The Ultimate Fried Chicken Golf Trail

Leg 1:  Seattle WA - Portland OR - San Francisco CA - Los Angeles CA - Las Vegas NV - Lakewood CO - Denver CO - Omaha NE - Pittsburg KS - Kansas City MO - Chicago IL - Indianapolis IN - Barberton OH - Saratoga Springs NY - Boston MA - New York City NY - Philadelphia PA - Washington D.C. - Chapel Hill NC - Wilson NC - Nashville TN - Mason TN - Memphis TN - Atlanta GA - Charleston SC - Miami FL - Birmingham NC - Jackson MS - New Orleans LA - Dallas TX - Houston TX -Austin TX

Leg 2:  Lorman MS - Roanoke TX - Philadelphia PA - Mason TN - Phoenix AZ - NYC NY - Savannah GA - Santa Monica CA - New Orleans LA - Corbin KY

Leg 3: Houston TX - Mason TN -Charleston SC - New Orleans LA - Raleigh NC - Birmingham AL - Texas - Miami Beach FL - Louisville KY - Atlanta GA - Dallas TX - Nashville TN - Little Rock AR - Richmond VA - Palm Beach Gardens FL

The Daily Meal, 6/13

FoodNetwork.com

Southern Living , 7/13

*Golf and additional chicken joints by Fat Guy

There's no more American food than fried chicken.  It conjures up visions of your Grandmother's kitchen, or big matronly Southern women in aprons serving it up in baskets with cloth napkins folded over it.

The Daily Meal's Ultimate Fried Chicken Roadmap 2013

by Lauren Wilson, 6/13

We know, you think your mom makes the best fried chicken out there. Nostalgia and hometown bias aside, though, many of us are also very opinionated about our favorite fried chicken joints outside of our own childhood kitchens.

Fried chicken is a quintessential American dish, along with hamburgers, hot dogs, apple pie, barbecue, peanut butter, and casseroles. It’s cheap, relatively easy to prepare (although some obviously do it better than others), and is a great equalizer: no matter who you are or where you’re from, you’re expected to eat it with your hands.

Fried chicken may have a particularly strong association with the Southeast, but its roots belong to many immigrant populations who settled in all corners of the country. People from West African, European, and Asian ethnicities can all take some credit for both introducing and continuing the fried chicken tradition stateside. And just how important is this dish to Americans today? Well, it has its own national holiday: July 6. great equalizer: no matter who you are or where you’re from, you’re expected to eat it with your hands. Last year, we brought you an extensive roadmap of the country’s best places for fried chicken. So how did we come up for additions to this year’s roadmap? We considered reader feedback while also consulting our staff and several national experts. Along with some necessary Midwest mentions (such as a couple of infamous dueling restaurants in Pittsburg, Kan.), we’ve included a unique venue that feeds its scraps to local raccoons, as well as a North Carolina church kitchen turned popular local restaurant.

Flour, water, salt, chicken, and lard are just the beginning when it comes to fried chicken. These basic ingredients lay the foundation for customization — whether it’s a vinegar-based marinade, cayenne, or even maple-honey butter. The possibilities are (actually) endless. Everyone’s got their favorite, so if your preferred establishment didn’t make this year’s cut, let us know by leaving a comment.

We’ve listed the best of the best here, so be sure to consult our slideshow for the next time that you stray from your mom’s recipe.

[ Fat Guy Note :  I've added a good down-home course or two near each fried chicken stop.  We'll work our way east, from the West coast through the Southwest and the heartland on up to the Northeast, making our final destination the Southeastern U.S., the region that invented fried chicken .]

Ma’Ono Fried Chicken & Whisky: Seattle
Ma’Ono is the re-vamped version of Seattle favorite Spring Hill, known for its wildly popular Fried Chicken Mondays. The new-and-improved concept is in the same location, featuring the same chef, Mark Fuller, but with a Hawaii-inspired menu that features fried chicken every night of the week, served alongside kimchee, rice, and dipping sauces. And for those with green sensibilities, you can rest assured that your chickens were raised naturally in Mt. Vernon, Wash. Don’t forget to check out their exhaustive list of whiskeys to wash down all of the fried chicken.

Honorable Mentions:
Ezell’s Famous Chicken: Seattle (Widely known as Oprah’s favorite fried chicken spot)
The Kingfish Café: Seattle
Chicken Valley: Seattle

Simpatica Dining Hall: Portland, Ore.
Known for using the freshest ingredients and for butchering their meats on the premises, Simpatica is dedicated to expertly executing dishes from start to finish — so, it is no surprise that its fried chicken has become a favorite. Although the menu changes weekly, diners anxiously wait for the fried chicken to come up in the regular rotation. The signature dish is often paired with gravy and biscuits or waffles for brunch.

