ATLGuide

The J.R. Crickets Power Rankings

When you're craving some lemon pepper wets, here's our rankings for the best J.R. Crickets locations to get them.
The J.R. Crickets Power Rankings image

photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker

There’s a hilarious scene in the second episode of Atlanta’s first season that takes place in a J.R. Crickets. The iconic wing stop has conjured so much lemon pepper-speckled magic in those lil’ white boxes over the years that we have no choice but to honor it through art and commerce. There are 16 metro Crickets locations, but we’re centering this conversation around the nine closest to town. Some were a complete mess. Others were actually pretty cool. A few even had menu options and experiences that the rest didn't. But each of them holds at least a small part that’s fried hard in our hearts.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker

J.R. Crickets Smyrna image

#1

J.R. Crickets Smyrna

During the day, J.R. Crickets in Smyrna is pretty much dead aside from the occasional day drinker and some delivery drivers. But at night and during big games, the spacious neighborhood bar (with an equally spacious patio) fills with sports fans and people just looking for a reason to get out of the house. And if you drive by on a warm Wednesday evening, you'll see the parking lot swarmed with folks in lawn chairs, licking ribs clean, and listening to a live band performing for their summer concert series. Though it’s in the burbs, we like this family-friendly location when you’ve got a multigen crew with a collective craving.

photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker

J.R. Crickets Cascade image

#2

J.R. Crickets Cascade

With a fresh coat of paint and plenty of free parking, the renovated Cascade Crickets is doing everything it can to get our attention. After just a few bites of a steak philly oozing with white American cheese and onions, consider our attention gotten. Hell, if they continue pairing grilled whiting and shrimp with sides you wouldn’t typically associate with Crickets (see: fried mushrooms, broccoli, and corn on the cob), you may even catch us at a table for Saturday karaoke.

photo credit: Tabia Lisenbee-Parker

J.R. Crickets Briarcliff image

#3

J.R. Crickets Briarcliff

The tiny J.R. Crickets off Briarcliff isn’t as flashy as its cousins, but we still like it. Mainly because there’s a parking lot so we never have to drive around battling fellow wing lovers to snag the last parallel spot on some congested street. It would definitely feel claustrophobic here if it was packed with fans for a game. But on a quiet night when no ATL teams are playing, it makes for a reliable spot to chill out with our fellow lemon-pepper-wet-loving friends. There are only six TVs, but the place is so small that sliding into any seat still provides a solid view of a screen. But the real reason this Crickets can flex on its rivals is their funnel cakes, served with so much powdered sugar they look like a ski slope.

J.R. Crickets MLK Westside image

#4

J.R. Crickets MLK Westside

The parking on MLK between Lowery and Paschal boulevards is so scarce we had to circle the block to find a spot near this Crickets. Once we got in, though, we found a downstairs dining room with a wall of seating, an open-air patio upstairs, and a kitchen doing all kinds of wondrous things with a deep fryer. This won’t be your game-day spot (iPad-sized TVs ain’t cuttin’ it), but if you happen upon a parking spot, the fried fish, Dirty Bird wings, and red velvet slices from Scratch Batch Cakes make for a decent meal every other day.

photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker

Bar Food

Midtown

$$$$Perfect For:Day DrinkingSports!

The OG J.R. Crickets on North Ave. in Midtown is like that one cousin you have—hella loud and a little unkempt, but you two always have a good time. Though some of our starch-collared friends have wanted no part of the place for the past decade, we still love the taste of a good 10-piece Dirty Bird (a wild mix of mild, barbecue, and lemon pepper sauces) and fries after a long, hard night of celebrating. Plus, this location stays open the latest, keeping the party going until 2am when you can't imagine sleep without a couple of fried-hard flats.

We wouldn’t classify any of the J.R. Crickets locations as flashy establishments, and the College Park location is certainly no exception. Well, aside from the massive throne at the entrance begging you to take a seat for a quick social media flex. In addition to a weekday biker night featuring a DJ and drink specials, it has two other major pluses going for it—an outdoor patio and waffles. When the brunch bunch gets tired of the wait at the popular breakfast spots that line the block further down Main Street, throw a curveball and bring them here for chicken and or shrimp waffles.

J.R. Crickets State Farm Arena image

#7

J.R. Crickets State Farm Arena

The J.R. Crickets at State Farm Arena has a tiny menu featuring just a few wing flavors (calm down, lemon pepper made the cut), a footlong hot dog, and a few other items. But honestly, who cares about limited options when we have the Hawks live and in person just around the corner? We’ll gladly devour our wings while watching Trae drain buckets from behind the arc. If the Hawks happen to win, then it’s a total slam dunk.

photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker

J.R. Crickets Riverdale image

#8

J.R. Crickets Riverdale

Sitting next to a club in the far corner of a Wayfield’s parking lot, the J.R. Crickets in Riverdale welcomes you in the late evenings with a loving embrace via a leisurely security pat-down and the aroma of hookah. This location hosts several weekly events like paint and sips and karaoke-turned-DJ’d hiphop sets played at club-level volume. Even if it’s for a room of two whole guests, the security/doorman/hypeman will grab the mic and perform DJ Drama-style ad-libs over the music. With their signature wings and the tasty buffalo shrimp on the table, Jagged Edge’s “Where the Party At” is no less appealing in a thin crowd, but then eliciting that crowd to engage in the call-and-response part might veer into embarrassing.

photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker

J.R. Crickets Downtown image

#9

J.R. Crickets Downtown

Between a few GSU campus buildings, the downtown location has a very narrow space packed with students, nearby capital county/city employees, and a few Door Dash drivers in pajamas who brazenly double park outside (maybe they’re delivering to the traffic and collections court just a couple blocks away). It’s mostly a to-go spot, unless you enjoy eating with hungry people hovering over you. There are a few counter seats along the wall, but since most of that counter is filled with stacked to-go boxes, the message seems to be get your wings and f*ck off. Yet to their credit, orders are out the kitchen fast (just not avoid-a-parking-ticket fast). 

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