Fried chicken plentiful in Wichita

In Wichita, you have to know where to go.

06/04/2010 6:51 AM

06/04/2010 6:51 AM

There's a reason, Chuck Giles says, that he goes through 1,000 pounds of chicken a week at Neighbors, his restaurant and bar at 2150 N. Amidon.

His fried chicken is famous in Wichita — known for its golden, crispy skin and juicy meat.

Giles prepares fried chicken the hard way — frying it in lard in a cast-iron skillet only after someone has ordered it.

It's a time-consuming, messy process, Giles said, but it's the only way to fry chicken, as far as he's concerned.

"There's nobody that does that anymore because it's so much work and it makes such a mess — there's so much flour and grease in the air," Giles said. "But in my opinion, it's definitely worth it if you like fried chicken."

And most red-blooded Americans do like fried chicken, a comfort food favorite worth every calorie and fat gram.

It's not always easy to find it on restaurant menus, though. Kansas is full of famous fried chicken places, from Chicken Annie's and Chicken Mary's in Crawford County to Al's Chickenette in Hays.

But in Wichita, you have to know where to go.

Besides Neighbors, where else — short of KFC, Church's and Popeye's — can diners find fried chicken?

Following is a list of Wichita restaurants and diners that offer it.

* Da Louisiana Chicken & Waffle House, 1412 E. Ninth St., and Da Louisiana Chicken & Waffle House #2, 1555 Bluffview: These restaurants serve fried chicken, with or without the famous waffles.

* Fat Ernie's, 2806 S. Hydraulic: This hidden gem of a diner serves fried chicken daily, along with chicken livers, chicken-fried steak, chicken-fried chicken and more.

* Lillie Mae's, 206 E. Kellogg: The diner serves both panfried chicken and chicken and dumplings as the daily special on Thursdays.

* Neighbors, 2150 N. Amidon: This neighborhood bar and grill has pan-fried chicken daily and offers a special on fried chicken dinners — complete with mashed potatoes, green beans and a salad — on Sundays.

* Riverside Cafe, 739 W. 13th St. and 924 S. Woodlawn: This local diner, which now has two locations, serves pan-fried chicken as its special every Friday.

* Stroud's: Stroud's is one of Wichita's most established fried chicken places, serving it (and fried chicken-friendly sides) family style.

Famous Kansas fried chicken

* Chicken Annie's, 1143 E. 600th Ave., Pittsburg

* Chicken Mary's, 1133 E. 600th Ave., Pittsburg

* Wheatland Cafe, 112 N. Main St., Hudson

* Brookville Hotel, 105 E. Lafayette, Abilene

* Al's Chickenette, 700 Vine St., Hays

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