The Budlong

Chicago’s 6 best fried chicken sandwiches

By Lauren Mandel

If you’re from the South—or if you just appreciate good eats—you likely have very high standards when it comes to a great fried chicken sandwich. The chicken has to be moist but crispy, the toppings should complement the bird, and the spice must be perfectly balanced. And while Chicago may be hundreds of miles away from real Southern hospitality, we do know how to make a solid fried chicken sandwich. Here are six of our favorites.

The Budlong Hot Chicken
Nashville-style fried chicken is taking the rest of the country by storm, and leading the way in Chicago is The Budlong Hot Chicken, with three locations already: Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, and the Loop. The classic hot chicken sandwich (pictured above right), is covered with spicy, tangy Budlong sauce, but farm slaw and pickles help cool down the spice. And while it doesn’t fall into the fried chicken category, a biscuit (or two) is a necessary part of any complete meal at The Budlong.
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park MAP

Bub City
There aren’t many ways to make a great fried chicken sandwich even better, but one of them is to greedily devour said sandwich while listening to live country music. And at Bub City in River North, you can do just that. When you order the fried chicken sandwich, you can choose from original, Buffalo (pictured above left), or Nashville hot flavors. Plus you’ll get coleslaw and chips, all for under $10.
Neighborhood: River NorthMAP and RosemontMAP

Parson’s Chicken & Fish
Parson’s Chicken & Fish is known for a few things. Obviously, they have killer fried chicken sandwiches; the classic option is made with coleslaw, American cheese, hot sauce, aïoli, and pickles. But one of the best parts about Parson’s is that they offer more than just the basic eatery experience. During the summer, you can’t beat their picnic-style patio, and in the winter months, you can ice skate on their rink before or after your meal.
Neighborhood: Logan Square MAP

It’s hard to compete with the Southern-fried classic, but Crisp’s Korean spin on a fried chicken sandwich just might become your new favorite. First, choose your glaze—and if you like sweet and spicy, definitely consider the Korean-American BBQ sauce. The ginger-forward Seoul Sassy glaze might be their most popular, but then there’s the Buffalo sauce, in mild, spicy, or suicide. No matter which you choose, Crisp serves up your perfectly glazed fried chicken sandwich with all the fixings you want on a split-top roll.
Neighborhood: Lakeview MAP

Big Jones
Big Jones is pretty much as close as you’re going to get to good ole Southern cooking in Chicago. While everything on the menu is delicious, you’ll have to come by at lunchtime to enjoy their fried chicken sandwich. The Big Jones version is classic and unfussy: crispy fried chicken topped very simply with mayonnaise and lettuce and served on an egg bun. You just can’t go wrong here.
Neighborhood: Andersonville MAP

Honey Butter Fried Chicken
Choosing which fried chicken sandwich to order from Honey Butter Fried Chicken is tough. “The OG” (pictured below) uses fried chicken strips and is topped with candied jalapeño mayo and crunchy slaw. The Camchi tops the chicken strips with fresh Camchi kimchi made in-house from Chef de Cuisine Cam Waron. Another option is the Buffalo-style sandwich, which includes blue cheese and honey-Buffalo sauce. But if you’re looking for a classic, choose the namesake Honey Butter Fried Chicken Sandwich, with the honey butter that made them famous. And don’t let price be the deciding factor; they’re all $10 or less.
Neighborhood: Avondale MAP

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