The biggest revelation during my research for this project? How oblivious I was to the adoration surrounding Publix fried chicken.
I hadn’t even considered trying it before. But I learned that many of my colleagues rely on it for an easy weekday dinner option, and my foodie friends on Twitter had fervent opinions about which local Publix bested others in frying chicken.
So I went to taste-test from two of the chain’s stores: Toco Hills and Midtown’s Spring Street outpost. Around lunchtime at both locations, crowds waited for fresh batches to emerge from immersion fryers. A staffer handed me my eight-piece order ($7.79), the heat steaming the plastic window of its handled cardboard carrying case. Ten Atlanta magazine staffers tasted the Publix bird alongside several fast-food versions. We unanimously agreed the store’s pebbly crust and plump meat—kept hot in the carrier—was in another category altogether. The Toco Hills fried chicken was a smidgen saltier, but not unpleasantly so. Publix, you’ve got yourself a convert.
This article originally appeared in our January 2014 issue.