The Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in the Bay Area
From Nashville hots to Michelin-starred (or thereabouts)
Fried chicken sandwiches are having their moment in the spotlight, from the marketing magnet at Popeyes to approximately 30 million artisanal reinterpretations of the Nashville hot. Here in the Bay Area, we have all that and more, up to and including a $27 fried chicken sando with summer peppers, house pickles and Tuscan kale.
From luxe (like at Maybeck’s, the one mentioned above) to cheap ($9, at SF Chickenbox), these are the best fried chicken sandwiches in town. Take special note of the newest option on the list (that’d be Flybird) and keep an eye out for the upcoming brick-and-mortar from pop-up sensation Hotbird, which promises that it’s working on a deal to set up in Oakland now.
Don’t worry about that limited menu — limited, that is, to fried chicken sandos, wings and the “bird salad,” plus two styles of fries (curly or fully loaded). You want option #1, served with your choice of spicy (or not) berbere spice mix, celery, pickes, house-made apple slaw and bun.
115 New Montgomery St., (map)
The newest chicken shop in town earns out its aviation theme with menu options are inspired by far-flung destinations — take the “Mexico City,” which pairs Springer Mountain Farms fried chicken with avocado, pickled relish, cotija cheese and chipotle aioli. If you want to pass on that Boudin roll, there’s also a range of Little Gem-centric salads with sliced fried chicken.
35 Kearny St., (map)
The Marina restaurant famous for its Wednesday night beef Wellington has a sideline in the high-end revamp of low-end menu items, like a frankly five-star hot dog. Buyer beware: the fried chicken sandwich here is $27, but it’s delicious, topped with grilled Tuscan kale and summer peppers, plus house pickles and malt vinegar mayonnaise.
3213 Scott St., (map)
WesBurger ‘n’ More
You may prefer Wes Rowe’s Nashville hot, served with garlic mayo, lettuce and pickles. You, however, might be wrong, as the clearly delectable choice would be the original, officially known as the Southern Style Fried Chicken, with buttermilk batter, spicy aioli and pickle slaw.
2240 Mission St., (map)
You only get a three-hour window five times a week for one of Alison Barakat’s fried chicken sandwiches, so plan accordingly (it’s not uncommon to see people waiting 15 minutes before opening time at 11 a.m.). Nothing fancy happening here: just buttermilk-fried chicken done perfectly, plus a jalapeno slaw. Grab a slice o’ pie (or the banana bread, if there’s any left).
5098 Telegraph Ave., Oakland (map)
When you want your fried chicken sandwich with a Michelin-star pedigree, come to Hawking Bird, the brainchild of award-winning chef James Syhabout. (That’s his Michelin-starred Commis just next door.) The fried Hawking Bird sandwich comes with mayo, charred chili jam and a cabbage slaw with chilis, mint and cilantro.
4901 Telegraph Ave., Oakland (map)
Undoubtedly the superior fried chicken sandwich available at a sports bar (Trademark), the fried chicken here comes with fried breast meat, shredded lettuce and “special sauce.” Don’t be fooled by the $9 price — this chicken comes courtesy of chef Christian Ciscle, once the opening chef at the dearly departed Farmerbrown.
At Trademark, 1123 Folsom St. (map)
World Famous Hotboys
World Famous Hotboys should be opening doors at its new, permanent location in Oakland any day now — until then, sample their take on the Nashville hot at its Tuesday-Friday lunch pop-up at local incubator Forage Kitchen. At Forage Kitchen, 478 25th St., Oakland (map)