Honorable Mention:
Pine State Biscuits: Portland, Ore.

New Golden Daisy: San Francisco
We often think of fried chicken being a Southern delicacy, but this Chinese restaurant has managed to adapt the old classic into something newly delicious — and incredibly addicting. New Golden Daisy serves platters full of their famous fried chicken drumsticks for just about $5 a pound and fans of this place can’t get enough. The skin is perfectly crispy with hints of ginger, garlic, and scallion, and the meat is tender and moist. SF Weekly recognized New Golden Daisy for its surprisingly flavorful drummettes that stand out amongst the rest of the menu, so next time you’re in San Francisco, be sure to stop by for a pound or two or three of these exquisite little chicken bites.

Honorable Mentions:
Ad Hoc: Yountville, Calif.
Little Skillet: San Francisco

Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles: Los Angeles
This late-night spot has been serving up fried chicken and waffles since 1975, and has since expanded into a small local chain of restaurants. The list of celebrity diners is endless (which is no surprise considering its Los Angeles locale), but the regulars include Snoop Dogg and Larry King — even President Obama made a pit stop at Roscoe’s during a visit to Los Angeles. The chicken is fried fresh to order and make sure to ask for your waffles to be cooked extra-crispy to avoid the potential for sogginess.

Honorable Mentions:
Son of a Gun: Los Angeles

Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill: Las Vegas
The Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill, a work of chefs and restaurateurs Bruce and Eric Bromberg, is located in The Cosmopolitan resort and casino. Their rendition of the comfort classic — an ultra-crunchy fried chicken made with matzo meal crust and served with wasabi and honey — was featured in Food & Wine’s "Best Fried Chicken in the U.S."

Jus Cookin’: Lakewood, Colo.
Fried chicken might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re in Colorado, but the family-owned and operated Jus Cookin’ has been discretely serving up some of the nation’s best from its unassuming "little yellow farmhouse" location in Lakewood. The chicken is hand-breaded, prepared to order, and served with Southern fixin’s on the side, and Food & Wine voted Jus Cookin’s chicken the 23rd best fried chicken in the United States. Owners Steve and Char Modlich have been making their chicken this way since 1988, and their family-centered approach makes for an authentic and delicious dining experience. Jus Cookin’s humble yet hearty meals have drawn the likes of Katie Couric in for dinner, and the favorite order of former Rockies pitcher and Jus Cookin’ regular Aaron Cook? That fried chicken.

Honorable Mentions:
Tom’s Home Cookin’: Denver
White Fence Farm: Denver

Alpine Inn: Omaha, Neb.
Alpine Inn might seem unassuming based on the building's exterior, but their fried half-chickens served with large potato wedges should not be overlooked. In business for more than 40 years, the spot (which doubles as a biker bar at night) has been known to feed the roughly 50 local raccoons their leftover chicken scraps. But don’t be scared off by their furry friends — we promise this dish is worth it.

Chicken Annie’s: Pittsburg, Kan.
Chicken Annie’s is known throughout Pittsburg, Kan., for its signature fried chicken and guaranteed hospitality. The restaurant started from humble beginnings. When founder Ann Pichler’s husband was injured in a coal mine accident in 1934, she began serving fried chicken out of their home to support the family. Word quickly spread of the delicious fried chicken, and in 1972 the restaurant moved from the home to its present building. Now, the family continues the tradition of excellent food and warm hospitality with their "thin crust" fried chicken and famous home-battered onion rings. Chicken Annie's was on Travel Channel's Food Wars in 2010 against another restaurant on our list, Chicken Mary’s.

Chicken Mary’s: Pittsburg, Kan.
Located directly next door to above restaurant, Chicken Mary’s delivers fried chicken to the Pittsburg, Kan. area. At 65 years old, this local favorite is very similar to Chicken Annie’s. Mary Zerngast started the restaurant after her husband was no longer able to work in the mines. Both Chicken Mary's and Chicken Annie's are known for their home-battered onion rings, but the difference between the two restaurants comes down to the chicken — Chicken Mary’s is more breaded than Chicken Annie’s and has a crispier quality. Locals are constantly at odds about which neighborhood joint is better, but both are so good they had to make our list.

Stroud’s: Kansas City, Mo.
In business since 1933, Stroud’s is known for their famous pan-fried-to-order chicken served out of "an expanded 1829 log cabin and farm house." The establishment has won multiple awards, like the James Beard Award for Excellence in the "Home Style Category." and has been featured in The New York Times, Bon Appétit, and Gourmet over the years. Along with the chicken, customers rave about the mashed potatoes and cinnamon rolls — decadent additions to a meal, but certainly worth the extra calories.

