No-Frills in This Fry: The Best (and Worst) Fried Chicken in Dallas

This is not a fried chicken list for yuppies.EXPAND
This is not a fried chicken list for yuppies.
Jeremy Hallock

At some point, fried chicken went from the everyman's inexpensive indulgence to a high-priced commodity at upscale restaurants. Setting aside the dish's obvious trendiness, we wanted to explore fried chicken that does not cost four times as much as what someone in their right mind would pay. We want deep-fried goodness served at places that tend to be open late, tend to only accept cash and where there is usually a thick sheet of glass that separates you from the person taking your order. These signs are strong reminders that you're about to enjoy some no-frills food — and when it comes to fried chicken, that's all we really want.

Praise be to Rudy’s.EXPAND
Praise be to Rudy’s.
Jeremy Hallock

Rudy’s Chicken
3115 S. Lancaster Road
If you eat fried chicken and haven’t visited Rudy’s, you have a serious hole in your game. It's not unusual for the line of cars to spill into the street and create traffic — some people just activate their emergency lights and abandon their cars in the middle of the road. This chicken comes resting on slices of white bread that soak up all that flavorful grease. If you can get the tenders before they run out, do it — they may be the best in town. But no matter what you order, you're getting a masterful blend of bold spices. A meal comes with a jalapeno, pickles and some mysterious tangy orange sauce that feels addictive. The chicken and fries are both heavily seasoned, but go ahead and ask for extra seasoning. The breading is thin but crispy, putting the focus on the meat. Rudy’s is cash only and it is almost always busy, but you can save a lot of time just by getting out of your car instead of sitting in the drive-through.

Hopefully the dead rat at Chicken House is gone.EXPAND
Hopefully the dead rat at Chicken House is gone.
Jeremy Hallock

Chicken House Plus
909 N. Fitzhugh Ave.
Maybe they should call it Chicken House Minus after they clean up outside. The dead rat with orange teeth in the parking lot was a bit off-putting, but on the up-side, they actually take credit cards at Chicken House. The mashed potatoes and gravy were bland and tasted like whipped potatoes and butter. The fried okra, however, was as good as the high-end version at Pecan Lodge. This is good chicken. The seasoning is slight, but the crust is a perfect shell for the surprisingly tender meat. This fried chicken is not especially greasy, which is great news for your stomach. 

Get a tattoo at Pope’s.EXPAND
Get a tattoo at Pope’s.
Jeremy Hallock

Pope’s Fried Chicken
4502 East Side Ave.
Everything is some sort of combo at Pope’s, which is not run by the Bishop of Rome but it is patronized by some friendly guys who may ask you if you're interested in a tattoo while you dine at one of the cozy tables in front. The coating on the chicken is crunchy and seasoned mildly, but effective. The meat is a little dry, but still good; it breaks right off the bone. The rolls are boring and taste like day-old bread — rescue them with hot sauce or left over gravy. The perfectly-mashed potatoes and gravy game is particularly strong here; go with the rich, dark gravy.  

Williams is the real deal.EXPAND
Williams is the real deal.
Jeremy Hallock

Williams Chicken
Multiple locations
What makes the Williams name so formidable is freshness — everything here tastes like it came off the grill two seconds ago. If you're a chicken tenders person — reluctant to eat your meat off the bone — give this a try. The chicken is a little on the greasy side, but still moist and soft. The seasoning is minimal here. Like a good barbecue place, the focus is on the meat. It’s easy to tear off the bone, and the sweet tea here is candy. Having said that, the crinkle-cut fries are crispy, golden and salty.

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