A simple story about a food festival grows to epic proportions when it kicks off the search for some of the city's best fried chicken.
- story by Ellis Anderson
photos by Ellis Anderson unless otherwise attributed
So was born the idea of the grand New Orleans Fried Chicken Pilgrimage.
We planned to use a short festival overview as a lead-in to a few classic restaurants that served fried chicken. Since it’d be easy to go overboard in a city where fabulous eateries abound, we’d limit ourselves.
Four, we swore. No more!
But once word got around to friends, ideas for Can’t-Miss fried chicken experiences started arriving by text and Messenger.
How could I possibly write a piece about fried chicken without including Chef Carl’s at the Roosevelt’s Fountain Lounge? And what? I had never heard about the secret Chicken Bon Femme at Tujague’s - not on the menu, but served to those in the know? I wasn’t going to leave off Elizabeth’s in the Bywater, was I? What about the Original Fiorella’s in Gentilly?
And so, the project grew. As did my waistline over the course of the intensive research.
What follows is a quick overview of the very excellent - and free - festival, along with our take on eight different restaurants who serve up superlative fried chicken.
If you’re really ambitious, you can head into New Orleans, hit one restaurant for lunch and another for dinner. Or, you may want to spread them out over the course of many months so your cardiologist doesn’t throw a hissy fit.
Of course, many restaurants on the Mississippi coast serve amazing fried chicken. But the pilgrimage gives readers another excuse to head into the city for a day trip, sample some cosmopolitan offerings along with the poultry, then drive home to the more peaceful coastal lifestyle. You'll feel full and satisfied and maybe even a little bit smug at having the best of both worlds.
The Fried Chicken Festival