Harold’s Chicken Shack: Chicago
Known as President Obama’s favorite fried chicken place in Chicago, Harold’s has become a small local chain as it has expanded due to popularity. But despite having numerous locations across the city, Harold’s never sacrifices the quality it’s known for. The chicken comes simply with white bread and hot sauce, and there are no frills about it — but with a product that tastes this outstanding on its own, there are no embellishments needed.

Honorable Mentions:
Crisp: Chicago
Big Jones: Chicago
Eat ‘N Run: Chicago
Gourmet Fried Chicken: Chicago

Hollyhock Hill: Indianapolis
Hollyhock Hill is a Midwest country-style restaurant that prides itself on creating a welcoming environment for all its patrons. Since it opened in 1928, Hollyhock has grown from a 30-guest restaurant to one that holds 70 guests and finally to its 150-seat location in Indianapolis, where it is today. Though Hollyhock has undergone changes over the years, it still makes food from the original 1928 recipes using the founders’ techniques and philosophies. Its fried chicken, dubbed "Hoosier pan-fried chicken," can be ordered in-store or for takeout, and customers can choose from chicken breasts, thighs, legs, wings, livers, and gizzards, all fried to perfection.

Belgrade Gardens: Barberton, Ohio
Belgrade Gardens may boast that it has the greatest chicken in the world — and with good reason. Located in Barberton, Ohio (a suburb of Akron), and open since 1933, this spot serves a special style of fried chicken called "Barberton Chicken," which means that it is fried in lard and has a distinctive shape and color. They serve their chicken the old-fashioned way, with customers having the choice between wings, drumettes, breasts, legs, thighs, and backs. You can be sure none their precious chicken goes to waste.

Honorable Mention:
Milich’s Village Inn: Barberton, Ohio

Hattie’s Restaurant: Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Though it is more than 70 years old and located in upstate New York, Hattie’s has managed to retain its historic, Southern charm. The restaurant has stayed true to its Southern-comfort feel with a swinging screen door, checkered tablecloths, and most importantly, its authentic menu. Hattie’s serves up traditional dishes like Creole jambalaya and gumbo of the day, but it is most famous for its fried chicken, which is prepared exactly the same as it was in 1938. Hattie’s fried chicken was even featured on Bobby Flay’s Food Network show Throwdown and proved on national television that its fried chicken rocks.

Trina’s Starlite Lounge: Boston
Trina’s has a lot of things going for it, as one of Boston’s quirkier eateries featuring delicious, creative renditions of a dizzying variety of cuisines and cocktails. Since 2009, people have been drawn to the vintage-noir, vaguely Southern vibe of the place, but others head to Trina’s for its famous chicken and waffles, which got the restaurant named one of Bon Appétit magazine’s 2010 top 10 places for fried chicken in the country. Head chef Suzanne Maitland tops a buttermilk waffle with a piece or two of fried chicken and drizzles it with hot-pepper maple syrup. Paired with a signature Trina’s brunch cocktail (like maple bourbon), this $14 meal is not one to miss. Thankfully, even overworked restaurant industry employees can enjoy a leisurely brunch at Trina’s — they host a special "industry brunch" from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Monday to cater to industry schedules.

Honorable Mentions:
Summer Shack: Boston
Highland Kitchen: Somerville, Mass.

Pies 'n' Thighs: Brooklyn, N.Y.
The fried chicken at this Williamsburg gem is seasoned liberally with black pepper, cayenne, and paprika, making for a potent and flavorful golden-brown crust. The atmosphere is laid-back, yet charming, with small tables and enough seating for only a few lucky guests at a time. The flaky homemade biscuits and rotating selection of pies make for outstanding accompaniments to the juicy, expertly executed chicken.

Honorable Mentions:
Momofuku Noodle Bar: New York City
Charles’ Country Pan-Fried Chicken: New York City
Beppe: New York City
Blue Smoke: New York City
New Caporal: New York City
The Dutch: New York City

Resurrection Ale House: Philadelphia
Named by Bon Appétit as one of the best places for fried chicken, this self-defined "neighborhood beer bistro" in Philly has been serving up twice-fried chicken with a spiced honey drizzle and a side of cornbread since 2009. Run by chef Joey Chmiko, this gastropub has mastered one of the world’s finest combinations — fried chicken and beer.

