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 Bay Area home, as well as the assorted butcher shops 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.Read More
16 Extra Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwiches in the Bay Area
Where to find extra crispy options from mild to hot
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Plenty has been said about Birdbox and its chicken sandwich since it made its debut during the pandemic — the sandwich with a singular chicken claw stretching outside of the bun — but it’s still one worth seeking out at its new home near Oracle Park. The classic yeast is always a strong option, but you can kick things up with the spicy falcon or the hot and tangy, which includes hot honey and sambal on your bird. (The squeamish can still order a chicken sandwich, sans claw, by going for the chicken breast option.)
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Emeryville’s new restaurant the Sunday is perhaps making more of a name for itself as a place that merges brunch classics with Korean food, but it also has two standout fried chicken sandwiches to try. The classic fried chicken sandwich featured a craggy, crunchy chicken slab nestled inside a brioche bun with coleslaw and tomato; meanwhile, the chipotle fried chicken sandwich offers a more fiery option, with a chipotle adobo sauce.
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 the loaded “Krinkle Kut” fries or mac and cheese on the side.
This Nashville-style hot chicken pop-up from Iyasare alums Aaron Nam and Caleb Longacre moved its location from the Twitter food hall in San Francisco out to Oakland. The sandwiches are still as you remember: They fry 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: no heat, mild, medium, hot, “xtra” hot, or burnin’ (with Carolina Reaper peppers). Yes, people do cry, and even medium is pretty hot.
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 ranch, slaw, and Monterey Jack. Add $1 to make it “Nashville hot” if you please.
This popular punk rock fried chicken joint 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.
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 beet 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.
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.
Alison Barakat is the Bay Area’s original fried chicken sandwich lady, rocking a blue wig and courting a line down 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. Don’t skip out on a cookie or a pie slice, if you’ve still got room.
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 fresh pineapple, herb salad, and green curry mayo.
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