2401 Saint Ann St, New Orleans, LA | Directions 7011929.969295 -90.079163
Neighborhoods: Mid-City, Treme - Lafitte
Here's the thing about a lot of "classic" restaurants, especially in picturesque cities like New Orleans: they aren't always that good. Unlike Willie Mae's, which is fantastic, and serves a fried chicken so perfect it could serve as a standard for all future generations.
Didn't go in – New to New Orleans, saw Willie Mae's on Food Network as I assume did every other tourist. Had to use GPS to find it, drove up to it, saw the line of tourists around the teeny tiny building, rolled up our windows, locked our doors and drove away. Since discussing this with locals, our understanding is that the chicken is in fact good but there is good fried chicken all over town and the neighborhood is so seedy that it's not worth it. I don't think I will ever find out for myself.
My wife and I have been trying to get there since Katrina and finally made it Saturday. Big Disappointment I am afraid. Although the chicken was cooked to the proper doneness, it was a bit greasy and overdone on the outside (i.e. too dark and over crispy). My grandmother makes a much better fried chicken to be honest.
The red beans were mediocre. Service was slow, but cordial. Won;'t go back and won't recommend it. Sorry.
Fried Chicken at its best – The chicken is rolling. It melts in ur mouth. The skin is seasoned to perfection and crispy.
I was visiting N. O. and remembered the place from the food network. "The best fried chicken in N. O." is what they said. If this is great chicken, then you have not been around much. I am from the deep south, and this chicken is NOT it . The chicken is very ordinary and not even typical of "southern fried chicken". The chicken was not flavorful and not a good representation of what we southerners can whip up in the kitchen. The red beans and rice were mediocre at best.
Everything you could want and more – Living in N.O. for 3 years now I am so mad at myself that I did not go here sooner. I've heard so much about this place and wanted to visit for so long so trust me expectations were high. Well let's say, Willie Mae's delivered and then some.
The fried chicken was every bit as good as billed. I have lived in the South for 23 years now and I can honestly say this is the best I've had.
An unexpected surprise was the cornbread muffins. Not a huge cornbread fan (I know I know and I call myself a Southerner) this cornbread blew me away. It was mildly sweet which was a PERFECT compliment to the hot, crunchy chicken.
The red beans and rice were admittedly not the best I've ever had but that's okay, I wouldn't have wanted them to steal the show from the chicken.
Another pro was the service. Our server could not have been friendlier and did everything he could to meet our needs. He was very attentive and would check on us each time he walked by.
For any of you bbq fans I would call Willie Mae's the Dreamland answer to fried chicken. The buildings are similar (small, "hole in the wall-esque") places. Both family run and both serving up the best in their game.
As far as the wait, we did have to wait around 15 mins. but there was also a party of no less than 30 taking up 5 tables in the restaurant ahead of us so that is to be expected.
On a last note, anyone wanting to complain about the price I would love to know where you regularly eat? We had in total 6 pieces of chicken (one being a breast so huge that we had to split it), two bowls of red beans and rice, two corn muffins, and two drinks for $24. A meal at Popeyes containing 2 pieces of chicken, a smaller serving of red beans and rice, a biscuit, and a drink can often run upwards of $8 to $9. And trust me Popeyes is NO Willie Mae's.
In conclusion, go eat this chicken! I'm sorry I didn't do it sooner!
CASH ONLY – 3 pieces (wing,leg and thigh)and fries was $11.00. No choice on pieces you want. Desserts cost $5.00 for cheesecake and $4.50 for bread pudding.
It was clean.
Poor service, good food – Although the chicken was wonderful, our experience was tainted by the HORRIBLE service. We arrived and received a table immediately. However, our server didn't even give us menus for an HOUR!! He continued to walk by our table multiple times during the hour, not even making eye contact with us. When we were finally able to order, the food came out quite quickly. Due to the poor service, we missed a tour we could have easily made if we had just been given menus.
Worlds Best Fried Chicken! – Located on a street corner, next to a still inactive grade school, grab a cab and go. If the driver gets a little lost, as ours did, just ask anybody in the neighborhood and they know Willie Mae's.
As you walk by the open kitchen to the second dining room you will see Willie Mae's Granddaughter, the keeper of the family recipe for chicken, on duty in the kitchen.
Prices are reasonable, service is good and the Fried Chicken is the best.
Stay up north – You know the stupied people who wrote a bad review of this resturant ought to stick to popeyes. You really do not know what good food is. Your so use to the tasteless food you cook up north your taste buds are shot. If you can not appreciate what this family has been through and what they are trying to do; I would suggest you do not come back to New Orleans because we are all family here and we know what good food is.
Oh the Fried Chicken!!!!! – WE had seen the show about the fried chicken on the food channel,so we tried it out.I am not much of a fried chicken eater so I got the veal.The veal melted in your mouth.I tried my hubby's chicken and I have got to say it was excellent.We went back the following week and I had my own order of chicken.I don't understand how you can complain about 10.00 for an order of chicken and a side.You would have to pay about that at KFC and it is not nearly as good.Sure there is sometimes a wait but you wait at all the resturaunts especially in the south.
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