Honorable Mentions:
Supper: Philadelphia
Ms. Tootsie’s Restaurant Bar Lounge: Philadelphia
Federal Donuts: Philadelphia

Birch & Barley: Washington, D.C.
Located near Logan Circle in Washington, D.C., Birch & Barley bases its diverse and deceptively simple dishes around the complex flavors of its collection of 555 artisanal beers. Since 2009, it’s been serving a wide variety of styles and flavors, including a fair share of fried delights. Some might be drawn to the ginger cheesecake, but the real treat is the fried chicken and waffles with buttered pecans and maple-chicken jus served during brunch. Food & Wine rated it as some of the best fried chicken in the nation, and named chef Kyle Bailey the People’s Best New Chef Mid-Atlantic. Famous patrons who couldn’t resist some down-home cookin’ include Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, Kevin Blackistone, and Pauly Shore. It must be the sweet/savory balance that Birch & Barley so skillfully strikes, with its heavily breaded, flavorful chicken and the hearty pecan-waffle combination.

Honorable Mentions:
Central Michel Richard: Washington, D.C.
Cork Market & Tasting Room: Washington, D.C.

Mama Dip’s Country Cooking Restaurant: Chapel Hill, N.C.
In 1976, Mildred Council, known as Mama Dip, opened her restaurant in Chapel Hill, N.C., with just $64 to her name. When her food sold out in just a few hours, she knew she had something special, and Mama Dip’s Country Cooking Restaurant was born. Her goal is to create a comfortable environment and serve up food that reminds customers of home. Mama Dip learned to cook by watching family members in the kitchen, using no recipes and just eyeballing measurements until the meals came out perfectly. Her fried chicken, one of the best-selling items on the menu, is from an old family tradition and the recipe can be found in her Mama Dip’s Kitchen cookbook.

Whole Truth Lunchroom: Wilson, N.C.
The Whole Truth Lunchroom is pretty bare bones, but who needs frills when you have fried chicken like theirs? It began as a lunchroom for the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith in Wilson, N.C., and eventually opened as a full-service restaurant in a building that is owned by the church. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a traditional restaurant, but the chicken, banana pudding, and sweet potato pie will definitely not disappoint.

Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack: Nashville, Tenn.
Located in Nashville, Prince’s Hot Chicken is widely recognized as one of the best dives for fried chicken. The chicken is available in four different levels of spice — mild, medium, and hot, and extra hot, but unlike chicken wings that are dripping in sauce, Prince’s chicken is generously seasoned and fried to perfection.

Honorable Mention:
Bailey and Cato: Nashville, Tenn.
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken: Nashville, Tenn.

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken: Mason and Memphis, Tenn.
The original Gus’s is in Mason, with a second location in the nearby city of Memphis — both locations take their time when it comes to frying chicken, often taking twice as long to complete an order than the estimated time, but the wait is nothing once you take a bite of the heavenly chicken. The golden-brown crust on the outside locks in the juicy exterior, just as it should, and the seasoning of salt and cayenne shines through. So kick back at a gingham tablecloth-covered table, listen to the tunes playing from the jukebox, and await the arrival of a meal well worth it.

Cardamom Hill: Atlanta
Cardamom Hill serves southwestern Indian-style cuisine, and their Kerala-style (in reference to the mountainous spice-growing region of India) fried chicken is something to write home about. Chef Asha Gomez told Lee Schrager in an interview published on The Daily Meal that her mother’s cooking inspired her to make the coconut oil and fried curry leaf dish. With chicken that is "as beloved in South India as in the American South," Cardamom Hill is a go-to spot for an Indian twist on a Southern classic.

Honorable Mentions:
Mary Mac’s Tea Room: Atlanta, Ga.
Greenwood’s: Roswell, Ga.
Restaurant Eugene: Atlanta
Colonnade: Atlanta
Holeman & Finch: Atlanta

Harue Café: Atlanta Jestine’s Kitchen: Charleston, S.C.
Jestine’s often has lines trailing out the door, which has led some naysayers to dismiss the spot as a "tourist trap" — whatever your opinion, Jestine’s fried chicken is worth the wait. It’s been lauded as not only the best in the city, but also in the state, the world, the galaxy, and even the universe. The fried chicken served here is traditional, pure Southern comfort, and is available in all-white and all-dark meat orders. The kitchen serves up all things thoroughly Southern, and both Rachael Ray and Anthony Bourdain have graced its seats. Jestine’s made Food Network’s "Best Of," Oprah Magazine’s "O’s Charleston’s Travel Guide," and it received the Reader’s Choice Award from Southern Living magazine in 2009. The kitchen is named after Jestine Matthews, who kept house and cooked for generations of owner Dana Berlin’s family. She lived until the age of 112, proving that no amount of fried-chicken indulgence is guaranteed to do you in.

Honorable Mentions:
Husk: Charleston, S.C.

Martha Lou’s Kitchen: Charleston, S.C. Magnum Restaurant & Lounge: Miami
Not many piano bars can boast about having the best fried chicken in the city. But in Miami, Magnum Restaurant and Lounge is the exception. In 2010, they won "Best Fried Chicken" in Miami from New York Times and CBS Miami, thanks to none other than the owner’s mother herself. Jeffery Landsman, owner of Magnum, and Miami food lover, uses his mother’s fried chicken recipe to bring the piano bar’s famous dish to life. The chicken is crusted in a robust combination of flour, salt, garlic, and secret spices, fried, and served atop creamy mashed potatoes with Southern gravy and steamed vegetables.

