Fried chicken is one of my weaknesses. Not only was KFC one of the few fast foods we were allowed to have as kids, but also, even the week before my mother died, just the mention that there was a piece of KFC in the house brought happiness to her eyes.
So this summer, on our trip to Tennessee, I was determined to find the best fried chicken I could find. (Well, within reason. I mean even I can’t stomach fried chicken every day).
In Nashville I ate fried chicken at Rotiers Restaurant. It wasn’t nearly as good as the hash brown casserole, which was a revelation to me. (Readers, expect my own recipe soon, after I get done experimenting.) I asked my Facebook friends where to eat, and they unanimously recommended the Loveless Café, where I had the best biscuits in Nashville by far; but the fried chicken still wasn’t as good as mine.
Then, when we got to Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, my hopes rose. We ordered a picnic of fried chicken in a pavilion by a pond and a stream. The concierge said it was brined for three whole days. But hopes were dashed: It wasn’t that great. Although we ate every last piece.
But then Jeff Ross, the gardener at Blackberry, told us about his dilemma when Danny Meyer came and asked him where to eat in Knoxville. “So I told him about Chandler’s.” Right away I knew what he was talking about. Chandler’s Deli, a classic “meat and three.”
And so for our last meal in Tennessee on our way home, we stopped at Chandler’s. Let’s just say, while it was slightly different than my fried chicken, Chandler’s was amazing! Totally crispy, greasy, batter-y goodness. One thigh was enough to satisfy all my hunger and it was good. Very good.
As you can see from the pictures, Chandlers is a total dive. But if you are in or near Knoxville, it’s worth the visit.
Check back for my easy fried chicken recipe!