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Fried chicken with pickles and two sides
Lea Jane’s Hot Chicken opened at Avanti F&B in February.
Bound Agency

Where to Feast on Fried Chicken in Denver

Head to these 16 spots for a full dose of finger-lickin’ goodness

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Lea Jane’s Hot Chicken opened at Avanti F&B in February.
| Bound Agency

If the pandemic had an official dish, it would be fried chicken, which checks all the boxes for these trying times: It’s economical, it’s versatile, it travels well, and above all, it’s supremely comforting. No wonder it’s suddenly everywhere — from noteworthy mobile pop-ups like Split Lip and chef Elise Wiggins’ soon-to-launch Lil Yellow Chick to these 16 places, all of which put their own satisfying spin on the homey staple.

Note: Map points are listed from north to south. If we missed your favorite spot, please feel free to share with us in the comments below or send a tip to denver@eater.com.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Chicken Rebel

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San Diego’s loss was Denver’s gain when Lydie Lovett moved here in 2017 and brought her towering sculptures of fried chicken with her. As photogenic as they are filling, these sandwiches come loaded with the works — jalapeño slaw, pickled onions, and garlic mayo, for instance, or bacon, honey butter, and a fried egg (as do Lovett’s tots, a must-try on the side).

Chicken sandwich with bacon, ranch, and avocado
The Rancher is Chicken Rebel’s top claim to fame.
Chicken Rebel/Facebook

Julep: Southern Table & Whiskey House

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Upscale modern Southern cuisine is Julep’s claim to fame — think rutabaga-onion tart or pecan-crusted salmon with creamed lentils — but owners Kyle and Katy Foster know their way around the homestyle classics as well, whipping up fried chicken both for weekend brunch and for takeout by advance order, when it comes family-style with biscuits and a choice of two sides.

Plate of fried chicken with biscuit and vegetables
At Sunday brunch, Julep’s fried chicken comes with rotating seasonal sides.
Julep/Facebook

The Blazing Chicken Shack II

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Though this soul-food surprise in Park Hill also offers a half-chicken platter, its name’s a clue to its signature: hot (and honey-hot) wings, which defy logic with a crust that remains thoroughly crisp and crunchy despite its thickness and lavish coating of tangy sauce.

Chicken wings with black-eyed peas
Honey hot wings from the Blazing Chicken Shack II.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

Lea Jane’s Hot Chicken at Avanti Food and Beverage

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There’s no shortage of hot chicken in Denver, but chef Nick Graves (who also makes one of the city’s best new burgers) did his research thoroughly at the source in Nashville to develop his elaborate recipe, and it shows. Options abound, from sandwiches and brunch plates to buckets and platters with all the trimmings — think sides like coleslaw and mac-and-cheese, plus dips such as charred-onion ranch to Alabama-style white sauce. Bits of bird even top deviled eggs.

Fried chicken with sides, waffles, and deviled eggs
Lea Jane’s hot chicken comes in many forms.
Bound Agency

Noble Riot

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With one of the coolest wine lists in town, this RiNo bar is out to prove that fried chicken shows just as well alongside a bottle of, say, bubbly or rosé as a pitcher of beer. Sweet-spicy dipping sauce and potato salad accompany a bucket of four or eight pieces, which are brined in a mixture of salt, sugar, lemon, thyme, and peppercorns, then soaked in buttermilk overnight before they’re battered in a gluten-free blend of rice flour and cornstarch.

Bucket of fried chicken with sides
Fried chicken and bubbly are a perfect pairing at Noble Riot.
Courtesy of Noble Riot

Welton Street Cafe

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Though it’s currently doing takeout-only, this beloved hub of Five Points for 21 years and counting still makes a mighty fine plate of fried chicken, complete with a choice of two classic sides like hush puppies, black-eyed peas, or mac-and-cheese. (The fry bread’s a la carte but well worth the extra couple of bucks.)

Fried chicken platter with sides and bread
Fried chicken with mashed potatoes, cabbage, and fry bread at Welton Street Cafe.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

Birdcall - Whole Foods at Union Station

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When the flagship of this fast-casual chicken shack opened in Five Points a few years ago, rather more media attention was paid to the high-tech operating system than to the food — but Denver’s diners quickly flocked around the sandwiches, making way for the launch of this LoDo kiosk and a University outpost. Half the fun is in the selection, with options like the Teriyaki with pepperjack and pineapple and the Southern with pimento cheese and slaw, plus an array of side sauces like buttermilk-herb mayo and sweet mustard. 

