20 Must-Visit Restaurants For Fried Chicken Across Tennessee

When you think of Southern food, golden, crispy fried chicken is one of the first things that comes to mind. Fried chicken is a Southern staple, alongside classic sides like mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and hot buttery rolls. This is especially true in Tennessee, where folks take their fried chicken very seriously.

Tennessee has a vast and varied food scene, particularly in the big cities, but there are top-notch fried chicken restaurants all over the state, and if you're willing to go for a drive, you'll find some of the juiciest, most flavorful chicken you've ever tasted. Here are 20 must-visit restaurants for fried chicken across Tennessee, based on social media, online reviews, and my own experience as a frequent Tennessee traveler and chicken-and-waffles fanatic.

Pepperfire Hot Chicken

Ask a Nashville local for their favorite hot chicken restaurant, and there's a good chance they'll send you to Pepperfire Hot Chicken. What began as an under-the-radar chicken shack is now in a new carry-out-only location where you can grab your chicken to go and take it to a nearby patio. 

Pepperfire's innovative approach to chicken involves tweaking classic favorites to create something one-of-a-kind. It has Nashville hot chicken on a scale from 0 ("Chicken") to 6 ("No Refunds") to satisfy the spice fiends in your party. But the must-try menu item is the Applejack, a deep-fried grilled cheese sandwich topped with three hot chicken tenders and sweet baked apples.


(615) 915-4441

5104 Centennial Blvd, Nashville, TN 37209

Marvin's Family Restaurant

Marvin's Family Restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in Fayetteville, Tennessee, 90 miles south of Nashville. You'll have to take a day trip out of the city to visit this local favorite, but it's worth the drive. In fact, fans of Marvin's rave that they would make a road trip all the way from Texas for the fried chicken, sweet potatoes, and peach cobbler.

At Marvin's, you'll find what locals call the best fried chicken in the area — just like grandma. Marvin's has all your classic favorites, including pulled pork, mac and cheese, catfish, banana pudding, and more for an unbeatable $13.99 or less for the dinner buffet ($9.49 for lunch Monday through Saturday). Or, take it to go for $6.39 per pound.


(931) 433-3101

4130 Thornton Taylor Pkwy, Fayetteville, TN 37334

Hattie B's Hot Chicken

Hattie B's is one of Tennessee's best-known names in fried chicken. Locals say it's the place they take their family and friends when they come to visit. Hattie B's serves up fried chicken just about any way you can think of it: on the bone, boneless tenders, on a sandwich, or with a waffle. You can also ask for as hot or as mild as you like, from "Southern" (no heat) to "Shut The Cluck Up!" (for "enthusiasts only"). You'll also find all your favorite Southern sides here, including pimento mac and cheese, bacon cheddar grits, and creamy cole slaw.

One of the signature dishes on Hattie B's menu is the Dirty Bird Fries. You may have had loaded french fries, but you've never had anything like these. Dirty Bird Fries has pimento mac and cheese, fried dark meat chicken, and comeback sauce on a bed of hot, crinkle-cut fries. Reviewers say this "snack" is large enough to be a meal on its own, while others loved it so much they ordered seconds.


Multiple locations in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and Nevada 

Rye & Revelry at Short Mountain Distillery

The Rye and Revelry Restaurant sits on Short Mountain Distillery's 400-acre farm. Here, you can explore the mile-long Greenway Walking Trail year-round, play a round of disc golf on one of two courses, and enjoy a distillery tour, where you can enjoy a private tasting of Short Mountain's moonshine selection and even a mixology class.

When you've had enough adventuring at the distillery, head up to Rye and Revelry to check out its creative menu, which blends Southern favorites and international cuisine. You can get the fried chicken sandwich Wednesday through Sunday or fried chicken and waffles for Sunday brunch. Finally, don't forget to enjoy your meal with signature cocktails made from house-distilled moonshine.


(615) 900-5034 

180 Mountain Spirits Ln, Woodbury, TN 37190

Mama's Chicken Kitchen

Mama's Chicken Kitchen is a Smoky Mountain favorite. Locals recommend Mama's when you want to get away from the more touristy restaurants on the strip in Gatlinburg. Mama's serves flavorful, juicy fried chicken by the bucket, along with Southern sides like chicken and dumplings, green beans, and mashed potatoes with gravy, so you can take it to go for a picnic in the mountains. 

In case you're visiting with someone who doesn't want to eat fried chicken, Joe and Pop's sub shop is in the same building (part of the Johnson Family of restaurants), so you can satisfy every taste in your party with one stop. Mama's has also earned accolades, making it a must-try.


(865) 412-1333

1244 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

The Old Mill Restaurant

When I travel to Tennessee, I usually try to avoid the big chain restaurants in favor of more local flavor, which is surprisingly hard to do in Pigeon Forge, but The Old Mill Restaurant fits the bill perfectly. The Old Mill has been serving Southern specialties for over 30 years, and reviewers say the highlight of the menu is the fried chicken. Come hungry because the Old Mill serves massive servings of fried chicken — three huge pieces per plate. There's even a selection of fried chicken options on the kids' menu. 

