The 9 Best Places for Fried Chicken in Grand Rapids (Local Picks)

best fried chicken grand rapids
Some fried chicken from one of my my favs – Juju Bird in Grand Rapids!

Fried chicken might be my favorite food of all time. It’s definitely up there. The juicy meat, the crispy skin, and the built-in handle of a drumstick. What’s not to like?

I’ve even fried chicken in my home (it turns out great, by the way, but your house will smell like an Arby’s for DAYS). Oh, and hot grease splatters everywhere.

You don’t want your home to smell like Arby’s. Leave the frying to these restaurants, the best fried chicken places in Grand Rapids.

Map of the Best Fried Chicken in Grand Rapids, MI

The best fried chicken in Grand Rapids: Hancock

If there’s such a thing as the perfect fried chicken sandwich, Hancock’s got it. They top their classic Nashville hot chicken sandwich with all the usuals (mayo, iceberg lettuce, American cheese, and pickles), and it’s perfection in a bun. You can choose your own adventure with the spice level, available in hot, hotter, and hottest.

Add a side of waffle fries and feast in the large outdoor area. Play some yard games while the kitchen prepares your food.

  • Location: 1157 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • Website: Hancock

The best road trip fried chicken: The Southerner

People RAVE about the Southerner, and if you make the trip down there (approx. 45 minutes from GR), you’ll see why. The Southerner might have the best fried chicken in West Michigan.

They’ve got a good-sized menu, but I’ll save you the trouble. Order Nana’s fried chicken (half a chicken) at whatever heat level pleases you.

Since the Southerner is in Saugatuck, take the time before or after your meal to explore one of Michigan’s most charming beach towns. Stroll through town, admiring the art galleries and indie shops.

Walk along the Kalamazoo River watching the boats come and go. Meander all the way to Lake Michigan, and take in the pier and beautiful beach. “Pure Michigan,” baby.

  • Location: 880 Holland St, Saugatuck, MI 49453
  • Website: The Southerner

The best takeout chicken sandwich: Black Napkin

black napkin grand rapids

Black Napkin is new to Grand Rapids, and I couldn’t be happier they’re here. While Black Napkin is (justifiably) known as the best spot for a smash burger in town, don’t sleep on their fried chicken sandwich.

There are a couple of tables at Black Napkin (three the last time I was there), but don’t count on those tables being open. The secret is out, and Black Napkin is often jam-packed.

Grab some fries (also stellar) and an “any color you like popsicle” for your kids (I can’t speak knowledgeably about how delicious these are. My kids ate them so fast, I didn’t get to try one).

  • Location: 966 Fulton Street East, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: Black Napkin

The best Japanese and Korean spot: KCM

KCM rules. It’s not a strict “fried chicken” place, offering a spate of Japanese and Korean dishes, but several of its menu items have fried chicken. And KCM fries a mean bird.

Their chicken katsu sando and their chicken katsu plate (with curry or without) will satisfy fried chicken cravings you didn’t know you had.

  • Location: 209 Diamond Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • Website: KCM

The best fried chicken for cool kids: Forty Acres Soul Kitchen

forty acres

Forty Acres makes some mean fried chicken. It’s extra crispy, juicy, blissed-out fried chicken nirvana. They used to offer fried chicken with macaroni and cheese stuffed into it (I didn’t know we had the technology), but sadly, menus change.

That’s okay! Forty Acres’ regular fried chicken, sans mac and cheese, is the stuff of chicken lovers’ dreams.

Forty Acres’s interior is beautiful – hanging lights, modern gray floors, and gleaming natural wood create an ultra-cool vibe. Grab a cognac (they’ve got an impressive cognac menu) and live like a cool kid.

  • Location: 1059 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • Website: Forty Acres

The best looking fried chicken: Noori Chicken

A fried chicken place on the East Beltline made the list? Are you kidding?

I’m not kidding. Noori has some of the most delish fried chicken in town. If you’ve tried Noori’s Korean fried chicken, you know what I’m talking about.

You get to pick the part of the bird you’d like – wings, breasts, or drumsticks and thighs (I’m a drumstick and thigh guy).

Noori plates everything beautifully. Like, the food looks so lovely on your plate, you feel bad eating it. But eat it, you will.

Wash your chicken down with some boba tea. Live your best life.

  • Location: 2321 E Beltline Ave NE Ste F, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
  • Website: Noori Chicken

The best fried chicken in downtown Grand Rapids: Juju Bird

juju bird chicken

I love me some Juju Bird.

Juju Bird is in the downtown market, so it’s a great option if you’re in the mood for fried chicken that’s quick, casual, and delicious. If you’re thinking sandwiches, wraps, and sides, Juju Bird is the spot for you.

  • Location: 435 Ionia Ave SW A110, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: Juju Bird

The best chicken sandwich in Grand Rapids: The Electric Cheetah

Okay, okay, they only have one fried chicken item on the menu, the Yahtzee! sandwich. Your server will bring you five dice, and if you roll a Yahtzee! in three rolls (you gotta shout Yahtzee!), your sandwich is free. And the sandwich is sublime, even if you have to pay for it.

Also, I think the Electric Cheetah is the best sandwich place in town. So they’re on the list!

The best chicken sandwich on Bridge Street: Butcher’s Union

Butcher’s Union might be the best restaurant in GR, so I had to give them a nod.

Like Electric Cheetah, they’ve only got one fried chicken item on the menu (a sandwich), but like everything at Butcher’s Union, it is so freaking good.

Order a smoking coil or two, which is a smoked old fashioned. You are doing Grand Rapids right.