Though there seems to be a Harold's on every corner of the city, this is the one you go to if you need a little room to spread out. Though it's located in one of the higher rent areas of the city, the Wabash location, a cavernous storefront filled with an ample assortment of plastic laminate booths, is also one of the largest. Otherwise, the red and white color scheme, the picture of a hachet-wielding Harold chasing down a squawking chicken on the awning and the perfume of bubbling grease is about the same at other Harold's.
One thing that isn't consistent from store to store is the quality of the cooking, which ranges from soggy, greasy birds and flaccid fries to crunchy golden fried wings and onion rings. This location tends toward the latter.
Cooks diligently set timers and let the fryolater baskets – containing everything from flaky fried catfish to an assortment of glistening gizzards – drain properly.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant
A South Side staple since 1950, Harold's Chicken Shack now has locations across Chicagoland. It's known for impressively tender fried chicken (by the breast, gizzard, giblet, thigh or your favorite combination) that comes smothered with fries and vinegary hot or mild sauce that you'll be glad to sop up with the slices of white bread tucked underneath. Other specialties include fried catfish and perch, and sides like pizza puffs and bags of bite-size fried okra or jalapenos eliminate the possibility of leaving hungry. A full meal will likely run you $8 or less.