Just because Pasadena isn’t located in the South, doesn’t mean its restaurants don’t know how to do fried chicken right – or any chicken for that matter. If you’re looking for crispy, flaky chicken or savory, tender meat that falls off the bone, you’re in luck. Pasadena has many locations that will fill your soul food craving and keep you stuffed with juicy chicken and plenty of sides.
The Crack Shack
Even before you enter The Crack Shack, you know you’re going to have a good time. From the outside, you can peer through the large open windows and see a bustling restaurant with excited patrons. Walking in, you are greeted by a gigantic chicken towering in the entrance. The family-friendly location includes a bar for adults and a children’s play area for kids. Bring the whole family for some biscuits that are to die for and some delicious, crispy sandwiches. Exclusive to Pasadena is the Chicken Thigh Pastrami Sandwich featuring Dr. Brown’s Creamed Onions, kraut, Emmentaler Cheese and Pickle-naise on marble rye bread. Other sandwich options include the Firebird made with a spicy fried chicken thigh topped with cool ranch, crispy onions and pickles between a potato roll, and the Señor Croque containing a crispy fried chicken breast, a runny fried egg, white cheddar and miso-maple butter on a brioche bun.
Braise and Crumble Cafe
Co-owners and chefs Shannon Hart and Tyler Wu opened Braise and Crumble 15 years ago to emulate the “Sunday dinner at Grandma’s” feel with serious comfort food and many guilty pleasures. The menu consists of traditional and spicy fried chicken varieties as well as pulled pork, roast beef, and tons of sides like macaroni and cornbread to keep you full and satisfied. If it feels too heavy, the restaurant also has a vegetarian menu and side salads available.
Daddy’s Chicken Shack
Daddy’s Chicken Shack is a great place for vegans and vegetarians who want to get in on the delicious fun! Yes, you read correctly. In addition to their chicken sandwiches and sliders, their meals all come with vegetarian and vegan options made with cauliflower, napa slaw, and vegan mayo. Now plant lovers can enjoy the crispy delights without compromising their flavors.
Rotisserie Chicken of California
Blink and you might miss this hidden gem. This restaurant is a small location with big flavors. The eatery serves rotisserie-style and grilled chicken plates, sandwiches, and wraps, each comprised of meat that has been marinated in various sauces for a moist, tender, and flavorful experience.
If you’re looking for a casual meal, the bright windowed cafe, Fig Sprout offers a short, but delicious menu built around roasted chicken for the same “soul food” taste, but in a lighter lunch format. The chicken they use is free-range, contains no antibiotics, and has no hormones. Make sure to order a side of the sweet corn. It pairs perfectly with any meal and is a local favorite.
Great Maple’s fried chicken and doughnuts are more of a combination of dessert than an entree, but are mouth-watering nonetheless. The dish features their signature sweet, maple glazed doughnuts topped with bacon, nestled under a generously crispy fried chicken for the perfect blend of sweet and salty, soft and crunchy. They also have a spicy fried chicken sandwich and chicken avocado toast for a lighter meal.
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