Honorable Mentions:
Joe’s Stone Crabs: Miami
Yardbird: Miami Beach

Café Dupont: Birmingham, Ala.
Café Dupont offers a "fresh perspective on regional ingredients," using organic foods and fresh produce to create a menu bursting with traditional flavors and contemporary flair. Owner and chef Chris Dupont, a New Orleans native, is the mastermind behind Café Dupont’s eclectic menu and has developed strong relationships with local farmers to help fuel his dishes. In 2005, Café Dupont’s fried chicken was ranked number 13 on the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel's list of 100 Dishes You Must Eat in Alabama. This might come as no surprise, however, because this is not your average fried chicken. Dupont serves buttermilk-fried chicken with a lemon basil sauce, served atop warm creamed potatoes. Sounds like award-winning fried chicken to us!

Two Sisters Kitchen: Jackson, Miss.
In a charming two-story Southern house, Two Sisters Kitchen opened in 1989 and has been serving up fried chicken and other Southern favorites ever since. The favorite dishes at Two Sisters Kitchen are endless, from the macaroni and cheese to the bread pudding, but ultimately the fan favorite is the Southern-style fried chicken. All of the favorites are available daily during a lunch buffet. Make sure to leave room for dessert – it’s included!

Honorable Mention:
Julep Restaurant: Jackson, Miss.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House: New Orleans
Miss Willie Mae has been serving up mind-blowing fried chicken from a shack attached to her home for more than 30 years. The low-key operation remained a local treasure until 2005 when the James Beard Foundation honored it with its "American Classic" award and let the rest of the nation in on the secret. A few weeks after winning the award, Willie Mae’s Scotch House was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, so members of the Southern Foodways Alliance pulled together to rebuild the cherished chicken establishment. Mae’s great-granddaughter runs the Scotch House now, upholding the same dedication to unadulterated Southern cuisine that the restaurant is so well known for.

Honorable Mentions:
McHardy’s Chicken & Fixin’: New Orleans
Jacques-Imo’s: New Orleans
Coop’s Place: New Orleans
Café Reconcile: New Orleans
Venessa’s Funky Fried Chicken/Cajun Moon Catering: New Orleans

Fearing’s: Dallas
Located in The Ritz-Carlton Dallas, Fearing’s features modern Southwestern-American cuisine with a farm-to-table approach (think barbecued duck tamales or antelope with a cactus pear glaze). But the real treat comes during the weekend brunch, which features Granny Fearing’s "Paper Bag Shook" Fried Chicken — an authentic version of the Southern classic. Choose from one of the many dining venues on-site, from the outdoor patio to the more upscale Gallery; if you’re dining chef-side in Dean’s Kitchen, or at the Chef’s Table, look for the ebullient chef Dean Fearing himself, who is often present.

Honorable Mentions:
Babe’s Chicken Dinner House: Roanoke, Texas
Bubba’s Cooks Country: Dallas

Barbecue Inn: Houston
The Barbecue Inn has been a part of the Skrehot family tradition for more than 65 years. The restaurant promises customers that at least one Skrehot is present at all times, and this definitely helps to ensure that their award-winning fried chicken is up to par. Food & Wine, Eater.com, and Fox all recognized The Barbecue Inn for having the best fried chicken in the U.S., and we have to agree. This chicken is uniquely cooked to the diner’s liking, with a crispy, flavorful encrusting of the tender, juicy chicken meat. Unlike many deep-fried chicken dishes in the area, The Barbecue Inn’s chicken isn’t dripping in grease, making it even more appealing. It’s no wonder why they’ve been in business since 1946: who wouldn’t want incredible fried chicken without the guilt?!

Honorable Mention:
Frenchy’s Chicken: Houston
Breakfast Klub: Houston

Max’s Wine Dive: Austin, Texas
"Fried chicken and champagne? … Why the hell not?!" That is the question. It’s also the slogan of this Texas joint. The Austin location features a casual, industrial décor and top-notch food from chef Erica Beneke. Don’t miss their house-made jalapeño- and buttermilk-marinated chicken, deep-fried slow and low, served with mashed potatoes, collard greens, and Texas toast.

The Best Thing I Ever Ate - Fried Chicken

Food Network

Food Network recently did an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate featuring nothing but their favorite fried chicken joints.  I've added a couple places I know about, along with a good Americana course nearby.

"It's crispy, succulent, juicy, greasy, tender and ohhh sooo good. We're talkin' FRIED CHICKEN and some of your favorite Food Network stars including Alton Brown, Claire Robinson, and Michael Symon reveal where they go for the best version of this classic finger lickin' dish."

The Old Country Store
18801 Highway 61 South
Lorman, MS 39096
(601) 437-3661

You know you're in the Deep South when the closest place to play golf is named Beau Pre' Country Club ( www.beauprecc.com , Natchez).  This semi-private course meaners over rolling terrain, with tree-lined holes and Tif-Eagle greens.  The last 4 holes play along a creek beneath a giant red clay bluff.  And the greens fees are only $60 prime time.

Babe’s Chicken Dinner House
104 North Oak
Roanoke, TX 76262
(817) 491-2900
www.babeschicken.com

This is a great spot, because you're only a little over an hour from downtown Dallas, yet far enough out in the Texas outlands that you can play a Golf Digest 4-star Robert Trent Jones Jr. design like Sky Creek Ranch ( www.skycreekranch.com , Keller) for just $69 in prime time.  Jones crafted this gem in the old style, moving as little earth as possible, routing the course over the natural contours.  He still managed to craft a layout with sweeping panoramic vistas, lush foliage, fairways framed by stately oaks, and numerous doglegs.  Big Bear Creek comes into play on 16 holes, in addition to numerous lakes and tributaries.

Ms. Tootsie's Restaurant Bar Lounge
1314 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 731-9045
www.kevenparker.net

Combine the soul from Ms. Tootsie's kitchen with Philly's American Bandstand heritage and shake your tailfeathers out to Paxon Hollow GC ( , Media) in the suburbs.  This hilly adventure has a few cramped holes, but it'll challenge your ball-striking and course management on nearly every hole.  Paxon has a little bit of everything, from tight hard doglegs to bowling alley fairways on tree-lined short-par 4's to sweeping roundabout par-5's with counter-cantered corners to a severe downhill par-3 over a creek.  A fun challenge, but on weekends be ready to play the 18th under the watchful eye of a wedding reception crowd from the clubhouse balcony.

Gus's Fried Chicken
505 Highway 70 W
Mason, TN 38049
(901) 294-2028

A half-hour Northeast of Memphis, head over to StoneBridge ( www.stonebridgegolf.com , Lakeland).  A classic routing over easy elevation changes, with numerous approach shots over pond cut-outs.  And you'll be able to afford plenty of fried chicken at Gus's, since prime time greens fees are under $50.

Mrs. White's Golden Rule Café
808 E. Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034
(602) 262-9256
www.mrswhitesgoldenrulecafe.com

You're in the golfing mecca of Phoenix, so buck up for some quality desert target golf at Legacy ( www.shellhospitality.com , $99-$119).  This Gary Pranks design routed through the resort is surrounded by native structures and monuments, and has hosted an LPGA tournament.

Hill Country Chicken
1123 Broadway
New York, NY 10010
212-257-6446
www.hillcountrychicken.com

After fried chicken at a place named Hill Country, you gotta tee it up at Bethpage's Red Course .  A worth sister to it's more famous U.S. Open host Black, the Red is just about as tough at half the price.

The Wilkes House
107 W Jones St
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 232-5997 www.mrswilkes.com

Golf Magazine's Travelin' Joe digs Wilmington Island Golf Club (912-897-1612, www.wilmingtonislandclub.com ) a 1927 Donald Ross design that's dotted with mature pines and live oaks and goes for just $69, which includes cart and range balls. It's open to outside play all day Tuesday-Friday and after 12:30 p.m. on the weekend.

Cha Cha Chicken
1906 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405-1044
(310) 581-1684
www.chachachicken.com

Links Magazine digs nearby Brookside Golf Club. Billy Bell Sr. designed 36 holes at this facility in the shadow of the Rose Bowl. Opt for the No. 1 (Koiner) course if you only have time for one round.

Fat Guy Recommendations :

Food Network and Bon Appetite love the fried chicken at Willie May's Scotch House in New Orleans.  In a category all its own, Audubon Park Golf Course , an 1898 urban landmark operated by the Audubon Nature Institute, is not to be missed. The course, which occupies eighty-one acres off St. Charles Avenue, survived the hurricane because, like the French Quarter, it sits on high land known as "the sliver by the river." A $6 million renovation in 2002 has turned it into a 4,200-yard, par-sixty-two delight. Laugh not; this is serious fun. Twelve par threes, four par fours and two par fives make this honest, oak-lined layout a singular experience. Think three-hour rounds, smooth greens, an engaging Glaswegian who works in the pro shop, and a renowned zoo next door.

