Best Fried Chicken - 2012
A great plate of fried chicken can be high art these days — Farmshop, Bouchon and Cube Marketplace all serve spectacular, if pricey, versions. Deep down, though, you know that a few crunchy wings and thighs shouldn't come with valet parking. That's why there is Jim Dandy in South Central, one of two remaining outposts of a fried chicken chain that in the 1970s sprawled from Mississippi to Massachusetts. The zesty, seasoned crust might be the crispiest in town, and the meat practically bursts with schmaltz. Equally famous are the little corn fritters, which come dusted with powdered sugar like tiny beignets. It's no stretch to describe this small takeout stand (ensconced in bulletproof glass, naturally) as a cultural relic, but even after a couple decades of hard-core frying, its chicken still flies with the best of them. 11328 S. Vermont Ave., South Central. (323) 779-5567 (no website).