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The National from Mélange turns doro wat into a fried chicken sandwich.
The National from Mélange turns doro wat into a fried chicken sandwich.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

17 Essential Fried Chicken Sandwiches Around D.C.

Crave-worthy sandwiches come in classic styles or with Asian, Indian, and Ethiopian twists

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The National from Mélange turns doro wat into a fried chicken sandwich.
| Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The summer of 2019 was all about the Popeyes effect. When the fried chicken chain debuted its chicken sandwich, the nation was consumed in poultry panic. From that time on, some D.C. restaurants added crispy poultry options to try to ride the wave, while others, like affordable standout Roaming Rooster, benefited from added attention on their preexisting specialty. In 2020, new additions to this list include Open Crumb, the Anacostia carryout that holds down the Southeast D.C. neighborhood with $5 fried chicken sandwiches on homemade buns with tender thigh meat; Melange, the burger joint that serves a crispy chicken sandwich coated in Ethiopian doro wat spices; and Present Company Public House, the Mt. Vernon Triangle area bar that puts a maple-whiskey sauce on its Nashville hot chicken sandwich. Chef Rock Harper’s Queen Mother’s debuted in 2020, too, but is in between homes after leaving the Ghostline chef’s collective in Glover Park.

If there’s a favorite local fried chicken sandwich that you think should have made the cut, send us a tip.

A number of D.C. area restaurants have resumed dine-in service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. The Washington Post is tracking coronavirus cases and deaths in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. More information can be found at coronavirus.dc.gov. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Roaming Rooster

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This D.C. favorite, the winner of the latest Washington City Paper reader poll for best fried chicken sandwich in the city, comes from brothers Michael and Biniam Habtemariam. They’ve grown from their original food truck to a business with a four-truck fleet and two standalone locations: the Woodridge original and a newer addition on U Street NW. Roaming Rooster will be part of the opening lineup inside Foggy Bottom’s Western Market food hall in 2021, too.

A classic fried chicken sandwich with slaw from Roaming Rooter
A classic fried chicken sandwich with slaw from Roaming Rooter
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Brookland's Finest Bar and Kitchen

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This neighborhood haunt sells a Southern-style chicken club with applewood-smoked bacon, mozzarella, tomato, and a Crystal hot sauce remoulade on a brioche bun for $15. Brookland’s Finest offers it with grilled chicken, too.

WASHINGTON, DC - March 2: Shannan Troncoso is the chef at Brookland’s Finest
Brookland’s Finest chef Shannan Troncoso.
Kate Patterson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Federalist Pig

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Prepare to get messy. This fried chicken sandwich, referred to as the “Jimmy Muscles,” is a chicken breast sandwich piled high with pork belly, jalapeno relish, a sticky garlic and ranch sauce, and herbs on a sesame seed bun.

Lucky Buns

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Many people gravitate to this Adams Morgan hangout for burgers, but don’t sleep on the fried chicken thigh sandwiches. A Hot Tiger Bun has Sichuan pepper paste, a Dirty Bird Bun ha Shark brand sriracha, and a Japanese-style Katsu bun come with tonkatsu sauce, karashi mustard slaw, nori, and soy-pickled cucumbers. There’s a Thai chili mumbo sauce version, too.

Service Bar DC

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This Shaw cocktail bar, a favorite of service industry workers, is known for its lemon-brined fried chicken. It offers two sandwiches to-go and on its parklet patio: an original with special sauce and pickles, and one from former Rake’s Progress chef Opie Crooks that’s covered in buttermilk dressing and a hot sauce butter.

A Rake’s Progress chef Opie Crooks created a fried chicken sandwich for Service Bar with “Snake Oil” hot suace butter and buttermilk dressing.
A Rake’s Progress chef Opie Crooks created a fried chicken sandwich for Service Bar with “Snake Oil” hot suace butter and buttermilk dressing.
Rachel LaMarca/For Service Bar

Right Proper Brewing Company (Multiple locations)

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This local brewery and pub in Shaw serves a popular riff on a certain chain’s iconic fried chicken sandwich. The Southern-fried “chick-filet” ($13) comes on a brioche bun with Boursin cheese, pickles, lettuce, and tomato.

