The Standard’s Arts & Culture desk has seen its fair share of harebrained Hallmark Holidays. National Popcorn Day? That’s Jan. 23. World UFO Day? Why, that was this past Saturday.
Since we like to think of ourselves as serious journalists, we tend to ignore the deluge of shameless, late-stage capitalist marketing ploys clogging our inboxes. But sometimes we just can’t resist.
Being that today is (apparently) National Fried Chicken Day, we’ve rounded up a greasy handful of crispy poultry options for your snacking pleasure.
What follows is by no means a complete list, though we hope it will aid you in deciding where you might go on your next lunch break.
Automat, Where Sweet Meets Spicy
1801 McAllister St. | automatsf.com
This NOPA eatery is the kind of neighborhood diner that Nob Hill bistros, if they’re paying attention, should envy. Cheerful and bustling, Automat has absorbed the old-school vibes of some of Kirk’s favorite San Francisco haunts—Art’s Cafe, Swan Oyster Depot, Red’s Java House. The daytime menu includes bagels, breads, and pastries that lead into lunch and you’ll barely be able to pick up the fried chicken sandwich, which is made with fried chicken thighs, hot maple crunch, seaweed aioli, slaw and served on a milk bun.
Mission Chinese’s Mouth-Numbing Wings With Explosive Chili
Lung Shan 2234 Mission St.
The fried chicken wings at Mission Chinese are made with hua jiao, a peppercorn indigenous to Sichuan province and famous for its numbing powers. Fried chicken connoisseurs will appreciate this Southern Chinese style-dish which burns—some might even say detonates—your taste buds like a deliciously explosive device. For anyone who considers themself a champion of spicy fried chicken, these wings are a great way to find out if you have what it takes to handle the heat.
Love Burn Chicken Sandos Bring That Fire
130 Northwood Dr., South San Francisco | loveburnchicken.com
Back in 2021, when TikTok helped KFC’s Nashville Hot flavor go viral, the founders of Love Burn in South San Francisco set out to go bigger than the Colonel by making the hottest chicken sandwich in the Bay Area. With spice offerings ranging from Level 0, for the faint of spice to “leave-you-on-the-floor” Level 4, patrons are invited to customize their mouth-searing adventure.
Love Burn’s chicken sandwiches come in multiple spice levels. | Courtesy Love Burn
Krispy Krunchy Puts the ‘Gas’ in Gastronomy
Various Locations | krispykrunchy.com/locations
Some may believe that the only time to eat at a place like Krispy Krunchy Chicken is after the bars close. But this Louisiana-born fried chicken chain—known for running its franchise locations from inside gas station convenience stores—isn’t just a place to smother your drunchies. Many contend that their cajun-inspired tenders leave both KFC and Popeyes in the dust. We recommend that the next time you stop by a Krispy Krunchy, you do so with a clear head and a cleansed palate.
Auntie April’s Sweet and Savory Tag Team
4618 3rd St | auntieaprilssf.com
If you’re a lover of sweet and savory, Auntie April’s is the spot for you. Their signature fluffy waffles and juicy fried chicken combo hold a special place in many locals’ stomachs. While there, be sure to sample their decadent mac and cheese, traditional collard greens and tender oxtails. There may be a line, but good things come to those who wait!
Frisco Fried Has Frisco Pride
5176 3rd Street | friscofried.biz
There’s nothing wrong with the word “Frisco.” Just ask Chef Marcel Banks of Frisco Fried. Located in the heart of the Bayview District, this Louisiana-style fried chicken can take up to 20 minutes to prepare, but it’s well worth the wait. Their motto is “fried with pride”—and it shows.
Camille Cohen/The Standard
Odumak Serves Binge-Worthy Korean Bar Food
733 Taraval St. | odumakusa.com
Odumak Korean Food and Bar serves a number of crunchy, tangy and saucy preparations of fried chicken—with flavors like Pah Dak and Garlic Mustard. Enjoy a side of their creamy and stretchy corn cheese or their fusion Bulbogi French Fries along with a bottle of Soju.
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