Fried chicken is one of my favorite comfort foods, and while it may be known as a southern dish, don’t sleep on the Twin Cities fried chicken scene. I joined the Jason Show to talk about some of my favorite places to get fried chicken, and what makes each spot unique.
Best Twin Cities Fried Chicken
The Block in St. Louis Park is a place where everyone can find something on the menu they will like, including your dog! Yes, they have a dog-friendly menu and patio as well as inside dining and curbside pick-up. Their chicken is not to be missed. It is broasted, instead of fried. What is the difference between a fried chicken and a broasted chicken? Well, the cooking process starts the same as fried chicken: seasoned, rolled in batter and flour. But then it goes another direction. First, it’s deep-fried for a minute in a high-pressure cooker to keep the breading intact and seal in the juices. Once that’s done, the lid of the high-pressure cooker is closed to ensure all the moisture stays inside the chicken instead of being cooked off. They say there is a health benefit with broasted chicken because the outside is sealed at the beginning of the process, so less oil penetrates the meat of the chicken. Yes, that’s right…that means fewer calories for you! I am dubious, but I will say it’s delicious. The chicken was perfectly crispy, crunchy, and juicy. You can get original or hot, and you order by half or the “whole damn bird” as it’s called on the menu.
Red Cow is known for burgers, but their chicken is not to be overlooked. They have a tremendous curbside picnic box that includes 4 pieces of chicken, slaw, and housemade pickles. Their chicken is available as Tennessee Hot (and its hot) or “Minnesota Nice” (no spice), is super crispy, and the crunchy skin stays on every bite. The portion is generous for $18 and easily feeds two with 2 pieces of light and 2 pieces of dark meat.
The Coop is a St. Paul family favorite. The building in South St. Paul was a grocery for many years before becoming the Coop. The half chicken dinner is $11, and you can get family-style buckets with sides. Wednesdays are winner, winner chicken dinner nights where a 4-piece complete dinner is $9.50.
This is a “hole in the wall” on Broadway Avenue known for its “SoulRolls” — a mash-up of egg rolls with soul food, but the chicken wings and waffles are a house favorite. These wings are fried and perfectly seasoned, and the greens and mac and cheese are not to be missed in single or family size.
This spot is an excellent dive bar that also has a patio, and their dill pickle brined fried chicken buckets are a must-have. A 9-piece bucket is $27, while a 5-piece bucket is $15 and features a mix of light and dark meat. When you add a side of mac and cheese, baked beans, and coleslaw you have a perfect backyard picnic. If you have a kid 8 or under, they are going to love the kid’s TV tray here that comes with a main, veggie, applesauce, and pudding – just like your school lunch tray.
I was first turned onto the magic of Cub’s deli chicken by a friend on Jason’s morning radio show. Cub’s fried deli chicken is fresh, never frozen, and battered with a sweet and slightly spicy seasoning mix. I have it on proper authority that a drumstick in the side of mashed potatoes and gravy might be the way to go here. Cub’s picnic chicken is available by the piece or a party pack of up to 500 pieces.
Revival, with locations in both Minneapolis and St Paul (Keg and Case and Selby Avenue), is known for their wonderful sides, ribs, and fried chicken. A whole bird is $30, and a half is $18. Go for their Southern fried chicken and waffles or try their Tennessee hot, which is dipped in a hot, wet sauce that is the perfect amount of burn your face off. I also love their “Jazzy Bell” wine made exclusively for them that you can now order for take out. The mac and cheese here is not to be missed, and the grits are also sublime.
Insula is one of my favorite restaurants in Ely, Minnesota, where I have a cabin. Insula’s fried chicken is $14 for half a chicken — a great value. Their fried chicken is super crispy and really hot when you get it Tennessee hot. I love that they serve this chicken alongside a pile of garlicky sauteed spinach, so you get that Southern greens and chicken vibe. They offer takeout only as of August 2020. Call ahead and place your order for curbside pick up.
Roosters BBQ is a St. Paul institution on 979 Randolph Ave. Dine-in capacity is very limited (2 rickety booths) so this would be a curbside pick up call. You can get a rib and chicken dinner combo for $19, or skip the ribs and head just for the fried or BBQ chicken. A half chicken dinner is $9.96 and includes 4 pieces of chicken, fries, and coleslaw – it’s a steal and always delicious and made to order.