A chicken sandwich from Right Proper
A chicken sandwich from Right Proper
Right Proper Brewing [official]

Your Only Friend

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The sandwich pop-up from Columbia Room partner Paul Taylor turns the fancy cocktail bar into a sandwich shop that maintains its granular, modernist approach to blending ingredients. a Big Mac-style Return of the Mack and a spiced-up Hot Nugget both achieve an impressive feat of engineering with a supersized, fast-food-style nugget big enough to fill out a sesame seed bun. The shop mixes ground chicken meat with transglutaminase, a naturally occurring “meat glue,” that keeps the nugget juicy inside a tempura-adjacent batter.

The Hot Nugget sandwich from Your Only Friend
The Hot Nugget sandwich from Your Only Friend
Your Only Friend [official]

Melange

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Ethiopian-American chef Elias Taddasse has run Michelin-starred French kitchens, but his first D.C. restaurant is this burger shop in Mt. Vernon Triangle. The marquee menu item is the National, a berbere-dusted fried chicken sandwich that channels warming doro wat stew with a runny egg, turmeric slaw, and a clarified butter aioli.

The National from Mélange turns doro wat into a fried chicken sandwich.
The National from Mélange turns doro wat into a fried chicken sandwich.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Bindaas (Multiple locations)

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The Indian street food restaurant’s Foggy Bottom location serves a Parsi-style fried chicken sandwich with beet tomato chutney for $14.

View this post on Instagram

You think you handle this spice??

A post shared by Bindaas (@bindaasdc) on

Present Company Public House

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Chef Lincoln Fuge brings a fine dining touch to the pub food at this standout firehouse bar with a brick-lined patio on Massachusetts Avenue NW. The Nashville native’s hot chicken sandwich ($15) comes with a Maine maple sugar and whiskey sauce, pickles, and slaw on a potato bun.

The patio at Present Company
The patio at Present Company
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (Multiple locations)

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This homegrown chain serves fried chicken sandwiches on doughnut buns at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including a honey-hot sauced iteration and a twist on the classic BLT.

Operating out of a delivery-only “ghost kitchen” in Arlington, this fried chicken chain from celebrity chef David Chang carries sandwiches built on chicken breasts brined in habanero chile puree. Pickles and a spicy Fuku mayo complete the simple package, served on a Martin’s potato roll.

The Fuku sandwich includes a 6-ounce chicken breast cutlet brined in habanero chile puree with pickles, and a spicy Fuku mayo on a Martin’s potato roll.
The Fuku sandwich includes a 6-ounce chicken breast cutlet brined in habanero chile puree with pickles, and a spicy Fuku mayo on a Martin’s potato roll.
Fuku [official]

Little Pearl

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The sister restaurant to Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls offers a fried chicken sandwich ($13) during lunch that gets a slight kick of spice from a Yemeni-style hot sauce. Customers can order it to go through Tock.

Hot Lola's

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Chef Kevin Tien’s hot chicken sandwich combines flavors from Nashville and the Sichuan province of China. Find it in varying heat levels at his fast-casual spot inside the food hall at Ballston Quarter.

Bluejacket

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The fried chicken sandwich ($16) at this sprawling brewery in Navy Yard is coated in one of D.C.'s favorite condiments: sweet, sticky mumbo sauce. It can also be doused with a hot-wing style Buffalo sauce.

Open Crumb

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Along with Ghanaian carryout like red red stew full of black-eyed peas and plantains, chef Peter Opare’s Anacostia storefront offers a $5 fried chicken thigh sandwich served on soft, buttery buns he bakes himself.

The fried chicken sandwich from Open Crumb, right
The fried chicken sandwich from Open Crumb, right
Deb Lindsey/for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Wooboi Hot Chicken (Multiple locations)

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Chef-owner Minwoo Choi serves some of the area’s spiciest hot chicken sandwiches ($8.99) at this local shop, with locations open for pickup and delivery in Herndon and Alexandria. Customers pick from six heat levels, ranging from “classic” to “code blue.”

