15 Places to Find Boston’s Best Fried Chicken Right Now
From kicked-up classics brined in buttermilk to double-fried Korean-style bites, bird is the word.
Americans are well-acquainted with fried chicken, often served Southern-style, or tenderized with a buttermilk brine and dredged in seasoned flour for a thick and crunchy crust. But despite the history, fried chicken is a universal comfort food, and Boston is full of top-flight versions reflecting a world of styles. From Korean-style double-fried to fiery Nashville hot, here’s where to find the best fried chicken in Boston.
Chef Alex Saenz is often switching up the small plates at this Inman Square wine bar, but thankfully his fried chicken is always there. The extra-crunchy menu staple—which is an homage to the chef’s South Carolina upbringing—gets a kick in the crust from Thai-style bird’s eye chili, and it’s served with a choice of buttermilk ranch or chipotle barbecue.
1071 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge, 617-714-3693, bisqcambridge.com.
Brassica Kitchen & Café
In chef Jeremy Kean’s repertoire since his former Whisk pop-up days, this perfectly juicy fried chicken is now available all day at his standout restaurant. During lunchtime, it’s in sandwich form on house-made brioche, care of co-owner Philip Kruta; and it anchors must-order chicken and waffles during Sunday brunch. It’s available as a half-size or full portion during dinnertime—and while it certainly doesn’t need any more flavor, it’s a great vehicle for the funky, house-fermented hot sauces.
3710 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, 617-477-4519, brassicakitchen.com.
Buttermilk & Bourbon
The name of this place says it all. The menu boasts the full gamut of buttermilk-brined bird, from wings, to boneless thighs, to a bone-in half chicken, with a variety of spice blends and sauces. Try the Nashville-style dry-rub with the savory, tangy, not-to-be-missed white barbecue sauce.
160 Commonwealth Ave., Back Bay, Boston, 617-266-1122, buttermilkbourbon.com.
With its signature light and crispy coating, Korean fried chicken is a top version of the ultimate comfort food. With due reverence to the Boston-area outposts of the international chain Bonchon, we prefer to hit up this small, stellar Allston spot when we crave Korean-style chicken. The tiny, tender wings at Coreanos are brined, double-fried, then tossed in your choice of sauce—try the house-made yum yang sauce for a sweet and spicy take, the sweet-garlic-soy for an umami fix, or the pa dak (sweet mustard) for an a tangy kick. Alternatively, the boneless chicken poppers—sauced up atop a pile of French fries—are fusion comfort food at its finest.
172 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-208-8822, coreanosallston.com.
Though it’s only available one day per month during the popular Super Cluckin’ Sunday event, Cutty’s fried chicken is worth marking on the calendar (and waiting in the inevitable line). Tender chicken breast, buttermilk-brined and thickly breaded in well-seasoned flour, it’s inspired by eminently craveable fast-food fried chicken sandwiches, topped with Hellman’s mayo, shredded iceberg lettuce, Cabot cheddar, and thinly sliced raw onion. It’s classic for a reason.
284 Washington St, Brookline Village, 617-505-1844, cuttyfoods.com.
Fried chicken, every night: It’s what the people want, so it’s what chef-owner Mark Romano gave them when he took over the famed East Coast Grill and opened Highland Fried in 2017. Since the aughties, his Somerville staple Highland Kitchen (150 Highland Ave.) has made Mondays more bearable with a fried chicken special, which is still on weekly up the hill. But you can also head to Highland Fried any time for the same recipe: Dark and white meat pieces, soaked in salt water for 24 hours before a subsequent buttermilk brine, dredged in secret spices and pressure-fried to order. Pick your favorite pieces, or go for the whole bird.
1271 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge, 617-714-4662, highlandfried.com.
Hot Chix Boston
Someday soon, Boston will have a quick-service stop for hefty hot chicken sandwiches, loaded with pickles, ranch, and slaw to cut the spice of their craggy Nashville-style coating. Local restaurant vets Alex Nystedt, William Yoo, and Alex Kim intend to open a Hot Chix brick-and-mortar around Boston, but in the meantime, they’re a prolific pop-up with frequent events at breweries, restaurants, and festivals in the area.
