Harold Pierce makes the finest fried chicken in the Midwest, maybe the best on earth https://www.seriouseats.com/harolds-fried-chicken-chicago. He deserves his self-appointed title as “Fried chicken king”. He started in ’51, catering mainly to south side black neighborhoods, with his first restaurant at 47th and Kenwood, right at the border of the ghetto and Hyde Park. The chicken is fried in half beef tallow, half vegetable oil, and is incomparably good.
Because of his restaurants in Hyde Park, he has attracted a loyal following of eggheads, including me and, yes, Obama. One of Obama’s female operatives was a high level exec for Harold, but I can’t seem to dredge up her name. He has expanded not only across the region, but across the country, with franchises in LA, Las Vegas, Arizona, Minneapolis, and Georgia. There are thirteen outlets in Chicago alone. When the Chicago restaurant scene becomes too oppressive, we just love to retreat to a bench in Grant Park with a bag of chicken and another bag of beer and just chill. Trouble is, everyone else seems to get the same idea about the same time and the local Harold’s becomes a zoo. You’ll be a distinct minority at any Harold’s. His people know and love their chicken and just glancing around you can see how much. But there are ways around this impasse. Harold’s accepts orders. You can access the menu of the local outlet (they vary place to place), let them know what you want, and it’ll be there to pick up! Not immediately, as Harold takes pride in making things up fresh, well worth it. And lately, even on-line ordering is possible. But it’s a trip to figure our how. Somehow, I learned that my favored nearby S. Halstead station is https://haroldschickenshacktogo.com/menu. I think maybe I have cracked the code, as I sought the menu for the nearby S. Michigan Avenue shop and typed “Harold’s chicken Michigan Avenue” and got https://haroldschickentogo.com/, same URL but with their address! So I guess the key is to find your chicken shack from the 13, then type in the address.
It’s only chicken, but it’s worth the fuss.