The Sando with level-two heat at Wooboi 
The Sando with level-two heat at Wooboi 
Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Roaming Rooster

A classic fried chicken sandwich with slaw from Roaming Rooter
A classic fried chicken sandwich with slaw from Roaming Rooter
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

This D.C. favorite, the winner of the latest Washington City Paper reader poll for best fried chicken sandwich in the city, comes from brothers Michael and Biniam Habtemariam. They’ve grown from their original food truck to a business with a four-truck fleet and two standalone locations: the Woodridge original and a newer addition on U Street NW. Roaming Rooster will be part of the opening lineup inside Foggy Bottom’s Western Market food hall in 2021, too.

A classic fried chicken sandwich with slaw from Roaming Rooter
A classic fried chicken sandwich with slaw from Roaming Rooter
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Brookland's Finest Bar and Kitchen

WASHINGTON, DC - March 2: Shannan Troncoso is the chef at Brookland’s Finest
Brookland’s Finest chef Shannan Troncoso.
Kate Patterson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

This neighborhood haunt sells a Southern-style chicken club with applewood-smoked bacon, mozzarella, tomato, and a Crystal hot sauce remoulade on a brioche bun for $15. Brookland’s Finest offers it with grilled chicken, too.

WASHINGTON, DC - March 2: Shannan Troncoso is the chef at Brookland’s Finest
Brookland’s Finest chef Shannan Troncoso.
Kate Patterson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Federalist Pig

Prepare to get messy. This fried chicken sandwich, referred to as the “Jimmy Muscles,” is a chicken breast sandwich piled high with pork belly, jalapeno relish, a sticky garlic and ranch sauce, and herbs on a sesame seed bun.

Lucky Buns

Many people gravitate to this Adams Morgan hangout for burgers, but don’t sleep on the fried chicken thigh sandwiches. A Hot Tiger Bun has Sichuan pepper paste, a Dirty Bird Bun ha Shark brand sriracha, and a Japanese-style Katsu bun come with tonkatsu sauce, karashi mustard slaw, nori, and soy-pickled cucumbers. There’s a Thai chili mumbo sauce version, too.

Service Bar DC

A Rake’s Progress chef Opie Crooks created a fried chicken sandwich for Service Bar with “Snake Oil” hot suace butter and buttermilk dressing.
A Rake’s Progress chef Opie Crooks created a fried chicken sandwich for Service Bar with “Snake Oil” hot suace butter and buttermilk dressing.
Rachel LaMarca/For Service Bar

This Shaw cocktail bar, a favorite of service industry workers, is known for its lemon-brined fried chicken. It offers two sandwiches to-go and on its parklet patio: an original with special sauce and pickles, and one from former Rake’s Progress chef Opie Crooks that’s covered in buttermilk dressing and a hot sauce butter.

A Rake’s Progress chef Opie Crooks created a fried chicken sandwich for Service Bar with “Snake Oil” hot suace butter and buttermilk dressing.
A Rake’s Progress chef Opie Crooks created a fried chicken sandwich for Service Bar with “Snake Oil” hot suace butter and buttermilk dressing.
Rachel LaMarca/For Service Bar

Right Proper Brewing Company (Multiple locations)

A chicken sandwich from Right Proper
A chicken sandwich from Right Proper
Right Proper Brewing [official]

This local brewery and pub in Shaw serves a popular riff on a certain chain’s iconic fried chicken sandwich. The Southern-fried “chick-filet” ($13) comes on a brioche bun with Boursin cheese, pickles, lettuce, and tomato.

A chicken sandwich from Right Proper
A chicken sandwich from Right Proper
Right Proper Brewing [official]

Your Only Friend

The Hot Nugget sandwich from Your Only Friend
The Hot Nugget sandwich from Your Only Friend
Your Only Friend [official]

The sandwich pop-up from Columbia Room partner Paul Taylor turns the fancy cocktail bar into a sandwich shop that maintains its granular, modernist approach to blending ingredients. a Big Mac-style Return of the Mack and a spiced-up Hot Nugget both achieve an impressive feat of engineering with a supersized, fast-food-style nugget big enough to fill out a sesame seed bun. The shop mixes ground chicken meat with transglutaminase, a naturally occurring “meat glue,” that keeps the nugget juicy inside a tempura-adjacent batter.

