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Post Chicken and Beer. All photos by Aaron Colussi

Denver’s Best Fried Chicken

Fried chicken may appear on many a Denver menu these days, but not all versions are created equal—or alike. We found four styles that are perfect, all in their own ways.

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HOT CHICKEN
At the Post Chicken and Beer, chef Brett Smith pays homage to Nashville-style hot chicken by slathering fried bone-in pieces with a mix of house-made habanero hot sauce, pork and chicken fats, and cider vinegar. The result is a tangy, spicy coating that delivers an oh-so-pleasant tingle. Smith’s inspiration came from Nashville’s OG: Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, where the dish was created in the mid-1930s. Multiple locations.

Soul-Kitchen
Soul Kitchen.

CLASSIC SOUTHERN 
Southern fried chicken is always a favorite—for good reason. The coating is crunchy and savory, often spiced with salt, black pepper, and cayenne. At five-year-old Soul Kitchen in Aurora (formerly Kirk’s Soul Kitchen), owner Jay Berry showcases a recipe derived from both his Alabama and Louisiana grandmothers’ renditions. It’s a simple preparation in which the bird is dredged in a proprietary seasoned flour mixture before being fried. It yields dark brown, juicy, craggy pieces that are as close to the Dixie ideal as you can get when you’re a mile high. 14107 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 720-474-1996

Corner Ramen.

JAPANESE 
“Kara age” refers to the Japanese technique of deep-frying lightly battered, ginger- and garlic-marinated meat; boneless chicken is a popular variation. Cole’s Corner Ramen owners Shi Bing and Anne Ke offer a heaping plate of the crunchy, bite-size nuggets for just $7. Each morsel will surprise you with its lightness, which allows the delicate aromatics in the marinade to shine through. Squeeze a fresh lemon wedge over the top, then dip the chicken into the accompanying ramekin of spiced mayonnaise. 1629 Bruce Randolph Ave., 303-292-0250

Korean-Chicken
Funny Plus.

KOREAN 
The key to ultra-crisp Korean fried chicken is a second dip into the fryer, which makes the skin crackle when you take a bite. Often, sauces are served on the side or painted on with a light touch so the skin doesn’t get soggy. Look no further for this style than Aurora’s lively bar-restaurant Funny Plus. We suggest going with friends and ordering your chicken— it’ll feed a crowd—with the sweet and spicy soy-ginger-garlic sauce on the side. Then sit back, munch, and relish the festive beer-hall vibe. Shoppes at Parker, 2779 S. Parker Road, Aurora, 303-745-3477


One-Off Wonders

Three fabulous fried chicken specials.

Work & Class
Sunday nights

About a year ago, chef-owner Dana Rodriguez created a stellar chickpea-flour-coated, gluten-free fried chicken special to bring in more business during football games. It’s not easy to tear Broncos fans from their TVs, but her plan worked: Diners line up for the $10 trio of pieces, which usually sell out by 7 p.m. 2500 Larimer St., 303-292-0700

Avery Brewing Co.
Monday nights

The process for Avery’s fried birds starts on Thursday night, when chef Chris Blackwood brines the meat. On Sunday morning, he soaks the chicken in buttermilk. Finally, once you’ve got a barrel-aged Ginger Sour ale in hand and placed your order, he dredges the pieces in flour laced with Creole mustard spices and fries them up. It’s a brew-bird combo that makes Monday nights feel like the weekend. 4910 Nautilus Court North, Boulder, 303-440-4324

Cho77
Tuesday nights

Chef Ryan Gorby’s Thai-style fried chicken tacos, inspired by Bangkok street food and Denverites’ love of all things tortilla-wrapped, are a mashup made in deep fried heaven. Gorby layers crackly battered-and-marinated tenders with toppings such as avocado crema and spicy Thai green salsa for a tasty detour from your typical Taco Tuesday routine. 42 S. Broadway, 720-638-8179

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