Willie Mae’s Scotch House: Best Fried Chicken in the Country?
In searching for food items to try in New Orleans, I stumbled across Willie Mae’s Scotch House and their fried chicken… and then I would see it again… and then again. I was reading that some claim it was the best fried chicken in the country and as I continue to investigate I found:
- Jame Beard award for “America’s Classic Restaurant for the Southern Region”
- Food Network and the Travel Channel dubbed “America’s Best Fried Chicken”
- And Bon Appetit named “Top Fried Chicken”
This was no joke – the fried chicken is legendary! We had to make sure we made a stop here. It is a bit out of the way but I think that adds to the charm. It is situated in the middle of a neighborhood and while the public transit does not get terribly close, I felt it would be walkable from the French Quarter so I added it to the food must-do list when we visited there.
After spending the morning eating beignets and getting to know the French Quarter, we found ourselves at Armstrong Park. This was close enough to start our thirty minute walk north to find our fried chicken. Once again, Willie Mae’s Scotch House has been named one of the best fried chicken stops in the country – not in New Orleans, not in the South, but the country! That is big praise so it had to be worth it journey. I read it can be quite a popular spot for those that knew about it so I made sure to order online in advance for take out to ensure we were guaranteed our friend chicken.
By the time we arrived, it was pretty darn hot out so we decided ahead of time to treat ourselves to an Uber ride back downtown – unfortunately, there is no good public transit stop that goes out in this direction. When we arrived, it was empty! Since there was no one at Willie Mae’s, they allowed us to sit at one of the tables outside to eat our take out though it is typically reserved for those doing dine in only. I ordered a three piece fried chicken that came with one side and we chose fried okra. When I went to pick up the order, it was clear they thought we did not order enough food for three people. I stood by my choice that we would be sharing and snacking throughout the day in order to optimize our stomach space. And when the order came out, we were all stunned.
It was enormous! It was beautiful. It was enormous and beautiful. We all looked at each other and laughed – thank god we did not order more! It did not take long for us to figure out a way to dive right in and it was pretty magical. The chicken meat itself was not just insanely moist and juicy, but flavorful as well – the meat was full of juicy flavor. The breading was somehow super light, buttery, and airy, but still added the most amazing crunch – and a bit of a kick of spice that I had to power through. Together the breading and the meat were so harmonized where the breading did not outshine the meat but enhanced it. And what amazed us all is that once we were done, we were not weighed down by this meal – it easily could have had us in a food coma for the rest of the day but it did not and I think that speaks to the breading. It was easy for us to agree the title of best fried chicken in the country was certainly worthy – it was definitely some of the best we have ever had.
By the time we left, Uber rides were showing up one after the other and the line was starting to form. Definitely still plan on getting to this spot around opening time and use that online ordering trick – that certainly remains one of the best things to come out of the pandemic is the ability to order take out.