But The Old Mill is more than just a phenomenal restaurant — it's also a little piece of history. After your meal, wander the property to learn about the nearly 200-year-old mill and grab some ice cream at The Old Mill Creamery.


(865) 429-3463

164 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Kleer-Vu Lunchroom

One of the most exciting aspects of food tourism is visiting an under-the-radar restaurant that locals love, but tourists tend to miss. That's exactly what you get with Kleer-Vu Lunchroom in Murfreesboro. The restaurant has no official website — just fall-off-the-bone tender fried chicken and Southern comfort foods served cafeteria style since 1976. 

Kleer-Vu Lunchroom is open Tuesday through Saturday and offers carry-out-only service, perfect for a picnic in a nearby park. Come hungry for a "meat and three" meal, which includes your choice of meat and three sides. Try the fried chicken with baked apples, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and other heartwarming classic sides.

(615) 896-0520

226 S. Highland Ave, Murfreesboro, TN 37130-4207


When you think of fried chicken, you probably picture it coming from a deep fryer, but that's not the case at Monell's, where skillet fried chicken is served with every all-you-can-eat family-style meal. The original location is hidden away in a residential neighborhood, and when you arrive, you'll be seated at a large communal table with other diners. 

Monell's is the perfect restaurant when you're craving some classic Southern comfort food but can't decide what sounds best. There's no decision fatigue to worry about here since every meat and side is brought to the table and passed to the left, so you can have as much or as little as you want of everything. Monell's is the place to be if you want to feel like family. 


Multiple locations in Nashville

The Public House

The Public House in Chattanooga offers a unique, modern twist on fried chicken — it's brined in sweet tea! The result is juicy, flavorful, and served with house-made hot sauce. If you want to take it one step further, try the fried chicken livers with Tabasco butter grits. 

This upscale Southern menu is served in a casual setting, so you can feel free to come as you are. Enjoy wine sold by the glass, one of Public House's signature cocktails or mocktails, like the zero-proof hibiscus mule, made with house ginger beer. There's even a gluten-free menu that includes fried chicken for lunch and dinner.


(423) 266-3366

1110 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402

Puckett's Restaurant

Puckett's Restaurant offers fried chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with pancakes, on a sandwich, or the classic bone-in chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans. You can also order it as a "meat and three" fried chicken lunch special on Sundays (the meat options change depending on the day) with your choice of Southern sides, including mac and cheese, collard greens, baked beans, and cowboy caviar. 

Puckett's fried chicken is made fresh to order, so allow a little extra time for it to arrive at your table, but it's well worth the wait. Diners love the enormous portions and the live music at every location.


Multiple locations in Tennessee and Alabama

Champy's Famous Fried Chicken

When out-of-towners want authentic Southern fried chicken in Tennessee, they usually end up at Champy's. Chattanooga's food scene is massive, with hundreds of restaurants, and Champy's is one of the top-rated restaurants in the city. The 40-plus-year-old fried chicken recipe from the Mississippi Delta is deliciously crunchy with just the right amount of spice. 

It's known for its "Fortys and Fowl" — a selection of 40-ounce beers served with fried chicken. Other crowd-pleasing menu items include the Mississippi Delta homemade hot tamales and the key lime pie.


Multiple locations in Tennessee and Alabama

Liberty Common

If you want to go where Nashville locals go for an unforgettable brunch, you need to check out Liberty Common, where you'll find Southern fried chicken and other brunch favorites in a French-style restaurant. The fried chicken is crispy and flavored with rosemary and real maple syrup. 

Liberty Common's chicken and waffles are amazing, whether you get them with traditional fried chicken or turn up the heat with Nashville hot. Either way, you can't go wrong. Best of all, you can enjoy your brunch with bottomless mimosas. Reservations are highly recommended, as this popular spot's wait times can be long, but walk-ins are permitted.


(615) 649-8900

207 1st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37201

Gus's Fried Chicken

Gus's Fried Chicken is built on a legacy of great food. Napoleon "Na" and Maggie Vanderbilt sold fried chicken out of the back door of a tavern until locals demanded they open up their own restaurant. Na's son, Vernon "Gus" Bonner inherited the recipe and the restaurant, reopening it as Gus's Fried Chicken where it still operates today. With all that history, it's easy to see why people come from all over for Gus's authentic Southern fried chicken.

Gus's is easily one of Tennessee's most famous fried chicken restaurants, and for good reason. Gus's makes award-winning fried chicken using a 60-year-old recipe that's sure to knock your socks off. In fact, Gus's Fried Chicken is so good that it just might be worth buying a plane ticket just for this chicken. Gus's recipe has won the National Fried Chicken Festival in New Orleans multiple times and has been featured on the Travel Channel. Alton Brown says it's his favorite fried chicken, period.


