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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is at 4726 Cortez Rd. W., Bradenton. There’s also a location just over the county line at 6056 North Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota.
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.
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).
▪ Broasted chicken at Der Dutchman, 3713 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota