From Nashville hot chicken on Texas toast to tender, buttermilk-marinated whole birds!
Eater Twin CIties: The Twin Cities’ burgeoning fried chicken scene gets better by the minute (looking at you, Official Fried Chicken). This feature highlights restaurants serving a variety of fried chicken dinners, from buckets to half-birds to baskets of juicy tenders. (Check out a dedicated map of great local fried chicken sandwiches here.) From pickle-brined thighs to Korean fried whole bird encrusted with gold leaf, here are 11 fantastic fried chicken meals to try around Minneapolis and St. Paul.
First Draft + Burnt Chicken
Burnt Chicken is perhaps best known for its fried chicken sandwich, but it serves some mean fried chicken tenders as well: They come plump and juicy, and the breading crackles beautifully. Order some with the thick-cut Bawk Bawk fries and grab a craft beer from First Draft’s massive self-pour kiosk.
This south Minneapolis fried chicken phenomenon first opened on Nicollet Avenue in 2015, and hasn’t lost its sheen since. Revival chicken comes buttermilk-marinated and super juicy. Spice lovers opt for the Tennessee hot sauce chicken or the bombastically hot “Poultrygeist.”
Grab a fistful of napkins before digging into the crispy, thoughtfully seasoned fried chicken from Mama Sheila’s soul food buffet. The soundtrack at Mama Sheila’s is noteworthy too — there’s always soul music playing, and the restaurant’s interior is decorated with portraits of Prince and other Black musicians.
The tangy secret of Bull’s Horn’s fried chicken lies in its pickle brine, which tenderizes the meat and gives this dish a salty, sweet distinction. Fans may remember this fried chicken from summer Friday specials at sister restaurant Sandcastle on Lake Nokomis — it has since landed a spot on the menu at Bull’s Horn.
One of the newest players to join the Twin Cities’ fried chicken scene, Official Fried Chicken serves great broasted chicken at the tail end of Minnehaha Avenue. This isn’t a sit-down restaurant — diners walk through the entrance, choose between original, barbecue, and buffalo chicken (all dry-rub), and pick up a box of chicken and fries in a locker that’s built into the wall.
Nashville Coop specializes in Nashville-style hot chicken, served in strips, sandwich, or Texas toast form. Heat is densely packed into this chicken’s breading, but the level of spice is customizable: The MN Nice chicken accommodates those with a low capsaicin tolerance while the Cluckin’ Hot guarantees “24 hour pain.”
In addition to its bibimbap and fried chicken bowls, Bap and Chicken serves a whole menu of Korean fried chicken dinners. Get an eight-piece order of the jumbo drummies to share, the “KFC” boneless thighs, or a whole fried chicken. Add “Gangnam Style” onto the order and get chicken adorned with gold leaf.
Taste of Rondo, which serves a soul food menu based on old family recipes, pays homage to the Rondo neighborhood, the historic heart of St. Paul’s Black community. Try the Southern fried chicken dinner, served with sides like mac and cheese and the restaurant’s much-acclaimed smoked gouda grits. Save room for peach cobbler with spiced cream.
Slide into one of the very limited seats inside this tiny spot on Randolph near 35E for an excellent broasted chicken dinner. Tuck into that seasoned, salty crust with juicy meat hidden just beneath. If you’re planning a summer gathering, Rooster’s also runs a catering business on the side.
This national chicken chain flies a little under the radar, but Pollo Campero has a devoted local following at its only Twin Cities outpost on Robert Street. Broasted and battered, this chicken’s soft heat blooms with each successive bite. Take home a whole family meal with sides like corn salad and mashed potatoes.
This neighborhood spot knows how to use a fryer: They’ve been in business for more than 50 years. The Coop’s chicken has that crispy, craggy skin that’s the hallmark of great fried chicken. Grab some barbecue ribs (or mini doughnuts) to take home.