Steuben's Uptown

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For nearly 15 years, this anchor of Uptown has been paying picture-perfect homage to the roadside diners of yore, from its mid-mod vibe to a menu built on the likes of pot roast, meatloaf — and, yes, good old-fashioned buttermilk-fried chicken served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a biscuit. But in a sign of the times, the kitchen now does a hot version with a bacon–brown sugar glaze as well, and selling six- to 15-piece buckets of either style with all the fixings to go.

Fried chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and gravy
Steuben’s fried chicken platter with mashed potatoes and gravy.
Steuben’s/Facebook

Denver Biscuit Company

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Hangover cures and Instagram likes are both guaranteed by the gigantic concoctions at this multi-branch biscuit kitchen, which features buttermilk-fried chicken on seven of its 11 sandwiches. With bacon, cheddar, sausage or mushroom gravy, and an optional egg, the Franklin’s perhaps the fan favorite, but the Cordon Bleu with ham and honey butter’s no slouch either.

Fried chicken sandwich on a biscuit
The Franklin at the Stanley Marketplace outpost of the Denver Biscuit Company.
From the Hip Photo

Baba & Pop's Pierogi

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And now for something completely different: While this Aurora outlet is acclaimed (and named) for its Polish dumplings, it also makes fabulous fried-chicken kabobs from thigh meat. Offered as an appetizer, the boldly seasoned and juicy chunks further make their way into a thick flatbread with feta, cucumber salad, and dill sauce, and then onto waffles during Sunday brunch — when they do double duty as a garnish in a 50-ounce Bloody Mary that sports skewered pierogi, kielbasa, bacon, and cheese curds as well.

Flatbread topped with fried-chicken thigh, feta, and cucumber salad
Flatbread topped with fried-chicken thigh, feta, and cucumber salad at Baba & Pop’s.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

Lou’s Food Bar

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Frank Bonanno was one of the first chefs in Denver to hop on the hot-chicken bandwagon several years back, and he’s still slinging it with style at Lou’s — wings, tenders, nuggets, and all, as well as sandwiches like the Cubano with cheddar, bacon jam, avocado, dill pickles, and more. On Sundays, whole birds are available for pickup, accompanied by four sides and birthday cake just for fun. 

Fried chicken on toast with pickles
Hot chicken at Lou’s Food Bar, which reopened in the former Bones space last year.
Rachel Greiman/Eater

grind kitchen + watering hole

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Even the residents of upscale Cherry Creek need some down-home comfort from time to time, and Alabama-born chef Preston Phillips delivers it in the form of consistently stellar fried chicken on a bun; alongside brunch-time biscuits and gravy; or by the piece, accompanied by a la carte sides like cheese grits or honey-mustard slaw and optionally — but optimally — paired with Champagne. (That said, the beer list is strewn with special finds.) 

Fried chicken on a tray with sides
Grind has been bringing downhome comfort to an upscale neighborhood since 2016.
Rachel Greiman/Eater

The Budlong Hot Chicken

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Recently moved from Zeppelin Station to Wash Park, this Chicago transplant churns out hot chicken in classic Music City style, complete with pickles and Texas toast. Wings, tenders, and sandwiches on brioche topped with coleslaw and pickles round out the menu.

A close-up photo of a fried chicken thigh from Bundlong Hot Chicken on a piece of Texas toast with pickles on top of it The Bundlong [Official Photo]

Szechuan Tasty House 川味坊

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Call it Chongqing chicken, mala chicken, or la ji zi, fried chicken tossed with dried chilies and numbing peppercorns is a staple of Sichuan cuisine. While modern hot spots Hop Alley and Q House both do excellent versions, this lesser-known mom-and-pop gem on the south side of town also deserves a shout-out.

Chopped fried chicken with chilies
Szechuan Tasty House’s Chong Qing chicken.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

The Post Chicken & Beer

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Regular or Nashville hot. In a Greek salad or on a BLT. Atop a waffle or a biscuit. In a burrito or with a plate of huevos rancheros. For brunch, lunch, and dinner, The Post serves fried chicken in so many guises that a fanatic could come here every day for a week without getting the same thing twice — and that’s not even counting the chicharrones appetizer with pinto-bean hummus. (Equally varied is the selection of house beers, brewed at the Lafayette flagship, to wash it all down.)

bucket of fried chicken
In addition to its Rosedale location, the Post Chicken & Beer operates in Lafayette, Longmont, and Boulder.
The Post [Official]

Vons Chicken Aurora

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Metro Denver’s home to a few commendable Korean fried-chicken joints, including this satellite of an overseas franchise, which does a bang-up job with a quintet of styles — from the sweet-and-spicy yang-nyum to the tangy padak drizzled in soy-mustard sauce beneath a tangle of scallions. Every order comes with coleslaw and pickled daikon, but a side of rice cakes or fries sprinkled with powdered cheddar and honey butter make for a nifty change of pace — as does a bottle of yogurt-flavored soju.

