Not too long ago, Thrillist online lifestyle brand named Martha Lou’s in Charleston as one of the nation’s 31 best fried chicken restuarants — and the best in the Palmetto State. And while that establishment has garnered praise from, of all places, The New York Times, beauty (and taste) is in the eye of the beholder.
And we think that Columbia is beholding to a few good fried chicken spots in its own right.
Here are just a few of our suggestions for finding some perfectly seasoned, crispy fried chicken in and around the Columbia area. Please don’t hesitate to let us know what you think...
Bernie’s won high praise from Matt & Ted Lee (also known as The Lee Brothers). The Charleston siblings and cookbook authors were quoted in Garden & Gun magazine as calling Bernie’s “a must whenever we’re in Columbia — or just passing by, even. It’s way worth the detour from I-26.” What to get: Bernie’s Special, three pieces of chicken, french fries, slaw, roll and iced tea. 1311 Bluff Road.
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Zesto’s in West Columbia has a fan in Elliott Moss, of Asheville’s Buxton Hall Barbecue, who eats his with “lots of hot sauce and a cheeseburger on the side.”
Anthony’s Dairy Bar, near Benedict College’s Charlie W. Johnson Stadium on Two Notch Road, has some really tasty chicken wings, and does old-school fried chicken livers and gizzards (don’t knock ‘em until you’ve tried them). Try any of the combos with fries and a drink.
Brookland Cafe (Brookland Baptist Church’s buffet) goes through more than 1,000 pounds of chicken a week. Actresses Lynn Whitfield and Vanessa Bell Calloway have dined there, and Marcus D. Wiley, of “Yolanda Adams’ Morning Show,” just Has. To. Have. the fried chicken when he’s in town. Aaand, they cater! Yes, please!
Lizard’s Thicket’s fried chicken is delicious. When sliced and served on top of a green salad, the argument can be made that the fried chicken is almost guilt-free. Almost.
Peebles Wing Shack on Rosewood has the crispiest jumbo-sized chicken wings. Have them straight up plain, or choose a dry rub or sauce to toss them in (we’re partial to the homemade hot sauce). If you’re in a daring mood, try the fried frog legs...they taste like chicken, don’t they?