Great call on Rip's Chicken in Ladd. I don't order fried chicken anywhere else, because there's no point-- nothing stacks up to Rip's. I can tell just by looking at someone else's plate when they order chicken elsewhere.
I've brought Rip's chicken back to Missouri in a cooler, so friends can try it out. It nukes pretty well, and everyone has loved it (even one certain fried chicken snob, who I don't think was humoring me with his rave review).
I recommend getting at least two Rip's "appetizers"-- a plate of cracklins and a plate of dill pickle slices. You can make cracklin "tacos" with the pickle slices for a thrill. It's actually pretty tasty, and goes well with beer.
If you Chicagoans make the drive, I think you'll find it well worth the effort. You might also check out Ron's Cajun Connection in Utica (etoufee rivaling anything in the French Quarter, incredible roasted pecan pie, and deep-fried, breaded corn on the cob), Uptown Bar and Grill (extraordinary fare in a well-designed place, with unreasonably cheap prices) and for breakfast, Parkway Diner in Mendota, Illinois.
Yep, we gain about 5 lbs apiece with ever visit to north-central Illinois. Make that 10 lbs, when Mendota has its Sweet Corn Festival.
Originally posted by shaas
Originally posted by glennpan
Unfortunately, I really haven't found any truly outstanding chicken shacks around Chicago. I really love great fried chicken so that breaks my heart. My favorite place in the area used to be Surma's in Homewood which closed this year after about 50 years in business.
They still have a carry-out location in Tinley Park that I have not tried yet. They became the first KFC franchise in the Chicago area in 1959, but parted ways with the Colonel in 1962. Surmas took the original recipe, expanded it to 13 spices, and it still has some similarities, although much better than today's greasy mass produced KFC version.
The other place I actually go to is a haul. I drive out to Rip's Chicken in Ladd, IL. They are located not far off of I-80 at exit 69 or so. Rip's is a true chicken shack where you walk in and they just ask you "Light or Dark?", there is no other choice than that. You get a 1/4 chicken (huge), straight from the fryer, served over some very good fries and a piece of Wonder bread on a paper plate for about $3.50. For some reason, the light meat comes out much better than the dark. People literally lineup around the block for their chicken on the weekends. They even serve a plate of crispies while you wait.