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America's Best Fried Chicken

Restaurant Eugene, Atlanta

Beall & Thomas Photography

Restaurant Eugene, Atlanta

Atlanta chef Linton Hopkins is a believer in the secret menu. When the clock strikes 10 each night at his classic public house, Holeman & Finch, 24 double-patty burgers hit the grill—and sell out in minutes. Even more difficult to order is Hopkins’s ode to fried chicken at Restaurant Eugene, a sophisticated farm-to-table establishment in Atlanta’s trendy Buckhead quarter. “We serve it only on Sunday nights,” Hopkins says, “and with whatever is in season. Today: a chopped tomato salad with a dollop of mayonnaise. Maybe creamed corn.” Unearthing an 1824 recipe for his Sabbath supper, Hopkins goes the extra mile in tribute to cooks from a Jeffersonian era. “We brine our chicken 24 hours in salt water, pat them dry, then do a light flour dusting before an entire deep-fry bath,” he says. His main fried chicken law is simplicity. “A lot of times when chefs cook an icon,” Hopkins says, “they keep wanting to do something to it. And that’s when you end up with disasters like pineapple in your coleslaw.”

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