2022 National Fried Chicken Fest: Gus’s, Southerns, Heard Dat Kitchen among participating restaurants

The National Fried Chicken Festival adds extra day in 2019

NEW ORLEANS (NOLA WEEKEND) - Organizers for the 2022 National Fried Chicken Festival have pulled their food lineup fresh out of the fryer for a big return at its new home along the New Orleans Lakefront on Oct. 1 to Oct. 2.

After a two-year absence, more than 30 restaurants will dish out their version of the iconic Southern dish, and the list includes both local favorites and national offerings.

On deck with finger-licking dishes for 2022 include previous award-winners Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken and Southerns, who were both crowned champions in 2019. Memphis-based Gus’s took home the award for “Best Fried Chicken.” Southerns, known for its pop-up food truck, won in the “Best Use of Fried Chicken” category for its Otis Redding Nashville Hot chicken sandwich.

Other participating local restaurants include We Dat’s Chicken & Shrimp, Ma Momma’s House of Cornbread, Chicken & Waffles, Soule’ Cafe and Afrodisiac, among others. The food lineup also features nationally-renowned restaurants like Josephine’s Kitchen from Mississippi, Pollo from Kentucky, Stuff’d from Texas and KOK Wings & Things from Lafayette, Louisiana.

This year, restaurants will dish out a diverse range of options including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options to cater to different preferences so festival-goers can enjoy the beloved Southern dish in their own way, organizers said. A taste of this year’s menu also includes unique items like boudin stuffed fried chicken, bang bang chicken bao, deep-fried buffalo chicken egg rolls, fried jalapeño drummers, matcha fried chicken and vegan chicken wings.

“We founded this festival to bring people of backgrounds together under the simple premise that ‘everybody loves fried chicken, while providing a platform for diverse, small independently owned restaurants,’ and this year’s restaurant lineup is reflective of that,” Cleveland Spears, III, festival organizer and President/CEO of the Spears Group, said in a release. “FCF 2022 will truly feature something for everyone, with some of the most diverse, unique, and unexpected menu items our guests can’t find anywhere else.”

Similar to previous years, restaurants will compete for bragging rights in the festival’s two highly coveted tasting contests, “Best Fried Chicken” and “Best Use of Fried Chicken in a Dish” judged by a distinguished panel of judges comprised of food critics, restaurateurs and members of the press.

Last month, organizers announced the festival will add new experiences and charge admission for the first time since its post-pandemic return. The slate of changes includes an inaugural custom car showcase, a Merchant Marketplace for vendors to sell items like arts and crafts, and a Community Corner highlighting non-profit organizations.

Tickets for the 2022 event costs $15 per day or $20 for a weekend pass for attendees ages 12 and older. This year’s festival will also go cashless.

To view the full restaurant lineup and menus, visit friedchickenfestival.com/restaurants.

Shan Bailey

Shan Bailey

Shan Bailey is the digital content producer and on-air personality for FOX 8 Nola Weekend. Shan is a creative storyteller who is passionate about creating compelling content that connects with audiences.