13 Fantastic Fried Chicken Sandwiches in Chicago

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

We can all agree that fried chicken sandwiches are better than grilled chicken sandwiches, right? I mean, grilled chicken sandwiches are, with very few exceptions, mostly boring and bland, an inoffensive item usually reserved for the unadventurous. But bread and fry the chicken and immediately lunch gets interesting. Sure, the sandwich gains some very important texture, but the more assertive filling also begs for equally dynamic toppings, like cool and crisp slaw, crunchy pickles, creamy aioli, and vinegary hot sauce. Before you know it, you've gone from a rote and safe choice, to something that is unhinged and slightly ridiculous, and I don't know about you, but I definitely prefer the latter.

While there have always been options, it wasn't until recently that Chicago saw an explosion of truly incredibly fried chicken sandwiches. It's hard to pinpoint that exact time and location, but as more restaurants took on the laborious task of making great fried chicken, sandwiches started to pop up on lunch and brunch menus. Considering where they came from, it makes sense that these are highly composed creations blessed with distinctive topping choices.

In short, it's never been a better time to feast on fried chicken sandwiches in Chicago. While there are more options than we could ever catalog, here is a collection of some of our favorites. To see them all, click on the slideshow.