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Fried chicken sandwich from WesBurger WesBurger n’ More

16 Extra Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwiches in the Bay Area

Where to find extra crispy options from mild to hot

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It’s hard to resist a fried chicken sandwich when it’s really done right, ideally with crispy and juicy chicken nestled on a pillowy bun. Fortunately, the Bay Area has many spots that cater to the craving. Try one of the many dedicated fried chicken sandwich shops that call the SF Bay Area home, as well as the assorted butcher shops, arcade bars, and tiki dens that also serve excellent varieties. Whether you prefer white meat or dark meat, and whether you like that fried chicken drenched in hot sauce or topped with herb slaw, here are some great sandwiches to seek out now.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Hi Tops

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This gay sports bar in the Castro is known for big screens and a big scene (their motto: “Cold pitchers, hot catchers”). But don’t underestimate the food, and in particular the chicken sandwich, which features white meat fried very thoroughly and topped with a punchy slaw.

A massive chicken sandwich at Hi Tops Hi Tops

RT Rotisserie

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The fast-casual spinoff from Michelin-starred Rich Table, RT Rotisserie primarily spins juicy rotisserie chickens for excellent salads and sandwiches. But they are not averse to the deep fryer. Don’t miss Sally Hurricane’s namesake southern fried chicken sandwich, decked out with chipotle yogurt and pickled onions on a fluffy brioche bun.

RT Rotisserie

WesBurger n' More

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WesBurger is the local authority on the art of the smashburger, but Texas native Wes Rowe also serves up a not-small fried chicken sandwich. You’ve got two options: A southern-style fried chicken sandwich battered in buttermilk and topped with slaw and pickles, or a Nashville hot chicken sandwich that’s also brushed with spices. And there are often specials with different fixings.

Fried chicken sandwich from WesBurger WesBurger n’ More

Hotbird

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This Nashville-style hot chicken pop-up from Iyasare alums Aaron Nam and Caleb Longacre deserves the long lines it generated at various Off the Grid locations over the past couple of years, before opening a permanent location in the Twitter food hall. They fry Mary’s chicken breasts, dip them in hot oil mixed with spices, finish them with dry spice powder, and serve them on buns with apple vinegar slaw, dill pickles, and sauce. Customers choose their spiciness level: mild, medium, hot, or burnin’ (with Carolina Reaper peppers). Yes, people do cry, and even medium is pretty hot.

Hotbird’s Nashville hot chicken sandwich Robin Eagan

Hetchy’s Hots by Square Pie Guys

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These guys may be known best for their sharp-cornered pizzas, but they also launched a virtual chicken sandwich shop during the pandemic. Hetchy’s Hots serves a monstrosity of a fried chicken sandwich, topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetohs, and available for takeout and delivery only.

The signature Hetchy Hot, which comes topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Hetchy’s Hots/Daniel Beck

Flybird

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Union Square’s fast-casual fried chicken sandwich shop comes courtesy of Sababa chef Guy Eshel and partner Jay Roberts, an aviation-themed restaurant that takes customers around the world with its selection of breaded fried chicken cutlets on Boudin Bakery buns. Options include the “Mexico City” (topped with black beans, avocado, pickled radishes and cotija cheese), the “Med” (which features hummus. za’atar, and tahini), or the more straightforward slaw-and-pickle “Classic.”

The Bird

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This fried chicken sandwich-dedicated shop comes from the team behind Super Duper, and it’s doing what that local burger chain does so well, but this time, for chicken. The original location is downtown, ideal for lunch breaks, and there’s a new location in Hayes Valley. Their main sandwich offering is only eight bucks, prepared with a berbere spice rub in two heat levels, regular or spicy. Celery, apple slaw, mayo, and pickles provide some acid and added crunch. 

Aubrie Pick

Xingones at Fort Green

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One of the East Bay’s most popular pop-ups, Xingones is known for its Mexican tacos and its American-style fried chicken and waffles. And there’s probably no dish on the menu where the two cuisines come together as beautifully as the torta-style fried chicken sandwich, which comes topped with a curtido slaw and house-made remoulade.

World Famous Hot Boys

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Nashville hot chicken mania hit the Bay Area a couple years back, and the self-declared “World Famous” Hotboys pop-up has now made it permanent in Uptown Oakland. Their chicken comes in whole, half, and quarter portions, or on a sandwich, and the heat levels turn up from “southern” and “mild” to “hot hot.” Even the medium is pretty darn hot. Try crinkle-cut fries or pimento mac and cheese on the side.  

Aburaya Go

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This popular punk rock fried chicken joint’s second, takeout-oriented location is the only place where you can nab this fully loaded sandwich: two pieces of Japanese-style chicken karaage, sweet-and-spicy Japanese barbecue sauce, onion, tomato, avocado, and coleslaw — all served between two slices of Texas Toast.

