Food & Drink

Squawk about delicious: Locals recommend favorite spots for fried chicken in Manatee County

Manatee Eats!

A diverse variety of foods are available in Manatee County, and everyone has their own ideas about what's best.
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A diverse variety of foods are available in Manatee County, and everyone has their own ideas about what's best.

Fried chicken may just be the most quintessentially Southern staple of the U.S. diet.

The dish’s origins are murky, but, like many American foods, it was likely a fusion of cultures that created the culinary wonder.

Scottish frying technique advanced and perfected by West African spices and preparation methods are often credited for the final result.

Today, the dish is part of the American story, and it continues to be reinterpreted and experimented with in homes and restaurants everywhere.

We asked members of our Facebook group “Manatee Eats” where they go to get fried chicken in Manatee County.

Here’s where they recommend.

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There’s no fried chicken like Publix fried chicken, according to Manatee County locals. Mark Batson Courtesy of Publix

Publix

You probably saw it coming, but, in the realm of fried chicken, Publix reigns supreme.

The Florida-grown grocery store chain has perfected the art of crisping chicken to a golden and tender perfection.

And there are so many ways to enjoy it.

Grab some tenders, chow down on-the-bone or order the famed Publix chicken tender sub (that’s “Pub Sub” for short).

To find your neighborhood Publix, go outside and travel a few blocks in any direction.

Once inside, follow the smell of fried chicken to the deli.

Info: publix.com.

Kathleen Purvis and Sallie Funderburk compare Publix fried chicken to Shell gas station fried chicken in Charlotte, N.C.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Locals also favor fast-food chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for a fried chicken fix.

Popeyes fried chicken is marinated for at least 12 hours and then hand-battered and breaded, Louisiana style.

Order it mild or spicy on the bone; tenders come mild, spicy, blackened or served on a po’boy sandwich.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is at 3390 First St. in Bradenton. Info: popeyes.com.

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A plate of chicken and waffles at Metro Diner, now open in Manatee County. Douglas Johns Courtesy of Metro Diner

Metro Diner

Metro Diner opened a Manatee County location just in time to make this list.

The homey diner chain offers up comfort foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Fried chicken just happens to be a part of all three meals.

Order it served atop a waffle, alongside mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy or on a sandwich with Provel cheese, bacon, honey mustard, lettuce and tomato.

Metro Diner brings breakfast, lunch and dinner to Bradenton. The new restaurant is located in the Pinebrook Commons shopping center at 4726 Cortez Road W.

Metro Diner is at 4726 Cortez Rd. W., Bradenton. There’s also a location just over the county line at 6056 North Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota.

Info: metrodiner.com.

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Crager’s Restaurant

For local fried chicken done right, locals recommend Crager’s Restaurant.

Crager’s is a family-owned business that opened in Manatee County in 1976.

For breakfast, try “The Southerner,” a plate of tender fried chicken smothered in cream gravy and served with two eggs.

For lunch and dinner, order the “Chicken Fried Chicken” sandwich on sourdough bread or the “Southern Fried Chicken” entree.

Crager’s Restaurant is at 7218 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Info: facebook.com/CragersFamilyDiner.

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Krispy Krunchy Chicken serves Cajun-style fried chicken at convenience stores throughout the United States. Courtesy of Krispy Krunchy Chicken

Krispy Krunchy Chicken

Krispy Krunchy Chicken is a franchise fried chicken vendor serving out of convenience stores throughout the U.S.

Grab your fried chicken in the form of a breakfast biscuit, a sandwich, or a heaping platter of legs, wings, thighs and breasts.

Krispy Krunchy Chicken is at 5027 15th St. E. in Bradenton (inside Family Discount Beverages) and 1240 Eighth Ave. W. in Palmetto (inside Indian River Citgo).

Info: krispykrunchy.com.

Other recommendations:

Broasted chicken at Der Dutchman, 3713 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota

Melissa Clark makes crispy fried chicken that is best eaten cold.

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