What’s with the word ‘y’all‘? You know, just two words just… pushed together. Are we all allowed to do that, because if so, I say why stop there? You know, your – your new poodle could be your noodle. And fried chicken? Could be fricken. Waiter, waiter, ‘scuse me, I’ll have the fricken! – Chandler Bing
‘Drum’ roll please…
*Waits for awkward laughter to end*
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is by far the best in Austin. Hands down. I think about it once a day. And when I’m eating it, I can’t stop until I’ve had at least 4 pieces of that perfectly seasoned and fried perfection. No, I am not being paid to say this. In fact, I’ve dropped a load of my own money just to go back time and time again to eat there. So now, I’ve finally decided to write about it.
Am I a fanboy at this point? Most certainly, yes. I am completely fascinated with everything that they offer. From their mac ‘n cheese to their root beer floats. Even when their okra didn’t taste exactly how I liked it, I instantly came up with three different things that I DID like about it. They can almost do no wrong in my mind. And before you judge me for thinking like this, stop for a second and think – I know you’ve got that one place in your mind – that one place that you just absolutely love and will take your out-of-town friends every single time they visit. The one place that bolsters your foodie and taste bud reputation.
Gus’s is my place.
Well seasoned. Flavorful. Nice little spicy kick in it. Spicy fans, you’ll be in heaven – especially if you make yourself a sauce plate on the side with Louisiana hot sauce. Non-spicy fans, the kick shouldn’t be too much for you to handle unless you’re the type that just absolutely has zero tolerance for it.
The fry isn’t too greasy. The meat falls off the bone. It’s juicy, but not too juicy. Whether you get white meat or dark meat, it’s just as tender. The skin is so perfectly battered and fried that sometimes, it just drops away from the meat. To me, this is a great sign. It means that the fat that you usually find between the meat and the skin has rendered, and all that chicken fat flavor will now be a nice little surprise when you bite into the chicken. The skin tastes so good, and the crunch is so satisfying, that you will want to make sure you get a piece of it with every bite of chicken.
I recommend getting the half chicken. Ball out your first time. Even if you can’t finish it all, the chicken is still great (albeit not the same, obviously) if you throw it in the oven and roast it at 385 for about 10 minutes. Just make sure you don’t sauce it too much so it doesn’t get soggy in the box (hence why I make my sauce plate on the side). Another advantage of the half chicken plate is you get cole slaw and beans, with the option of subbing either one. These sides both go super well with the chicken, and it gives you a nice sample of what else they have to offer other than chicken.
And don’t forget about their mac!
I hate mac that has noodles that are too soft with no springiness. I hate when the cheese is too runny, or when there isn’t enough of it, or too much of it. This mac ‘n cheese, thankfully, doesn’t do any of that. It ticks all the check boxes on my mac criterion, and it’s a fantastic way to start your evening off.
As I mentioned before, the beans and the slaw are welcome sides. Very nice honey baked flavor in the beans, and a very standard slaw recipe that doesn’t try to do too much. The fried okra, as I mentioned earlier, isn’t my favorite, but it’s still worthy of ordering. It illustrates just how good Gus’s is at frying stuff. And like with the slaw, they don’t try too hard to be different here. Just good ‘ol Southern style fried okra, with ranch for dipping.
Parking is super easy. If you don’t manage to find street parking around the building, just park at the convention center parking on Brazos and 2nd. We ate for 2 hours, and only paid $5 on a Saturday. Not too shabby.
Be aware that Gus’s IS popular, and it’s NOT the biggest establishment. So if you take groups bigger than 4 or 5, expect a 30-45 minute, if not longer wait time. For 2-4 people, unless you get really lucky, you should still budget 10-20 minutes for waiting. It also takes a little time for the chicken to come out, but trust me – it is WORTH it. Just order some appetizers/sides/drinks while you’re waiting.
In summary, GO THERE. GO THERE NOW. I’ve had many of the “must have” fried chicken places here in Austin, and nothing beats Gus’s. You will leave there with your belly filled, and a strong desire to go back again.
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