Last month, a national online survey declared the best fried chicken exists in Belle Glade at Dixie Fried Chicken. But more recently, the Food Network named The Regional Kitchen in West Palm Beach as the Florida fried chicken champ in its roundup of “Best Fried Chicken in Every State.”
Buckle up, fried chicken fans. It looks like we may have a battle on our hands.
Okay, so maybe not a real battle, but certainly a contest of preferences over this question: Who makes the best crispy bird in Florida?
Last month, a national online survey declared a winner in Belle Glade. But more recently, the Food Network named a state champ much closer to central county. In its roundup of “Best Fried Chicken in Every State,” the network’s website declared The Regional Kitchen in West Palm as best in Florida.
Some good + crispy specials for#NationalFriedChickenDay, which should be every day.https://t.co/KsAFJrfiNBpic.twitter.com/s8vqabSrCb— Liz Balmaseda (@LizBalmaseda)July 6, 2017
That should come as no surprise to fans of executive chef Lindsay Autry’s take on the Southern classic. She cuts to the chase, flavor-wise, and starts with chicken thighs for maximum richness. Autry, who earned a semifinalist spot at this year’s James Beard Awards, brines the boneless thighs in sweet tea before frying them. The result is chicken that’s crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside.
“You won’t leave hungry,” says the Food Network’s caption on a photo of The Regional’s fried chicken plate.
When she opened The Regional in the late summer of 2016, Autry, well known for her fried chicken, was cautious about giving it too much emphasis on her menu. As much as she loved the comfort dimension of dish, she was not trying to open up a fry house, she said at the time. She gave the dish an understated place on an eclectic menu that includes snapper grilled in banana leaf, low country boil, pickled shrimp, roasted bone marrow and bucatini with country ham.
But the fried chicken had its own star ambitions. It quickly drew a strong following that began locally, then spread across the land.
Earlier this summer, NBC’s Today show listed The Regional among 16 American restaurants serving the best fried chicken, saying this about Autry: “The North Carolina native manages to deliver a crispy comfort food that isn’t greasy and doesn’t leave diners with any regrets.”
For her part, Autry says she’s “honored to be recognized” for the dish.
“Fried chicken is a soul satisfying food which I think speaks to the goal that we try and achieve here at The Regional,” she says. “The recognition also helps me feel better that my car and, well, my whole life, smells like fried chicken.”
It’s all for the comfort food cause, Chef!
The Regional Kitchen: 651 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-557-6460
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This story originally published to palmbeachpost.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the GateHouse Media network via the Florida Wire. The Florida Wire, which runs across digital, print and video platforms, curates and distributes Florida-focused stories. For more Florida stories, visit here, and to support local media throughout the state of Florida, consider subscribing to your local paper.