The Hot Nugget sandwich from Your Only Friend
The Hot Nugget sandwich from Your Only Friend
Your Only Friend [official]

Melange

The National from Mélange turns doro wat into a fried chicken sandwich.
The National from Mélange turns doro wat into a fried chicken sandwich.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Ethiopian-American chef Elias Taddasse has run Michelin-starred French kitchens, but his first D.C. restaurant is this burger shop in Mt. Vernon Triangle. The marquee menu item is the National, a berbere-dusted fried chicken sandwich that channels warming doro wat stew with a runny egg, turmeric slaw, and a clarified butter aioli.

The National from Mélange turns doro wat into a fried chicken sandwich.
The National from Mélange turns doro wat into a fried chicken sandwich.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Bindaas (Multiple locations)

The Indian street food restaurant’s Foggy Bottom location serves a Parsi-style fried chicken sandwich with beet tomato chutney for $14.

View this post on Instagram

You think you handle this spice??

A post shared by Bindaas (@bindaasdc) on

Present Company Public House

The patio at Present Company
The patio at Present Company
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Chef Lincoln Fuge brings a fine dining touch to the pub food at this standout firehouse bar with a brick-lined patio on Massachusetts Avenue NW. The Nashville native’s hot chicken sandwich ($15) comes with a Maine maple sugar and whiskey sauce, pickles, and slaw on a potato bun.

The patio at Present Company
The patio at Present Company
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (Multiple locations)

This homegrown chain serves fried chicken sandwiches on doughnut buns at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including a honey-hot sauced iteration and a twist on the classic BLT.

Fuku

The Fuku sandwich includes a 6-ounce chicken breast cutlet brined in habanero chile puree with pickles, and a spicy Fuku mayo on a Martin’s potato roll.
The Fuku sandwich includes a 6-ounce chicken breast cutlet brined in habanero chile puree with pickles, and a spicy Fuku mayo on a Martin’s potato roll.
Fuku [official]

Operating out of a delivery-only “ghost kitchen” in Arlington, this fried chicken chain from celebrity chef David Chang carries sandwiches built on chicken breasts brined in habanero chile puree. Pickles and a spicy Fuku mayo complete the simple package, served on a Martin’s potato roll.

The Fuku sandwich includes a 6-ounce chicken breast cutlet brined in habanero chile puree with pickles, and a spicy Fuku mayo on a Martin’s potato roll.
The Fuku sandwich includes a 6-ounce chicken breast cutlet brined in habanero chile puree with pickles, and a spicy Fuku mayo on a Martin’s potato roll.
Fuku [official]

Little Pearl

The sister restaurant to Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls offers a fried chicken sandwich ($13) during lunch that gets a slight kick of spice from a Yemeni-style hot sauce. Customers can order it to go through Tock.

Hot Lola's

Chef Kevin Tien’s hot chicken sandwich combines flavors from Nashville and the Sichuan province of China. Find it in varying heat levels at his fast-casual spot inside the food hall at Ballston Quarter.

Bluejacket

The fried chicken sandwich ($16) at this sprawling brewery in Navy Yard is coated in one of D.C.'s favorite condiments: sweet, sticky mumbo sauce. It can also be doused with a hot-wing style Buffalo sauce.

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Open Crumb

The fried chicken sandwich from Open Crumb, right
The fried chicken sandwich from Open Crumb, right
Deb Lindsey/for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Along with Ghanaian carryout like red red stew full of black-eyed peas and plantains, chef Peter Opare’s Anacostia storefront offers a $5 fried chicken thigh sandwich served on soft, buttery buns he bakes himself.

The fried chicken sandwich from Open Crumb, right
The fried chicken sandwich from Open Crumb, right
Deb Lindsey/for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Wooboi Hot Chicken (Multiple locations)

The Sando with level-two heat at Wooboi 
The Sando with level-two heat at Wooboi 
Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Chef-owner Minwoo Choi serves some of the area’s spiciest hot chicken sandwiches ($8.99) at this local shop, with locations open for pickup and delivery in Herndon and Alexandria. Customers pick from six heat levels, ranging from “classic” to “code blue.”

The Sando with level-two heat at Wooboi 
The Sando with level-two heat at Wooboi 
Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Related Maps