Gus’s World Famous Hot and Spicy Chicken

Chicken Dinner
Memorable
One of the best
Save

Here is some of the nation’s best fried chicken. Each piece, dark or white, is encased in an envelope that vigorously crunches then offers rapturous chew, all the while radiating the ecstatic flavor combo of chicken fat and pepper. The menu calls it hot and spicy; but it is comfort food, nowhere near the incendiary heat levels of Nashville hot chicken. Other than catfish a couple of nights a week, chicken is Gus’s only entree; any pieces are available in any combination; side dishes include spicy baked beans, creamy cole slaw, fried rice (!), fried okra and spiced French fries.

Even if you are a culinary purist who considers fried green tomatoes and fried dill pickles a novelty more than a necessary regional dish, you should try Gus’s. The pickles in particular are transcendent, maintaining al dente character inside a crunchy coat which, like that on the chicken, is an elegant balance of spice and lusciousness.

Dining at Gus’s is an adventure, that’s for sure. On a ravaged street the wrong side of Beale, it regularly posts a security guard on the sidewalk so that visitors will feel safe between car and front door. The inside, where mismatched chairs are arranged around a couple dozen tables topped with miscellaneous checked easy-wipe tablecloths, it seems like a chaotic madhouse as customers mill around near the door waiting for their turn to sit. Once seated, you will deal with a staff who are nothing but courteous and efficient.

Note: as of Summer, 2018, there are twenty-four Gus’s locations around the country. It’s a good bet there will be more.

Anne Ritchings | June 06, 2009

In Memphis, when people talk about Gus’s they get a dreamy look on their faces and I could swear that I can see them salivating at the thought of his fried chicken. After having tasted his chicken, I share their faraway look and their anticipation.

The chicken is hot and juicy with a crispy and spicy crust. I know that there is no such thing as the “Best Fried Chicken,” but while I am eating it I could easily imagine that this is it. The coleslaw is a sweet rendition of this venerable side, but it was a good version, not so sweet that you thought you were eating cabbage for dessert.

While we waited for the chicken, we had fried dill pickles and fried green tomatoes. The crust is a bit thick on both of these but they are delicious, served piping hot; tart and tangy pairs extremely well with the slight sweetness of the batter.

Sweet tea and beer are available for your pleasure.

This was our second visit to Gus’s and it is on our list of places we must visit when we are in Memphis.

What to Eat
Gus’s World Famous Hot and Spicy Chicken, Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken
Must-Try
Gus’s World Famous Hot and Spicy Chicken, Fried Dill Pickles
Fried Dill Pickles
Must-Try
No mere novelty, Gus's fried dill pickles are a magical duet of lush crust and tangy vegetable.
Gus’s World Famous Hot and Spicy Chicken, Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes
Must-Try
Sandy texture with just the right amount of tartness, the fried green tomatoes are the best side here at Gus's.
Gus’s World Famous Hot and Spicy Chicken, Pie
Pie
Must-Try
When we saw coconut pie on the menu, we assumed it would be a coconut cream pie. Instead, this is more of a chess pie, with a layer of coconut on top. Our waitress Adrienne recommended having it served warm, which was great advice.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday11am - 9pm
Monday11am - 9pm
Tuesday11am - 9pm
Wednesday11am - 9pm
Thursday11am - 9pm
Friday11am - 10pm
Saturday11am - 10pm
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Bryant’s Breakfast

    Memphis, Tennessee

    Excellent biscuits star at Bryant’s Breakfast in Memphis, along with every kind of pork there is, from ham and bacon to thick-sliced grilled bologna.

  • Central BBQ

    Memphis, Tennessee

    Central BBQ has done an amazing thing for nachos by adding its tender pulled pork, drizzling on some sweet BBQ sauce, and finishing with a touch of BBQ Shake.

  • Coletta’s

    Memphis, Tennessee

    Coletta’s is an old-style Italian-American restaurant in Memphis that supplements a menu of spaghetti and parmigianas with BBQ pizza and BBQ salad.

  • Bozo’s Hot Pit Bar-B-Q

    Mason, Tennessee

    Since 1923, Bozo’s of Mason, Tennessee, has earned a reputation for hickory-smoked BBQ and outstanding homemade pies. An easy detour off Interstate 40.

  • Alcenia’s

    Memphis, Tennessee

    Alcenia’s is a warm, friendly Memphis, Tennessee, restaurant serving homey soul food meat-and-3 meals that end with glorious pies or bread pudding.

  • Little Tea Shop

    Memphis, Tennessee

    A vintage lunch room on old Cotton Row, Little Tea Shop is a Memphis experience all food lovers should have, from pot likker to fudge-topped frozen pecan balls.