You can't have a fried chicken golf trail without heading for the original Kentucky Fried Chicken store .  KFC's original recipe has defined fried chicken for millions of Americans.  The Colonel opened his first store, "Sanders Court & Cafe", in 1930 in the small front room of a Standard Oil gas station.  He invented the recipe in 1940, and by 1952 he was marketing KFC franchises.  Head for the original Kentucky Fried Chicken in Corbin, Kentucky ( www.corbinkentucky.us/sanderscafe.htm ).  Play nearby Sweet Hollow Resort's 9-holer ( www.sweethollowresort.com ) for the price of a couple buckets of chicken.

The South's Best Fried Chicken
From roadside shacks to highfalutin eateries, these top fried chicken restaurants have us fowl-mouthed and begging for seconds.

Story by Philip Malkus, Southern Living Magazine, 7/13

Southern food, despite persistent stereotypes, is about so much more than fried chicken. We revel in Louisiana gumbos and Lowcountry pilaus, oysters from Apalachicola and apple stack cake from the Appalachians. But let’s face it: We do love our browned bird, and our cooks excel at it. The seeming simplicity of fried chicken makes it a culinary tabula rasa open to interpretation. There are the basic variances: White meat or dark? Pan-fried or deep-fried? Marinated in buttermilk, brined, both, or seasoned only with salt and pepper? More broadly, though, the dish’s universality allows it to preen in every facet of our restaurant culture—from obscure soul food joints to white tablecloth pantheons, and at time-honored cafes as well as mom-and-pops that reflect the gamut of global cuisines arriving in our region. In the gospel of bird, we can honor tradition and herald change equally. This is our snapshot of Southern fried chicken right now, in all its many fine-feathered guises.

Down-home Classic Fried Chicken
The come-as-you-are golden (brown) standard

BARBECUE INN | Houston, Texas
Sure, this beloved time warp (in business since 1946) offers ribs and brisket, but don’t let the name mislead: The kitchen’s fryers trump its barbecue pits. Take a seat in one of the candy-apple red leatherette booths at the family-run establishment and savor the greaseless, cocoa-hued crust that flakes off the chicken in rippling shards, revealing flawlessly seasoned meat beneath. thebarbecueinn.com

GUS’S FRIED CHICKEN | Mason, Tennessee
Franchises in Memphis, Nashville, and other cities are spreading the Gus’s gospel. Make the pilgrimage, though, to the original location in Mason, opened in 1953 about 45 miles from Memphis, for the juke joint vibe and the crusty, copper-colored bird, seasoned with a secret recipe that has a hot and spicy kick. 901/294-2028

MARTHA LOU’S KITCHEN | Charleston, South Carolina
Lightly dredged in flour and dipped in milk batter, then submerged in peanut oil until bronzed, chicken fried to order is the one menu mainstay at the bubblegum-pink soul food shack run by Martha “Lou” Gadsden and her daughter, Debra, since 1983. They cut steam vents into leg and breast meat to reduce the frying time to 20 minutes. The don’t-miss sides: peppery, meaty lima beans and sultry okra stew. 843/577-9583

WILLIE MAE’S SCOTCH HOUSE | New Orleans, Louisiana
Rebuilt by volunteers after Katrina, this Treme ’hood icon began as a bar in 1957. Willie Mae Seaton’s wet-batter method creates a coating that hugs each piece, holding in the juices until the first shattering bite. 504/822-9503

New Classic Fried Chicken
Hip new joints with old-school flavor

BEASLEY’S CHICKEN + HONEY | Raleigh, North Carolina
Ashley Christensen, the toast of Raleigh’s dining scene, uses newfangled pressure fryers to timeless effect: Her mottled, crackly fried chicken induces sentimental sighs. A drizzle of honey (which comes standard, though you can ask for it on the side) is an ode to Ashley’s father, a hobbyist beekeeper. Order buttermilk biscuits to complete the feast. ac-restaurants.com/beasleys

LITTLE DONKEY | Birmingham, Alabama
Southern charm with a dash of Mexican chiles: A paste of dried arbols and other fiery peppers infuses the bird while it brines, which registers as a mellow, earthy heat rather than a lashing blaze. Splash the nubbly crust with a house-made vinegar made from morita and habanero peppers, and pair the chicken with elotes: corn on the cob speckled with crumbly Cotija cheese. thelittledonkey.com

MAX’S WINE DIVE | Multiple cities in Texas
Fried chicken infused with earthy-spicy jalapeño and tangy buttermilk headlines the menu of retooled comfort foods at Max’s, which has locations in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. (We’re partial to the funky-fun, brick-walled Austin outpost.) Staffers wear T-shirts that say, “Fried chicken and Champagne…why the hell not?” Sure enough, a glass of sparkly Perrier-Jouët tempers the bird’s unctuousness brilliantly. maxswinedive.com

