A Love Letter to Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Willie Mae'sSorry I’ve been M.I.A.. I’ve been in New Orleans, stuffing my face with anything that ended up in my general mouth vicinity.

Claiming you’ve got the country’s “best fried chicken” is a dangerous thing to do. It’s like, how many times have you actually had something that was supposed to be THE BEST and it was anything more than average? I had high expectations going into Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans…I’d heard all the things. I was fully prepared for crushing disappointment.

fried chickenBut, you guys, the greatest thing happened. It actually, truly, unequivocally was The Best Fried Chicken I’ve Ever Had. It’s hard to articulate what makes one plate of fried chicken so much better than another but Willie Mae’s stuff was ridiculously juicy, the crust literally shattered at the teeth, and it had this unidentifiable but just-hot-enough spice to it that made it different than, say, Popeye’s. It was one of the most fulfilling travel/food experiences I’ve had to date, and that’s saying something.

signWillie Mae’s is only made better by its amazing backstory: it was rebuilt after Katrina by devastated neighbors and a handful of James Beard award-winning chefs (obviously.) It’s in THE SKETCHIEST neighborhood in NOLA – so sketchy, in fact, that we had to take a cab the 1.2 miles from the French Quarter. I am not joking when I tell you a concerned gentleman with the most impressive gold grill I’d ever seen stopped me on the way out to tell me it wasn’t safe to walk. What a nice guy he was.

the mealSo thank you Willie Mae’s Scotch House. Thank you for being everything you were supposed to be. Thank you for being worth the cab ride and the so-full-I’m-sick feeling and thank you, even, for not having great sides so I could concentrate on that chicken. If I could give you a hug, I would. I can’t because…you’re a restaurant. If you’re ever in New Orleans, make this place a priority. It won’t be there forever.

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6 thoughts on “A Love Letter to Willie Mae’s Scotch House

  1. I love your blog and your writing style makes it a pleasure to read. Thank you for sharing your Top 5 New Orleans dining experiences, everything looks amazing, but I must say, this fried chicken truly makes me salivate!
    I am visiting New Orleans from Australia in May, and Willie Mae’s Scotch House is now top of my list to visit.

    • So glad you enjoy the blog, Karen…thanks for reading! Have so much fun on your trip to New Orleans – be sure to take the street car out to the “Uptown” neighborhood to walk around and look at all the pretty houses!

  2. And when you are Uptown be sure to wander on over to Oak Street and have an amazing dinner at Jacque’s Imo. Not sure how you missed that one on your visit. It is one of my favorites when I have guests from out of town visiting.It is the perfect blend of “this place is so funky I can’t believe we’re going in” and “Oh my God this food is amazing”. Even us locals will wait on the street for hours to get in on weekends.

  3. I live in Central IL. I saw this on Travel Channel and looked the place up on the internet. Just the looks of the Fried Chicken while being cooked and after, along with the photos of Red Beans and Rice make me want to hop on Amtrak JUST to eat there…and then Dooky Chase the next day.

  4. Lived in NOLA 15 years, now in the FL Panhandle on 30A and too believe Willie Mae’s has the best fried chicken on the planet!

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