As comfort food goes, you can’t do much better than a nice juicy piece of fried chicken or a well-sauced chicken wing. It takes a lot of culinary talent to elevate something so simple with a symphony of spices and flavor. If you’re looking for a winning chicken dinner, cross the road to any of these fire CLE chicken joints and make sure you’ve got wet naps on hand.
A family-owned micro-chain of barbecue eateries elevates the humble hot wing at its Cleveland Heights and Ohio City locations. Nuanced flavors are layered by slow-smoking wings over cherry and hickory woods harvested from Amish Country, before dunking in a decadent dressing.
In a pandemic pivot, the proprietors of Soho Chicken and Whiskey transformed their full-service concept in the Market District to a fast-casual carryout counter. In spite of ditching the dining room—not to mention a moniker swap and edited menu—the signature fried chicken recipe remains deliciously unchanged.
Cleveland’s homage to Tennessee-style hot chicken happens inside Sauce the City Cleveland, where menu items are crafted using local, farm-raised chicken and fresh ingredients sourced within a 12-mile radius. The award-winning sandwich is served in 10 different recipes rated by their spiciness.
Restaurateur Sheng Long Yu of Shinto fame conceptualized this pair of fast-casual restaurants located in Parma and University Circle (near Case Western Reserve University). Count on Korean and American crispy fried chicken accompanied by seven scratch-made sauces. And did we mention the garlic bread and curly fries?
For over 20 years, “The Filling Station” has operated from a restored Old Brooklyn automotive shop—just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Snag a spicy souvenir: House-made mild and hot wing sauces are available by the jar.
Woodland Avenue plays home to this fast-casual outpost, established by an Eastern African immigrant from Eritrea who aimed to combat a lack of affordable and healthy options in the inner city. Crunchy chicken tenders—free of hormones and antibiotics—are the mainstay of this modestly priced, finger-licking lineup.
This watering hole is a local favorite for its stiff drinks and variety of chicken wings available in nearly 30 different dry rubs and sauces. Congenial staff, friendly patrons, pool tables and TVs broadcasting the sporting event du jour guarantee a good time for visitors.