Aburaya

The Kon-Tiki

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Step into this dimly lit tiki den at the edge of Oakland’s Chinatown for classic rum cocktails, fried food, and over-the-top decor. In between rounds of mai tais, the fried chicken sandwich from chef Manuel Bonilla is a total delight, slathered with both kewpie mayo and chili honey.

A fried chicken sandwich at the Kon-Tiki Tarik Kazeleh/The Kon-Tiki

Beauty's Bagel Shop

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Philosophically, bagel purists may find the notion of a fried chicken bagel sandwich odd or even offensive, but Beauty’s hasn’t ever been much for following the bagel rules — just serving fresh, often still-warm bagels in as many delicious permutations as possible. Served with a tangy slaw, the fried chicken here is crisp and juicy without being greasy, and the best thing about serving it on a bagel is that it makes fried chicken for breakfast a viable, deeply craveable option.

Hawking Bird

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Oakland native James Syhabout may own Commis, a Michelin-starred tasting menu restaurant, and Hawker Fare, serving colorful Thai street food — but that doesn’t mean he’s not into fried chicken sandwiches. At Hawker Fare’s chicken-focused spinoff, Hawking Bird, Syhabout’s sandwich includes a chicken thigh marinated in garlic and ginger, dipped in rice flour batter, and double fried before it’s topped with a fierce slaw featuring lots of lime and chiles.

Sandwiches and a beer at hawking bird Hawking Bird

Bakesale Betty

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Alison Barakat is the Bay Area’s original fried chicken lady, rocking a blue wig and courting a line around the block in Temescal. Her sandwich is an Oakland urban legend that precedes the latest fried chicken sandwich hype, made with buttermilk-brined breast meat and a jalapeño slaw. Use both hands and don’t forget to grab napkins.

A fried chicken sandwich sits on a table at Bakesale Betty Bakesale Betty

Clove And Hoof

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This restaurant and butcher’s shop sources from local ranches to serve the best cuts around. As one would expect, there’s lots of meat on their prepared food menu, and a burger is a popular choice. But the fried chicken sandwich is a hot take, covered in caramelized fish sauce, with pickled pineapple, herb salad, and curried mayo.

The glass window outside Clove and Hoof Clove and Hoof

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Hi Tops

A massive chicken sandwich at Hi Tops Hi Tops

This gay sports bar in the Castro is known for big screens and a big scene (their motto: “Cold pitchers, hot catchers”). But don’t underestimate the food, and in particular the chicken sandwich, which features white meat fried very thoroughly and topped with a punchy slaw.

A massive chicken sandwich at Hi Tops Hi Tops

RT Rotisserie

RT Rotisserie

The fast-casual spinoff from Michelin-starred Rich Table, RT Rotisserie primarily spins juicy rotisserie chickens for excellent salads and sandwiches. But they are not averse to the deep fryer. Don’t miss Sally Hurricane’s namesake southern fried chicken sandwich, decked out with chipotle yogurt and pickled onions on a fluffy brioche bun.

RT Rotisserie

WesBurger n' More

Fried chicken sandwich from WesBurger WesBurger n’ More

WesBurger is the local authority on the art of the smashburger, but Texas native Wes Rowe also serves up a not-small fried chicken sandwich. You’ve got two options: A southern-style fried chicken sandwich battered in buttermilk and topped with slaw and pickles, or a Nashville hot chicken sandwich that’s also brushed with spices. And there are often specials with different fixings.

Fried chicken sandwich from WesBurger WesBurger n’ More

Hotbird

Hotbird’s Nashville hot chicken sandwich Robin Eagan

This Nashville-style hot chicken pop-up from Iyasare alums Aaron Nam and Caleb Longacre deserves the long lines it generated at various Off the Grid locations over the past couple of years, before opening a permanent location in the Twitter food hall. They fry Mary’s chicken breasts, dip them in hot oil mixed with spices, finish them with dry spice powder, and serve them on buns with apple vinegar slaw, dill pickles, and sauce. Customers choose their spiciness level: mild, medium, hot, or burnin’ (with Carolina Reaper peppers). Yes, people do cry, and even medium is pretty hot.

Hotbird’s Nashville hot chicken sandwich Robin Eagan

Hetchy’s Hots by Square Pie Guys

The signature Hetchy Hot, which comes topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Hetchy’s Hots/Daniel Beck

These guys may be known best for their sharp-cornered pizzas, but they also launched a virtual chicken sandwich shop during the pandemic. Hetchy’s Hots serves a monstrosity of a fried chicken sandwich, topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetohs, and available for takeout and delivery only.

