Harold’s Chicken Shack

Review by: Roadfood Team

Harold’s Chicken Shack is a veritable institution on Chicago’s South Side, providing deliciously fresh fried chicken in a hot sauce that clears sinuses upon first sniff. Although technically a chain, Harold’s is pure Roadfood. Harold Pierce opened the first Shack in 1950, and its growth was largely fueled by the major fast-food chains’ refusal to open shop on the South Side. No one knows exactly how many Harold’s exist today, although best estimates hover around 40 to 50.

I journeyed to the Hyde Park location of Harold’s, which has long been a favorite of University of Chicago students. This location is called “Harold’s Chicken Shack, Fish & Pizza,” and although fried perch dinners are offered, there is, strangely, no pizza to be found. No worries, however, as the fried chicken is clearly the star of the show. If you come on the right day, you might also find specials such as fried gizzards or catfish.

What should I eat at Harold’s Chicken Shack?

All of Harold’s fried chicken meals come with fries, two slices of white bread, and a small container of coleslaw. While you can get your meal plain, most patrons order their feast covered with hot sauce. You can choose between a half-chicken (dark, white, or a combo) or three to five wings as the foundation of your meal. There are no warming racks here; Harold’s fries the chicken on the spot, so you can expect a 5 to 10 minute wait after you place your order. Once your meal is ready, it will be transported to you via lazy Susan, as all Harold’s locations separate customers from the kitchen via bulletproof glass.

The chicken is wonderfully succulent and has a great, crispy skin. As a complement to the chicken, tradition calls for customers to place their fries in the white bread, douse liberally with hot sauce, and eat a “frywich.” While seemingly lowbrow compared to some of the fine dining experiences offered in the Windy City, Harold’s is a quintessential part of the Chicago experience.

*original post by Johnny W*

What To Eat

Half-Chicken Dinner

4 Wing Dinner

Buffalo Shrimp


Harold’s Chicken Shack Recipes


What do you think of Harold’s Chicken Shack?

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