LAReview

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Willie Mae's image
8.2

Willie Mae's

Southern

Venice

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerWalk-InsLiterally Everyone
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Located on a busy stretch of Lincoln Boulevard, Willie Mae's is the Venice offshoot of a true New Orleans classic. The original Willie Mae's Scotch House is famous for its incredible fried chicken, and the long lines of people waiting hours in the Louisiana heat to taste it. Their West Coast location, however, is a different experience. It's a fairly barebones, fast-casual spot where you order at the counter and grab a table. But what the space lacks in decades-old charm, it makes up for in deliciousness and convenience: In roughly 20 minutes, you can get your hands on some of LA's—if not the country's—best fried chicken.

Willie Mae's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Willie Mae's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Willie Mae's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Willie Mae's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Willie Mae's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Willie Mae's image
Willie Mae's image
Willie Mae's image
Willie Mae's image
Willie Mae's image

We appreciate that Willie Mae's takes pre-orders for pick-up or delivery (with detailed instructions on reheating their chicken at home for optimal juiciness), but we'd still recommend dining in, if only because the chicken arrives at its peak, hot and fresh. The chicken here comes fried or baked, and can be ordered either a la carte or as a plate with sides. Mostly though, you're better off focusing on the chicken. The red beans, mashed potatoes, and gumbo are just fine, but tend to arrive a bit lukewarm and underseasoned. The best move is their half-chicken order: four pieces of tender dark meat chicken, one side, and a piece of buttery cornbread that glistens your fingers. Save room for the boozy bread pudding dessert, too.

If eating world-class fried chicken is on your to-do list, then Willie Mae's is undoubtedly worth a trip. But even if you're not the kind of person with a dancing drumstick tattooed on their body, this comfort food operation is a fantastic option for a hearty (and relatively affordable meal) on the Westside.

Food Rundown

Willie Mae's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Fried Chicken

This beautiful fried chicken would do numbers on an ASMR video. The thin, flaky crust crackles loudly when you take a bite. The meat is extremely juicy, with a subtle heat from the brine. It's hearty and filling, yet somehow light, because the dredging isn't plastered on like a layer of stucco. No notes here, please consume as much of this fried chicken as you can.

Willie Mae's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Baked Chicken

Gluten-free friends can also get in on the chicken party: this crust-less version remains super juicy from its brine, which adds a peppery kick and a rosemary flavor that you don't often find in fried chicken.

Willie Mae's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Cornbread

If we were to pick one side to pair with our chicken, it'd be the cornbread. It's crumbly (but not dry) and brushed with a shiny layer of butter that coats your lips like Burt's Bees.

Willie Mae's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Sides

Look, you're coming here for chicken. The rest is optional. The mac and cheese, gumbo, and red beans could use a touch more seasoning, and the candied yams are so sweet, we'd order them for dessert if the bread pudding didn't exist. The potato wedges and the mashed potatoes with gravy are tasty, but also take precious stomach space away from the main attraction.

Willie Mae's image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Bread Pudding

One word: rum. We love the big boozy slap of this dessert, but it might not be for everyone. The pudding's custard makes it luscious and it arrives from the kitchen piping hot, so let it cool before digging in.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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