Chicago's Evanston Chicken Shack's Fried Chicken Is Unreal

22 years of excellent fried chicken

Fried chicken was a frequent subject in last month's news.

While Aldermen have been protesting and chefs have been planning, an unassuming takeout spot in Evanston has continued frying superlative birds as it has for 22 years.

When the Evanston Chicken Shack opened in 1990, "there was nothing in Downtown Evanston," says owner Ricardo Sanchez. Today, the tiny, four-table shack lies barely west of the town's main commercial drag. Little has changed over the years, save for the addition of hickory-smoked rib tips, buttermilk biscuits and Sunday service.

Chicken is marinated for 12 to 24 hours, dunked in milk and heavily seasoned flour, and fried to order until golden and crisp-skinned. As avid dark-meat devotees, we're partial to the two-thigh, two-leg combo ($6), but here we'll happily eat the remarkably juicy breast, too.

Cornmeal-breaded shrimp ($8 for a half-pound) are a joy to pop into the mouth. And those aforementioned rib tips ($9.50 for a pound) are fiercely smoky and satisfyingly chewy.

How best to experience the Shack? Pick a sunny day, pack a beach blanket and grab a red-and-white-checkered box en route to a North Shore beach. Or call it in: The restaurant delivers to beaches throughout (and just beyond) Evanston.

Evanston Chicken Shack, 1925 N. Ridge Ave.; 847-328-9360 or