A great fried chicken sandwich is as delicious and interesting as it is portable and practical. And right now, there are a lot of places in Chicago making them - from classic spots, to virtual restaurants, to brand new walk-up windows. So, we went all over the city to find the very best ones. Here are nine of our favorites that you can get right now.
When Roister opened back in 2016, their chamomile chicken was one of the best plates of food in the entire city. Now, the person responsible for that beautiful creation runs a virtual restaurant that’s operating out of Devil Dawgs in Wicker Park. And we can say that the sandwich from Brochu might be even better than its predecessor. The juicy thigh has a thick, wonderfully crunchy batter, and comes with a delicate chamomile mayo that will feel familiar to anyone who ate the original. It’s topped with shredded lettuce and pickles and has a satisfyingly dense bun that holds up to the filling.
Unlike the super crunchy chicken at Brochu, Ms. T’s version is light, still crispy, and overall a bit more understated. The sandwich is made with two tenders on a hamburger bun and your choice of sauce - and you’re going to want the gold sauce. It’s like a thin mustard honey (in that order, not honey mustard) that’s more tangy than sweet, and a great complement to the lightly-seasoned breading. And if you don’t order a deep-fried, butter-infused biscuit too, we feel sorry for you.
The fantastic Cambodian fried chicken sandwich at Hermosa is a straight-up flavor parade. The thigh is brined with things like lemongrass, garlic, galangal, and turmeric, tossed in fish sauce, and then fried in rice flour. After that, it’s topped with sweet and spicy pickled papaya and put inside a brioche bun. Please go eat this.
In keeping with state law, any restaurant with “fried chicken” in the name must have a fried chicken sandwich on its menu. Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream in Bridgeport is no exception, and their version is delicious. It’s made with a gochujang-battered fried breast and is joined by mayo, lettuce, and pickled onions. Plus, the sandwich comes on one of the fantastic buns from Butter Dough in McKinley Park. The buttery softness of the bread combined with the crunchy chicken is a pretty outstanding combination. Also, this is an absurdly large sandwich.
Fry The Coop started in the suburbs, and unlike your cousin, this is a suburban import we enjoy. Their specialty is Nashville hot chicken and it is seriously hot. There are six heat levels to choose from (ranging from “country” to ’insanity”) and we suggest finding a designated driver if you order anything above “hot.” If you really appreciate and seek out spicy, juicy chicken, you’ll love this sandwich.
Budlong is a local chain that also specializes in Nashville hot chicken, but Budlong’s heat level is much less intense. Our favorite thing about this place is their tangy “comeback sauce,” which is a little like what you’d find on a Big Mac, and we mean that as a compliment. And it comes with coleslaw and thickly-sliced pickles on a toasted brioche bun.
The temptation to focus just on the wings at Bronzeville Wings is (understandably) strong. But what you really need to prioritize here is the sandwich. The tenders have a soft breading that reminds us of Thanksgiving stuffing, and the crunchy coleslaw makes sure there’s great texture in every bite. Order it with their buffalo sauce and sub jalapenos for pickles - trust us.
This South Asian-inspired spot began as a pop-up, moved into a food hall, and now operates out of a virtual kitchen. And the sandwich you want is the THC Sando - it’s a fried, tandoor-spiced chicken thigh topped with a gochujang aioli and their specialty honey. It’s an outstanding combination of sweet and heat, and we can’t stop thinking about it.
What you’ll find here is simple and delicious - like the best version of a school lunch chicken sandwich. And what makes Crazy Bird in West Town really stand out is that everything is perfectly proportioned. The lightly-breaded crispy chicken has the size and shape of a pounded cutlet. It’s still really juicy, but also thin enough to create an enjoyable (and manageable) bread-to-meat bite ratio. It comes with your choice of sauce and we recommend the sriracha mayo.