, but they are no stranger to cooking up some quality, elevated comfort food. Their Foxtrot Fried Chicken is the perfect plate of sweet and spicy—two thoughtfully battered and spiced, crunchy on-the-outside juicy on-the-inside thighs topped with black sesame seeds, sea salt, and a drizzle of honey sriracha sauce with a side of bread and butter pickles that eat more like candy, leaving you wishing there were more. 2907 Huron St., 303-226-1540
Neighborhood: City Park & the Highlands
Fried chicken has undeniably made its presence on the breakfast menu known with classics like chicken and waffles or fried chicken, biscuits, and gravy. But you haven’t had fried chicken for breakfast until you’ve stopped into Denver Biscuit Co. for the Franklin—a large, soft and buttery biscuit made in house stuffed with seasoned buttermilk fried chicken, thick and salty tender belly bacon, and sharp cheddar cheese all smothered in sausage or vegetarian mushroom gravy. We recommend adding a runny egg on top for a little extra indulgent richness. 3237 E. Colfax & 4275 Tennyson St., 303-377-7900
Neighborhood: City Park
After being featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” with Guy Fieri for their smothered rabbit and chitlings, it’s no surprise that CoraFaye’s Cafe’s age old recipe—passed down through four generations—is one of Denver’s fried chicken must-tries. We recommend trying their two piece chicken meal or opting for the jumbo breast with two sides. The chicken was lightly battered and seasoned to perfection and the portion was just big enough for leftovers or an afternoon snack. Pair your breast with tangy collard greens and a creamy mashed potato smothered in a chicken gravy, all with a side of homemade cornbread. 2861 Colorado Blvd., 303-333-5551
Lou’s Food Bar has long been known to serve up some of the best comfort foods in the Mile High. Dating back to the 50’s when Lou’s had a drive through menu solely based around serving up hot, juicy burgers meant to be enjoyed in the comfort of your vehicle. Nowadays, Lou still values that same comfort—not so much in a car—but now serving up one of Denver’s favorite fried chicken recipes with a Tennessee kick. Head there on Tuesday evening for their special on half a crispy, juicy, battered buttermilk fried chicken, two sides—we recommend their ooey-gooey mac & cheese and tangy braised kale—served over a thick slice of bread, an ice cold pint, and to finish it all off, they serve you a decadent peanut butter chocolate “cookie bar”. 1851 W. 38th Ave., 303-458-0336
Neighborhood: Capital Hill
For our vegan and gluten free friends, City O’ City’s impressive take on the brunch time favorite, chicken and waffles, is recommended even for the more carnivorous individuals. Thick and surprisingly fluffy gluten free waffles with a syrupy-sweet bourbon brined are paired with perfectly seasoned and chicken-fried cauliflower drizzled with maple bourbon syrup and a side of savory chive creme fraiche and crisp carrot “bacon”. You may lean towards being a breakfast meat adoring individual but if you haven’t had this take on chicken and waffles, we promise you’ll regret it. You may even find yourself trading out your extra side of bacon for this vegan morning treat. 206 E. 13th Ave., 303-831-6443
—Embedded photos by Lucy Beaugard