Plate of fried chicken topped with green onions
Padak chicken at Vons.
Kayla Jones

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Chicken Rebel

Chicken sandwich with bacon, ranch, and avocado
The Rancher is Chicken Rebel’s top claim to fame.
Chicken Rebel/Facebook

San Diego’s loss was Denver’s gain when Lydie Lovett moved here in 2017 and brought her towering sculptures of fried chicken with her. As photogenic as they are filling, these sandwiches come loaded with the works — jalapeño slaw, pickled onions, and garlic mayo, for instance, or bacon, honey butter, and a fried egg (as do Lovett’s tots, a must-try on the side).

Chicken sandwich with bacon, ranch, and avocado
The Rancher is Chicken Rebel’s top claim to fame.
Chicken Rebel/Facebook

Julep: Southern Table & Whiskey House

Plate of fried chicken with biscuit and vegetables
At Sunday brunch, Julep’s fried chicken comes with rotating seasonal sides.
Julep/Facebook

Upscale modern Southern cuisine is Julep’s claim to fame — think rutabaga-onion tart or pecan-crusted salmon with creamed lentils — but owners Kyle and Katy Foster know their way around the homestyle classics as well, whipping up fried chicken both for weekend brunch and for takeout by advance order, when it comes family-style with biscuits and a choice of two sides.

Plate of fried chicken with biscuit and vegetables
At Sunday brunch, Julep’s fried chicken comes with rotating seasonal sides.
Julep/Facebook

The Blazing Chicken Shack II

Chicken wings with black-eyed peas
Honey hot wings from the Blazing Chicken Shack II.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

Though this soul-food surprise in Park Hill also offers a half-chicken platter, its name’s a clue to its signature: hot (and honey-hot) wings, which defy logic with a crust that remains thoroughly crisp and crunchy despite its thickness and lavish coating of tangy sauce.

Chicken wings with black-eyed peas
Honey hot wings from the Blazing Chicken Shack II.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

Lea Jane’s Hot Chicken at Avanti Food and Beverage

Fried chicken with sides, waffles, and deviled eggs
Lea Jane’s hot chicken comes in many forms.
Bound Agency

There’s no shortage of hot chicken in Denver, but chef Nick Graves (who also makes one of the city’s best new burgers) did his research thoroughly at the source in Nashville to develop his elaborate recipe, and it shows. Options abound, from sandwiches and brunch plates to buckets and platters with all the trimmings — think sides like coleslaw and mac-and-cheese, plus dips such as charred-onion ranch to Alabama-style white sauce. Bits of bird even top deviled eggs.

Fried chicken with sides, waffles, and deviled eggs
Lea Jane’s hot chicken comes in many forms.
Bound Agency

Noble Riot

Bucket of fried chicken with sides
Fried chicken and bubbly are a perfect pairing at Noble Riot.
Courtesy of Noble Riot

With one of the coolest wine lists in town, this RiNo bar is out to prove that fried chicken shows just as well alongside a bottle of, say, bubbly or rosé as a pitcher of beer. Sweet-spicy dipping sauce and potato salad accompany a bucket of four or eight pieces, which are brined in a mixture of salt, sugar, lemon, thyme, and peppercorns, then soaked in buttermilk overnight before they’re battered in a gluten-free blend of rice flour and cornstarch.

Bucket of fried chicken with sides
Fried chicken and bubbly are a perfect pairing at Noble Riot.
Courtesy of Noble Riot

Welton Street Cafe

Fried chicken platter with sides and bread
Fried chicken with mashed potatoes, cabbage, and fry bread at Welton Street Cafe.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

Though it’s currently doing takeout-only, this beloved hub of Five Points for 21 years and counting still makes a mighty fine plate of fried chicken, complete with a choice of two classic sides like hush puppies, black-eyed peas, or mac-and-cheese. (The fry bread’s a la carte but well worth the extra couple of bucks.)

