When it comes to down South cuisine, the first dish that erupts in the minds of visitors and locals alike is fried chicken. Its roots as the quintessential Southern dish run deep with almost every restaurant offering some variation of the crispy and flavorful entree. From crunchy offerings covered in savory gravy, to hot and spicy incarnations that'll knock your socks off, Atlanta is the epicenter for this awesome dish bringing instant culinary credibility to restaurants that do it justice. To that end, we're delivering our picks for the best finger-lickin' good fried chicken in ATL.

TRACE

Chicken and Waffles

http://www.traceatlanta.com

Of course, we couldn't very well consider ourselves a Southern farm-to-table restaurant without offering our own interpretation of this timeless favorite. Our chicken and waffles may be featured on our snacks menu, but the flavor definitely packs a big punch. Crunchy, savory and sweet meld together in one delicious bite by battering the chicken in waffle batter and frying to golden brown,  the kicker – SweetWater bacon syrup for dipping to keep the party going. A must try!

Watershed on Peachtree

Famous Fried Chicken

http://watershedrestaurant.com

Our neighbor up the street, Watershed, has made a name for itself with menu offerings highlighting the very best of Southern cuisine. Even after relocating from Decatur, their highly celebrated "Fried Chicken Night" came with them to the relief of long-time patrons. One night per week, Watershed turns into fried chicken central offering up the savory fave that's been brined and bathed in buttermilk for hours on end, fried to golden perfection and served with their flaky, buttery biscuits and Southern sides like mac and cheese.

Busy Bee Cafe

Busy Bee's Fried Chicken

http://thebusybeecafe.com

The oldest entry on this list is definitely a goodie. Yes, Busy Bee Cafe has been an Atlanta mainstay since 1947 presenting the Southern experience at its best — through meals that perfectly highlight the true soul of the South. The signature Busy Bee's fried chicken has been celebrated for decades and shines through with the simple, bare bones method it employs in preparation. Marinated for twelve hours, hand-breaded in seasoned flour and fried in peanut oil solidifies the crisp, golden crust. See for yourself and bite into it for a crunch that may wake the neighbors.

JCT Kitchen

JCT Fried Chicken

http://www.jctkitchen.com

A pioneer in age of new modern Southern cuisine is JCT Kitchen offering contemporary takes on dishes ingrained in the spirit of the region. With national acclaim, JCT's fried chicken stands out with aromatic bravado. More brining and buttermilk dips (see the trend here) make for a juicy cut of meat that's the perfect vehicle to be fried gloriously. Served with collards and housemade hot sauce, you make the decision on how spicy or tame things get.

South City Kitchen

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

http://midtown.southcitykitchen.com

The final entry in our fried chicken feast is South City Kitchen. The Fifth Group front runner for farm fresh fare (wow, say that five times fast) takes this savory guilty pleasure to awesome levels with accompaniments for both brunch and dinner. They're dedication to farm-to-table shows with the choice of Georgia favorite Springer Mountain Farms chicken that's seasoned, dredged in buttermilk and fried to perfection. Make it dinner with garlic collards, red bliss potatoes and honey-thyme jus, or wake up to the delectable taste paired with sweet waffle and Vermont maple syrup. Any way you bite is good with us!

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