The signature Hetchy Hot, which comes topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Hetchy’s Hots/Daniel Beck

Flybird

Union Square’s fast-casual fried chicken sandwich shop comes courtesy of Sababa chef Guy Eshel and partner Jay Roberts, an aviation-themed restaurant that takes customers around the world with its selection of breaded fried chicken cutlets on Boudin Bakery buns. Options include the “Mexico City” (topped with black beans, avocado, pickled radishes and cotija cheese), the “Med” (which features hummus. za’atar, and tahini), or the more straightforward slaw-and-pickle “Classic.”

The Bird

Aubrie Pick

This fried chicken sandwich-dedicated shop comes from the team behind Super Duper, and it’s doing what that local burger chain does so well, but this time, for chicken. The original location is downtown, ideal for lunch breaks, and there’s a new location in Hayes Valley. Their main sandwich offering is only eight bucks, prepared with a berbere spice rub in two heat levels, regular or spicy. Celery, apple slaw, mayo, and pickles provide some acid and added crunch. 

Aubrie Pick

Xingones at Fort Green

One of the East Bay’s most popular pop-ups, Xingones is known for its Mexican tacos and its American-style fried chicken and waffles. And there’s probably no dish on the menu where the two cuisines come together as beautifully as the torta-style fried chicken sandwich, which comes topped with a curtido slaw and house-made remoulade.

World Famous Hot Boys

Nashville hot chicken mania hit the Bay Area a couple years back, and the self-declared “World Famous” Hotboys pop-up has now made it permanent in Uptown Oakland. Their chicken comes in whole, half, and quarter portions, or on a sandwich, and the heat levels turn up from “southern” and “mild” to “hot hot.” Even the medium is pretty darn hot. Try crinkle-cut fries or pimento mac and cheese on the side.  

Aburaya Go

Aburaya

This popular punk rock fried chicken joint’s second, takeout-oriented location is the only place where you can nab this fully loaded sandwich: two pieces of Japanese-style chicken karaage, sweet-and-spicy Japanese barbecue sauce, onion, tomato, avocado, and coleslaw — all served between two slices of Texas Toast.

Aburaya

The Kon-Tiki

A fried chicken sandwich at the Kon-Tiki Tarik Kazeleh/The Kon-Tiki

Step into this dimly lit tiki den at the edge of Oakland’s Chinatown for classic rum cocktails, fried food, and over-the-top decor. In between rounds of mai tais, the fried chicken sandwich from chef Manuel Bonilla is a total delight, slathered with both kewpie mayo and chili honey.

A fried chicken sandwich at the Kon-Tiki Tarik Kazeleh/The Kon-Tiki

Beauty's Bagel Shop

Philosophically, bagel purists may find the notion of a fried chicken bagel sandwich odd or even offensive, but Beauty’s hasn’t ever been much for following the bagel rules — just serving fresh, often still-warm bagels in as many delicious permutations as possible. Served with a tangy slaw, the fried chicken here is crisp and juicy without being greasy, and the best thing about serving it on a bagel is that it makes fried chicken for breakfast a viable, deeply craveable option.

Hawking Bird

Sandwiches and a beer at hawking bird Hawking Bird

Oakland native James Syhabout may own Commis, a Michelin-starred tasting menu restaurant, and Hawker Fare, serving colorful Thai street food — but that doesn’t mean he’s not into fried chicken sandwiches. At Hawker Fare’s chicken-focused spinoff, Hawking Bird, Syhabout’s sandwich includes a chicken thigh marinated in garlic and ginger, dipped in rice flour batter, and double fried before it’s topped with a fierce slaw featuring lots of lime and chiles.

Sandwiches and a beer at hawking bird Hawking Bird

Bakesale Betty

A fried chicken sandwich sits on a table at Bakesale Betty Bakesale Betty

Alison Barakat is the Bay Area’s original fried chicken lady, rocking a blue wig and courting a line around the block in Temescal. Her sandwich is an Oakland urban legend that precedes the latest fried chicken sandwich hype, made with buttermilk-brined breast meat and a jalapeño slaw. Use both hands and don’t forget to grab napkins.

A fried chicken sandwich sits on a table at Bakesale Betty Bakesale Betty

Clove And Hoof

The glass window outside Clove and Hoof Clove and Hoof

This restaurant and butcher’s shop sources from local ranches to serve the best cuts around. As one would expect, there’s lots of meat on their prepared food menu, and a burger is a popular choice. But the fried chicken sandwich is a hot take, covered in caramelized fish sauce, with pickled pineapple, herb salad, and curried mayo.

The glass window outside Clove and Hoof Clove and Hoof

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