What’s crispy, crunchy, juicy and finger lickin’ good? Fried chicken, of course. According to the Food Network, the average American eats about 80 pounds of chicken a year. Today is National Fried Chicken Day, so why not celebrate by heading to some of these local favorites for some perfectly fried poultry.
▪ Marathon Gas Station, 2927 Cortez Road, Bradenton, 941-751-5594. You might not think a gas station would be a great place to find fried chicken but they sell a lot of it at the Marathon Gas Station on Cortez. Manager Tarek Yassin didn’t want to share the secret to their popular fried chicken, but then he broke down. “It’s all in the marinade,” he said. And they use a deep-fry pressure cooker to get all that crispy goodness. You can get two pieces and two sides for $6.99.
▪ Miller’s Dutch Kitchen, 3401 14th St. W., Bradenton, 941-746-8253, www.millersdutchkitchen.com. Bradenton’s family-owned Amish restaurant offers fresh fried chicken on its daily buffet. And, please don’t pass up the peanut butter pie. It’s perfection.
▪ Popi’s Place, with locations in Palmetto, Port Manatee, Ellenton, Ruskin, Bradenton, Sarasota and Venice, www.popisplace.com. Popi’s is known for it’s great home-cooked meals. And the fried chicken is made to order (so make sure you are prepared to wait 15 minutes). A four-piece meal is $10.99 for lunch or dinner with a side. They also are known for their fresh-cut chicken tenders served with your choice of sauce. On a side note, they also make a killer country-fried steak smothered in gravy.
▪ Yoder’s Amish Restaurant, 3434 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota. 941-955-7771, yodersrestaurant.com. Yoder’s Famous Fried Chicken IS famous. It’s been featured on the Food Network show “Man vs. Food.” The secret to its success? It’s breaded by hand and pressure fried to lock in all the juices. It’s a little pricy though. A four-piece meal costs between $15.50 (all dark meat) and $17.95 (all white meat).
▪ Made, 1990 Main St., Sarasota, www.maderestaurant.com. The Sarasota restaurant is known for its Double Dipped Fried Chicken. Here’s how it’s described on the menu: Buttermilk and Boyland Sauce Co. brined all natural Freebird Farms birds, hot-n-honey crust, crisp herbs, cheddar cornbread bread pudding, bacon and beer braised collard greens. Wowza.
As far as chains go:
▪ Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, 3390 First St., Bradenton. 941-746-7272, www.popeyes.com. There’s just something about the crispy, slightly spicy coating that makes Popeye’s one of the best chain fried chicken restaurants around. And who isn’t addicted to their red beans and rice. They have a special now featuring nine pieces, two large sides and four biscuits for $21.99.
▪ KFC, several Bradenton locations, www.kfc.com. What more can you say about KFC’s famous 11 herbs and spices? Original? Extra crispy? Nashville Hot? Georgia Gold? Yes, please.
If you don’t feel like dining out, you can’t go wrong with the fried chicken at Publix Grocery Stores. They always have it hot and ready in take-out containers, but you can also call ahead and have it made fresh for you. It takes about 10 minutes or so. www.publix.com.
Did we miss one?