I'm very familiar with fried food having lived in the south my whole life, but I didn't realize that any meal could be fried until I lived in Mississippi for 7 years. Having been released from my sentence... I mean, since moving to the Triangle area I've had the joy of trying many a fried chicken place and wanted to share my opinions and thoughts on the only fried food I allow myself to eat anymore. I'd make a horrible Mississippian, thankfully.
TRADITIONAL FRIED CHICKEN
Sadly, when I was a kid I primarily only ate fried chicken out of a bucket with a picture of a goateed "colonel" on it. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't half bad back then and was apparently excellent when cooked by Sanders himself (see biography). It wasn't until I got older till I started to appreciate this culinary masterpiece and fully understand what separates average fried chicken from great fried chicken. In recent years, I've gone as far as to try to recreate Sanders' recipe as best I could and ended up with a recipe I call my own.
Traditional fried chicken has to have that crispness to it that allows some meat to come with the skin and just the right amount of moistness and seasoning that brings it all together.
Before we get into local chicken joints we need to set some qualification first. No, Bojangles and other chains don't count. They're not exclusive to the triangle. Can they come with waffles? Sure, but I'm deducting points for honey on the chicken. Don't get me wrong I like it, but were talking about traditional fried chicken and bees make honey, not chicken. Alright, let's take a look at some area triangle fried chicken joints that stick out.
BEASLEY'S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES (#4)
First place in Raleigh at which I ordered fried chicken was Beasley's chicken and waffles on Wilmington Street. Also the first time I realized chicken goes well with waffles. Since that first bite of the huge offering I've been a fan ever since. Definitely worth a try if you're downtown and want some waffles to go with your chicken.
DAME'S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES (#3)
You have to have a great reputation as a restaurant to get me to wait an hour to be seated. Dame's in Durham has that reputation and lived up to it, for me at least. Dame's doesn't have the biggest pieces of chicken and the place isn't flashy. It's a sit down, here's some great pieces of actual natural chicken, and dig in kind of place. The "drizzle" is outstanding and goes well with both the chicken and the waffles. The hot sauce here is legit as well. Not too spicy, but it lets you know it's there and adds just the right amount of heat to the chicken.
THE MECCA RESTAURANT (#2)
The Mecca has been on Martin street in downtown Raleigh since 1952 and has sneaky good fried chicken. It's quick, but not hurried, big enough to satisfy you, but not too much to have you dragging in court, and it comes out hot and fresh. Probably the crunchiest I've had around here, but it maintains it's moisture very well.
CLYDE COOPERS BBQ (#1)
Yep, it has BBQ in the title and nothing about fried chicken. However, after you get a chance to try their BBQ (which is great in it's own right) and meander down the menu to the fried chicken, you will agree that this is THE BEST fried chicken in the triangle.
There's a lot of great ones that I've mentioned and probably some that I haven't had the pleasure of trying yet, but this place checks all the boxes. Moist? Yup. Perfectly fried? Yup. Seasoned just right? Yup. As an added bonus the decor from their original store, that is now another highrise, has mostly made it over to their Wilmington Street location.
I want to know, which is your favorite? Which ones didn't I mention and look like a moron for not doing so? As this is the internet I expect a lot of comments, but keep it civil.
Rule 12(b)(5) of the NC Rules of Civil Procedure pertains to insufficiency of service of process. Now it has law in it, happy Brooke?