Lily P’s Fried Chicken and Oysters
Many years into his career, well-known seafood chef Chris Parsons decided to take on fried chicken “because of what it represents to people,” he told Boston. It’s approachable, and pleasurable—and as a chef with decades of experience, he could perfect it. Parsons’ pressure-frying method yields “luxury” fried chicken, as the menu reads: crisp and juicy, whether served classic, hot, or tossed in black pepper-honey. A Cambridge flagship location has a raw bar and billiards, while Parsons is also working on an outpost at the forthcoming North Station-side food hall, Hub Hall.
50 Binney St., Kendall Square, Cambridge, lilypschicken.com.
At the fun-loving izakaya from the O Ya team, the fried chicken at Hojoko is in the Japanese karaage-style. Marinated with ginger, soy, and garlic before frying, then sprinkled with togarashi spices, the boneless strips hit the basket full of flavor, making it requisite during any late-night visit to the Fenway-side bar. At the nearby Time Out Market offshoot, Ms. Cluck’s Deluxe (401 Park Dr., Boston), karaage-style chicken goes for a dip in chili-spiked schmaltz for the Cajun chicken sandwich; or it’s drizzled in spicy miso maple syrup atop a tower of waffle fries.
1271 Boylston St., Fenway/Kenmore, Boston, 617-670-0507, hojokoboston.com.
Next Step Soul Food Cafe
In 2016, home cook-turned caterer Michelle White and her family opened Codman Square’s first sit-down restaurant, and now it embodies their hospitality, from the friendly service to the generous portions. The fried chicken is a favorite, with light seasoning and an exterior so crisp and fresh, it’s like you’re sitting down to Sunday dinner at home.
657 Washington St., Codman Square, Dorchester, 617-514-6456, Facebook.
At the latest from the team behind Moody’s Delicatessen, fans of the fry are satisfied with plenty of options—even before perusing the lineup of house-made sauces. There are juicy boneless tenders, plus dark- or white-meat plates, all with a thick and savory crust. The coating stands up to the toppings of the sloppy-good fried chicken sandwich, too—including not only pimento cheese and bread-and-butter pickles, but also herbed coleslaw, honey butter, and hot sauce.
456 Moody St., Waltham, polloclubwaltham.com.
The rotisserie gets ample use at Kendall Square’s fowl-fueled all-day café, as it to be expected at the second effort from the Branch Line team. But don’t sleep on the buttermilk fried chicken—even at breakfast time. Craggy and well-seasoned with spices like coriander and paprika, it’s a morning meal as a scrambled egg-sandwich, drizzled in hot honey on a Portuguese muffin. Once it’s socially acceptable to order an alcoholic along with it (the full bar opens at 10 a.m.), fried chicken is served with the appropriately named Southern classic, “comeback sauce”—and it certainly pairs well with cold glass of brut.
1 Broadway, Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-714-4200, shybird.com.
The fried chicken at this dive-ish bar is a legacy of the owners’ late, great, Southern joint, Hungry Mother, though they’ve since updated their brining recipe to use Mamaleh’s pickle juice from their next-door deli, instead of buttermilk. Try it Nashville hot-style, finished with a truly fiery paste made of lard, ghost chilis, cayenne, a touch of sugar, and select other spices; or opt for the house original, served with a side of Tabasco-spiked honey.
One Kendall Sq., Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-848-4355, statepark.is
Sweet Cheeks Q
As one of Boston’s best smokehouses, star chef Tiffani Faison’s first Fenway restaurant is known for prime beef brisket, pulled pork, and gigantic, honey-buttery biscuits. But buttermilk fried chicken has been a day-one standout, thanks to its perfectly crispy crust and juicy interior. Try it drizzled with hot honey, or tossed with a “hot shake” of spices—just keep a fresh biscuit handy to help cut the richness.
1381 Boylston St., Fenway/Kenmore, Boston, 617-266-1300, sweetcheeksq.com.
At this Lowcountry oasis in Jamaica Plain, the fried chicken is tender and totally gluten-free, thanks to GF flour and a contamination-free fryer. It has a nice crunch and seasoning, and is amped up with a selection of house-made sauces, including a vinegar-tangy Carolina-style barbecue.
365 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 857-203-9462, thefrogmore.com.