BEST FRIED CHICKEN - 2001
In the car, listening to the radio, heard some rich, famous foodie types insisting that the best fried chicken in the country is in Kansas City, at a place called Stroud's. Nearly drove the car off the High Bridge. Was at Stroud's not six months ago: Lucille Williams's chicken makes Stroud's chicken seem downright flabby. Floppy. Shabby, even. Lucille's fried chicken is an all-afternoon affair: show up, order, wait half an hour for it to fry, when it comes out (cayenne and seasonings driven into the skin as relentlessly as starlight penetrates the sky) say a prayer, and bottoms up. Meat so tender, skin so crisp, if you're not having this chicken at least once a year, there's something seriously wrong with your life. Take that first bite and your legs go numb. By the time you're done, you might up and quit your job. Please note that this fried chicken--$7.25 a dark-meat quarter, $8.25 for white meat--comes in the classic meat-and-three combination: cornbread and your choice of tooth-achingly delectable sweet potatoes, creamy mac and cheese, deeply flavored greens, and even--on Sundays--cornbread dressing. Continue to ignore this fried chicken at your peril.