YARDBIRD SOUTHERN TABLE & BAR | Miami Beach, Florida
In a city best known for Cuban empanadas and Jewish delis, this bustling hot spot, with its dining room lined in smoky woods, finally brings the South to south Beach. The bar stocks 75 bourbons—and makes seductive bourbon-fueled cocktails, including an invigorating mint julep—to prime your palate before chowing down on a brined half-bird enveloped in a smooth, russet coating that clings to the meat. runchickenrun.com

Upscale Fried Chicken
White tablecloth spots that aren’t afraid of a grease stain

HARVEST | Louisville, Kentucky
At this rustic-chic restaurant with pictures of smiling local farmers on the wall, Coby Lee Ming cooks food mostly grown and raised within 100 miles—including fowl from nearby ranches and flour milled in Kentucky to make her pepper-flecked fried chicken. She arranges an airline cut (breast with wing attached) over a fluffy hoecake or savory bread pudding in a pool of milk-and-cream gravy and with a slick of homemade hot sauce sweetened with beets or carrots. harvestlouisville.com

WATERSHED ON PEACHTREE | Atlanta, Georgia
A new kitchen staff (helmed by Louisiana native Joe Truex), revamped menu, and relocation to Atlanta’s tony Buckhead community gave Watershed a slick makeover. But the fried chicken, made only on Wednesday nights and always sold out by 8 p.m., is the same brined, buttermilk-soaked, lard-and butter-simmered recipe that brought fame to the restaurant under Scott Peacock over a decade ago. watershedrestaurant.com

FEARING’S | Dallas, Texas
At Sunday brunch, Dean Fearing turns out his granny’s “paper bag shook” cast-iron skillet-fried chicken. The chicken, brined in apple cider and coated with a gossamer crust, sidles up to whipped potatoes, long-simmered bacony green beans, and luscious smoked tomato gravy. Ask to sit in the Sendero, the restaurant’s romantic, glass-walled room perfect for a languid meal. fearingsrestaurant.com

International Fried Chicken
Jet-set fryers packed with herbs and spices

AL ASEEL GRILL AND CAFE | Houston, Texas
Garlic and za’atar—a Middle Eastern spice blend that includes sesame seeds, sumac, and thyme—lend exotic zing to the chicken fried to order at this low-key Palestinian restaurant, a standout among the global eats along the city’s diverse, bar-heavy Richmond Strip. 713/787-0400

CARDAMOM HILL | Atlanta, Georgia
In a dining room regal with carved-wood walls and silk-covered partitions, Asha Gomez serves boneless, delicately battered chicken thighs imbued with the spices of her native Southern India: tiny black mustard seeds, citrusy fried curry leaves, and a tropical whiff of coconut oil. You can order a gluten-free variation made with rice flour, which imbues extra crunch. cardamomhill.net

SOO CAFE | Raleigh, North Carolina
Hanging wooden trinkets and plastic plants decorate this cozy storefront that specializes in the other “KFC”: Korean fried chicken. A half or whole bird is fried to intense crispness and then coated in one of three sauces: sweet, hot and spicy, or, our favorite, a sticky, fragrant soy-garlic glaze. 919/834-2244

Fair-Feathered Trend: Nashville Hot Chicken
Spicy Buffalo wings have nothing on Nashville-style fried chicken, slathered with cayenne-laced paste. The beloved specialty started in the 1930s with Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack (615/226-9442), where diners wait in line for mild (fiery for most), medium (expect tears), hot (pure masochism), or extra-hot, which the staff won’t even hand over to first-timers. Newcomer Hattie B’s ( www.hattieb.com ) also offers four degrees of heat, though they don’t quite climb the Scoville scale so mercilessly. And upscale restaurants now create their own riffs: The Catbird Seat ( www.thecatbirdseatrestaurant.com ) hands out an opening snack homage of cayenne-spiked fried chicken skins gussied up with dill salt and mind-bending Wonder Bread puree.

Fair-Feathered Trend: Chicken and Waffles
The origins of coupling bird with griddled hotcake are murky. In the last few years, though, Southern restaurants have adopted the dish wholeheartedly. The combo makes for a soulful breakfast at B-Side ( www.b-sidebrunch.com ), a Little Rock joint that stacks made-to-order wedges with a boneless chicken breast. The sweet-savory duo translates to fine dining just as seamlessly: Richmond newcomer Mansion Five 26 ( www.hippodromerichmond.com ) serves a plump fried breast over a fluffy, concentric waffle. And the dish’s straightforward appeal begs for embellishment: Palm Beach Garden’s Coolinary Cafe ( www.coolinarycafe.com ) gilds a jalapeño-cheddar waffle and buttermilk-marinated chicken with coleslaw, grilled lemon, and maple-Dijon glaze.