Gus’s Famous Fried Chicken – This branch of the famed Memphis fried chicken spot on Washington Avenue consistently serves the best fried chicken in Houston, and for a comparative song. From Stax? Using “never frozen, natural, hormone-free chicken,” which are smaller birds than is typical seems to make a big difference. The savory skin cooked to a beautiful brown stays affixed to the meat readily and with a touch of spice, each bite is delicious. Available in a variety of ways: two and three pieces, single, white or dark, individual pieces, too. All arrive to the table quickly, and with the comparatively low prices, this is a very useful chicken shack. Washington Corridor
The Best of Rest
Relish – This comfy and slick comfort food spot on Westheimer near Kirby seems to be overlooked many dining hounds, which is a shame. Among its charms is its rendition of fried chicken, delectable, and properly moist under the skin. For $24, you also get some complementary hot honey, a side bacon-spiked braised collard greens, and a fresh rosemary biscuit. River Oaks
Gatlin’s Fish & Feathers – Driving west on Crosstimbers, you pass a couple of other, lesser options for fried chicken in the space of a half-mile, before arriving to this homey, friendly space, a sibling to the acclaimed Gatlin’s barbecue joint not too far away. Fried to order and featuring a thicker batter than most, three pieces that might be two drumsticks and a large thigh, all with moist and a fairly tasty skin. Near North Side
La Lucha – Fried chicken makes sense at this eclectic, relaxed spot off busy Durham. The dark breading belies a moist, even juicy interior of perfectly cooked chicken and that tasty exterior makes for an enjoyable indulgence that is less greasy than most. Served with biscuits, pickles, a honey sambal and jam. You can order a half or whole bird, the latter setting you back $44 these days, which is about the market rate for most any other fried bird found outside of a bucket. Heights
Lucille’s – It’s Yardbird on the menu at this highly enjoyable Southern gem blocks from Hermann Park. For $22 you’ll get a brined and “Slow-Fried Chicken,” moist and flavorful with two pieces of your choice of either white or dark meat and served with sides of mashed potatoes setting below collard greens. With a honey spiced gravy atop – which is not so spicy, just flavorful – the chicken that’s been cooked in batches, at least during the lunch rush, is tender and tasty without being more greasy than necessary. Museum District
Harold’s in the Heights – It’s KG's Double Brined Fried Chicken on the menu. Buttermilk gets a turn here resulting in a golden brown exterior and generally well-cooked throughout the three pieces for an order: drumstick, thigh, and a too-large breast. Served with a very bland mac and cheese, served with piquant braised greens from the area Atkinson Farms, it makes for a hearty meal. Heights
Worth an Order
Frenchy’s – Though the original location next to Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and very near the University of Houston campus, which had some scruffy charm, has shuttered, there are now more locations than ever to enjoy the Houston’s landmark for fried chicken. It’s spicy and cooked in batches, sometimes it’s not really fast food here. Some spots are more consistent than others.
Popeye’s – Though inconsistent and varying by location, I’ve got to be honest, Popeye’s serves some of the most enjoyable fried chicken in Houston, the smaller chickens are part of the key, with crunchy skin and meat part complementing each other in nearly every bite. It’s the best value, too. Various
Al Aseel – A sprinkle of Middle Eastern spices sets this enjoyable, crispy version apart, along with a whole fried chicken is just $16.59, half only $10.99 and coming with sides of long-grain rice and a fatoush salad. Alief
An order at Gus's earlier this year.