Serious Eats: Chicago
A Sandwich a Day: The Pine at Reno
Whether you prefer Southern-style or not, Chicago has no shortage of great fried chicken options. But a great fried chicken sandwich requires a little more forethought. Which brings me to Logan Square's Reno, a place I've written about a few times now. And yes, Joe already covered the Hook, the restaurant's play on a bagel with lox. But, I mean, just look at this thing! What a beautiful fried chicken sandwich. Hopefully, you'll forgive me.
Okay, with that out of the way, let's really dig into the Pine ($7.50). The thick boneless thigh gets a crispy coating, making it sturdy enough to withstand the flavorful topping assault. Tossed on a grilled trinity bun, it's blanketed with white cheddar, topped with dill pickles, and drizzled with hot honey sauce. What's fascinating is that this creamy-acidic-spicy-sweet mix still never gets in the way of the juicy crunch of the well seasoned chicken. Instead, the toppings function like an intricate Beach Boys harmony: unquestionably awesome, but nowhere near as powerful without the the melody. So, in this example, the fried chicken thigh equals Brian Wilson.