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Willie Mae’s Scotch House | The Best Fried Chicken in New Orleans

Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans claims to have America’s best fried chicken. That’s an ambitious claim, but we agree.

Fried Chicken at Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans Louisiana

Important Update
Many restaurants have revised their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Some may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check this restaurant’s website for updated information before your visit.

We wondered if we were crazy as left the French Quarter in New Orleans and its plethora of tasty cheap eats. We had walked past Louis Armstrong park and into the fifth ward.

Although we felt totally safe walking through the shabby, gentrifying neighborhood, we weren’t sure about our decision to take a two-mile walk for lunch on our last day in New Orleans. We reminded ourselves that this is what we do when we travel – we walk and eat and then walk and eat some more.

Once we arrived at Willie Mae’s Scotch House, we knew we were indeed crazy. Crazy smart.

Our Walk to Willie Mae’s

Views of the Treme Neighborhood on the Walk to Willie Mae's Scotch House Willie Mae's in New Orleans Louisiana
Views of the Tremé Neighborhood on the Walk to Willie Mae’s Scotch House

The walk through the Tremé neighborhood was a good appetizer for the meal. We were struck by the buildings, especially the ones needing TLC, as well as the many jazz references along the way.

Before we knew it, we arrived at our lunch destination – Willie Mae’s Scotch House.

Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans Louisiana
Willie Mae’s Scotch House Willie Mae’s in New Orleans

Situated in an unadorned corner building, the restaurant blends right into the neighborhood. Apparently, there’s often a line curled around the corner, but we were able to walk right in for our Monday lunch.

We’ve heard that the two small dining rooms are often crowded with tourists lured by the accolades bestowed by the likes of the James Beard Foundation, the Food Network and the Travel Channel. But not when we were there.

Locals at Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans Louisiana
Locals at Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Maybe Monday is for a good day for locals. It was definitely a good day for us.

The Food At Willie Mae’s

We got into the restaurant’s groove as we smelled the titillating aromas drifting our way from the nearby kitchen. Then we cut to the chase and ordered what the menu describes as America’s Best Fried Chicken.

The lunch plate was only $10 at the time of our meal, with an extra charge for all white meat. But why pay extra when you would be missing out on the juiciest parts of the chicken?

It takes serious nerve to describe your food as the best. That’s quite a superlative.

However, in this case, the made-to-order fried chicken lived up to the illustrious description. We’ll take it one step further and say that eating this fried chicken is a must during any New Orleans itinerary.

Fried Chicken

America's Best Fried Chicken with Two Sides at Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans Louisiana
America’s Best Fried Chicken with Two Sides

Each bite was a revelation – crispy and slightly salty on the outside while utterly moist and juicy on the inside. We were hooked from our first bites and still smitten as we covertly licked our fingers after the final bites. We rarely use the word “succulent” since it’s such a cliché of an adjective, but we have to here because the fried chicken was downright succulent.

Sides

Red Beans and Rice Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans Louisiana
Red Beans and Rice

Mindi went the classic route with sides of peas and macaroni and cheese. The sides were generously served right next to the chicken. Though not special, the sides provided a soft counterbalance to the chicken’s crunchiness. Plus, the peas reminded us of peas from our childhoods, which is not a bad memory.

Daryl smartly honored the New Orleans tradition of red beans on Monday by ordering a side of, yes, red beans and rice. This side was substantial in both size and flavor.

We felt compelled to try a couple of extras after our trek.

Cornbread

Cornbread Muffin at Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans Louisiana
Corn Bread Muffin

The cornbread muffins were perfectly flaky as good cornbread should be.

Fried Okra

Fried Okra at Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans Louisiana
Fried Okra

The fried okra was a fun choice. We popped a couple before we ran out of room. They were almost as tasty a few hours later on the plane.

Dessert

Key Lime Pie at Willie Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans Louisiana
Key Lime Pie

Though we ran out of room for the fried okra, we somehow found room for dessert. We were tempted to order the bread pudding, but we were drawn to the key lime pie which sounded relatively lighter.

Sweet yet refreshing, the key lime pie was a delightful dessert to share after our savory meal. We probably couldn’t have handled an overly sweet dessert after the mega meal, and the pie had just enough tartness to satisfy our discerning taste buds.

Final Thoughts

Open since 1957, Willie Mae’s Scotch House is now run by the founder’s great-granddaughter, Kerry Seaton. The younger Seaton clearly learned well from her great-grandmother and is making good use of the family recipes.

We don’t know how she makes such succulent (we said it again!) chicken on a grand scale. We saw the fryers working their magic in the kitchen, but it’s still a mystery to us.

The two-mile walk back to the French Quarter felt good after the carb-heavy lunch at Willie Mae’s, especially since we were on a bit of a high knowing that we had just eaten the best fried chicken in America. We’re not just saying that because of the menu’s description. We’re saying that because it’s true.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House is located at 2401 St Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States.

Hungry for More?

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About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Bret

Monday 6th of July 2015

Did you guys also make it over to Dooky Chase's for some classic Creole cuisine? We're actually doing a cover story on Tremé for a travel magazine, and found the food there amazing!

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Tuesday 7th of July 2015

We spent time in Tremé on a Monday, so Dooky Chase's was closed. We'll definitely add it to our list for our next trip though. It sounds like our kind of restaurant!

Tim

Wednesday 15th of October 2014

Ok, that looks unbelievably unhealthy but soooo good. Cannot wait to get myself down there. I did have a road trip planned for Louisiana but had to postpone it. Sometime soon :)