Multiple locations across the United States

Husk Nashville

Husk Nashville takes a unique approach to Southern-style cuisine. Using locally sourced ingredients, Husk is not trying to reinvent Southern cuisine. Instead, Husk's number one rule in crafting its menu is, "If it doesn't come from the South, it's not coming through the door." 

Husk Nashville's ever-changing menu boasts multiple fried chicken varieties available at different times, including salt and vinegar fried chicken. You'll probably never have the same meal at Husk twice, but it's always consistently delicious. The menu is available online and updated daily, so be sure to check it out before you go.


(615) 256-6565

37 Rutledge St. Nashville, TN 37210

Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House

As the name suggests, Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House was once a boardinghouse run by Miss Mary Bobo. The restaurant now stands in the same building, serving fried chicken and other Southern specialties on a frequently changing menu.

Dining at Miss Mary Bobo's is a truly family-style experience. Reservations aren't required but are highly recommended, as all guests in a given time slot are seated and served at the same time. Without reservations, you'll have to wait for the next seating and cross your fingers that there will be space available. While you pass the platters around the table, your host will detail the fascinating history of the restaurant and the region.


(931) 759-7394

295 Main St, Lynchburg, TN 37352

Prince's Hot Chicken

Prince's Hot Chicken is a national favorite with a legendary history. As the story goes, Thornton Prince was a ladies' man, much to his girlfriend's dismay. One night, she decided to get her revenge on Prince, seasoning the fried chicken with so much spice that she thought he'd double over in pain. As it turned out, Prince loved the seasoning so much that he set to work perfecting the recipe himself. Whether or not the origin story of Nashville Hot Chicken unfolded this way is up for debate. But there's no denying Prince's elite status among Tennessee chicken restaurants.

One notable menu item you'll want to try is the Andre chicken sandwich, which features a fried chicken breast, slaw, pickles, and your choice of kickin' ranch or sweet heat. The chicken is mild, but don't worry — it still has a bit of heat. 


Multiple locations in Tennessee and South Carolina

Pinewood Social

At Pinewood Social, you can get fried chicken and waffles or chicken, biscuits, and gravy for breakfast and brunch, or a fried half chicken drizzled with spiced honey for lunch and dinner. Customers describe the chicken as tender, moist, and flavorful no matter which way you get it, but Pinewood Social is as much about the environment as the food. 

Pinewood Social is more than a restaurant — it's an all-day play spot with bowling alleys, wading pools, and a full bar. You can enjoy your meal with one of its many house cocktails, including three types of bloody marys. 


(615) 751-8111

33 Peabody St, Nashville, TN 37210

Party Fowl

Some restaurants are for the locals while others cater to tourists, but Party Fowl comes highly recommended by both. At Party Fowl, you can get fried chicken in any style and as hot or mild as you like. Some standout menu items include hot chicken with sharp cheddar, chicken and beignets, and the hot chicken Cuban sandwich.

At Party Fowl, hot is an understatement — the Poultrygeist seasoning has over 2.2 million Scoville units of heat — but there's also a Southern fried seasoning for those who don't do spicy. While you eat, you can watch the game on one of Party Fowl's wall-to-wall big-screen TVs and cool down with a boozy slushy like the Bourbon Bushwacher — a creamy chocolate milkshake spiked with bourbon.


Multiple locations in Tennessee

Paula Deen's Family Kitchen

Paula Deen's Southern family-style restaurant is technically from Savannah, Georgia, but it still has some of the best-fried chicken I've ever tasted. At Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, you can get fried chicken with a selection of classic country sides for your table, and the cooks will keep it coming as long as you've got room for more.

Every item on the menu at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen can be found in one of Paula Deen's cookbooks, which you can buy in the gift shop downstairs at the Nashville location, along with her famous sauces, cookware, fried chicken coating, and boxed Ooey-Gooey Butter Cake mix. 


Multiple locations in Tennessee, Missouri, and South Carolina

Barbara's Home Cooking

When you roll up to Barbara's Home Cooking, you know right away that you're getting exactly that. This hidden gem is one of the top restaurants in Franklin, Tennessee, but you wouldn't know it just from looking at it from the outside, which looks like it could be grandma's house. 

Inside, it feels just like sitting down in your childhood kitchen to your favorite family meals. Barbara's skillet fried chicken is the star of the show, but there's also a slew of scratch-made sides, including fried okra, cucumber and tomato salad, coleslaw, and turnip greens. Barbara's Home Cooking is as good as it gets if you want true homestyle Southern fare.


(615) 794-9533

1232 Old Hillsboro Rd, Franklin, TN 37069


I chose the restaurants on this list based on a variety of factors, including referring to Tripadvisor, Reddit, and Google reviews. My personal experience trying fried chicken at several locations weighed in heavily when making this list. Recommendations come from all over the state of Tennessee, with special attention paid to restaurants with unique histories and atmospheres and delicious fried chicken.