Fried chicken platter with sides and bread
Fried chicken with mashed potatoes, cabbage, and fry bread at Welton Street Cafe.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

Birdcall - Whole Foods at Union Station

When the flagship of this fast-casual chicken shack opened in Five Points a few years ago, rather more media attention was paid to the high-tech operating system than to the food — but Denver’s diners quickly flocked around the sandwiches, making way for the launch of this LoDo kiosk and a University outpost. Half the fun is in the selection, with options like the Teriyaki with pepperjack and pineapple and the Southern with pimento cheese and slaw, plus an array of side sauces like buttermilk-herb mayo and sweet mustard. 

Steuben's Uptown

Fried chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and gravy
Steuben’s fried chicken platter with mashed potatoes and gravy.
Steuben’s/Facebook

For nearly 15 years, this anchor of Uptown has been paying picture-perfect homage to the roadside diners of yore, from its mid-mod vibe to a menu built on the likes of pot roast, meatloaf — and, yes, good old-fashioned buttermilk-fried chicken served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a biscuit. But in a sign of the times, the kitchen now does a hot version with a bacon–brown sugar glaze as well, and selling six- to 15-piece buckets of either style with all the fixings to go.

Fried chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and gravy
Steuben’s fried chicken platter with mashed potatoes and gravy.
Steuben’s/Facebook

Denver Biscuit Company

Fried chicken sandwich on a biscuit
The Franklin at the Stanley Marketplace outpost of the Denver Biscuit Company.
From the Hip Photo

Hangover cures and Instagram likes are both guaranteed by the gigantic concoctions at this multi-branch biscuit kitchen, which features buttermilk-fried chicken on seven of its 11 sandwiches. With bacon, cheddar, sausage or mushroom gravy, and an optional egg, the Franklin’s perhaps the fan favorite, but the Cordon Bleu with ham and honey butter’s no slouch either.

Fried chicken sandwich on a biscuit
The Franklin at the Stanley Marketplace outpost of the Denver Biscuit Company.
From the Hip Photo

Baba & Pop's Pierogi

Flatbread topped with fried-chicken thigh, feta, and cucumber salad
Flatbread topped with fried-chicken thigh, feta, and cucumber salad at Baba & Pop’s.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

And now for something completely different: While this Aurora outlet is acclaimed (and named) for its Polish dumplings, it also makes fabulous fried-chicken kabobs from thigh meat. Offered as an appetizer, the boldly seasoned and juicy chunks further make their way into a thick flatbread with feta, cucumber salad, and dill sauce, and then onto waffles during Sunday brunch — when they do double duty as a garnish in a 50-ounce Bloody Mary that sports skewered pierogi, kielbasa, bacon, and cheese curds as well.

Flatbread topped with fried-chicken thigh, feta, and cucumber salad
Flatbread topped with fried-chicken thigh, feta, and cucumber salad at Baba & Pop’s.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

Lou’s Food Bar

Fried chicken on toast with pickles
Hot chicken at Lou’s Food Bar, which reopened in the former Bones space last year.
Rachel Greiman/Eater

Frank Bonanno was one of the first chefs in Denver to hop on the hot-chicken bandwagon several years back, and he’s still slinging it with style at Lou’s — wings, tenders, nuggets, and all, as well as sandwiches like the Cubano with cheddar, bacon jam, avocado, dill pickles, and more. On Sundays, whole birds are available for pickup, accompanied by four sides and birthday cake just for fun. 

Fried chicken on toast with pickles
Hot chicken at Lou’s Food Bar, which reopened in the former Bones space last year.
Rachel Greiman/Eater

grind kitchen + watering hole

Fried chicken on a tray with sides
Grind has been bringing downhome comfort to an upscale neighborhood since 2016.
Rachel Greiman/Eater

Even the residents of upscale Cherry Creek need some down-home comfort from time to time, and Alabama-born chef Preston Phillips delivers it in the form of consistently stellar fried chicken on a bun; alongside brunch-time biscuits and gravy; or by the piece, accompanied by a la carte sides like cheese grits or honey-mustard slaw and optionally — but optimally — paired with Champagne. (That said, the beer list is strewn with special finds.) 

Fried chicken on a tray with sides
Grind has been bringing downhome comfort to an upscale neighborhood since 2016.
Rachel Greiman/Eater

The Budlong Hot Chicken

A close-up photo of a fried chicken thigh from Bundlong Hot Chicken on a piece of Texas toast with pickles on top of it The Bundlong [Official Photo]

Recently moved from Zeppelin Station to Wash Park, this Chicago transplant churns out hot chicken in classic Music City style, complete with pickles and Texas toast. Wings, tenders, and sandwiches on brioche topped with coleslaw and pickles round out the menu.