The Best Chicken Strips Around

April 23, 2024
hot chicken tender tray with pickles from little lou's hot chicken

Photo courtesy of Little Lou's Hot Chicken

When it comes to comfort food, chicken strips hold a special place in the hearts of many. In Metro Detroit, coneys and square pizzas get a lot of love, but we know a thing or two about chicken strips. Whether it’s at a local bar, a coney island, or tenders’ favorite home – the kid’s menu – there are many spots that offer this deep-fried goodness all ways, served up with a side of ranch or barbeque. You’re really never too old for the classic chicken and fries combination. Here is where to find the crispiest, tastiest chicken strips, tenders, and fingers around Metro Detroit…

SWEETWATER TAVERN

Multiple locations in Metro Detroit

Let’s start with the basics. Sweetwater Tavern is famous for its’ chicken wings, but don’t forget about the beer-battered chicken strips. Order it as an appetizer, and they’ll be served with house-made barbeque sauce and coleslaw. At the dine-in locations, you can pick between classic or buffalo style. For dinner, you can get the chicken strips and wings combo, which comes with two sides. Choose from options like homemade mac and cheese or collard greens. If you’re looking to keep things simple, go with the regular or seasoned French fries. 

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HONEST JOHN’S

488 Selden Street, Detroit

Located in midtown Detroit, Honest John’s lives up to its name with delicious, low-key breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, plus a full bar. The chicken finger basket comes complete with four tenders, fries, and your choice of sauce for dipping. Other tender options include the chicken and waffles topped with powdered sugar and hot honey, or the chicken biscuit, with a tender on a buttermilk biscuit with hot honey and sweet/spicy pickles. For a more savory wrap, there is the Johnny John, with tenders wrapped in a grilled pita along with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo. All of these are available on the early bird, night owl, and brunch menus. 

THE CRACKED EGG

15506 Mack Avenue, Grosse Pointe

19101 Vernier Road, Harper Woods

Have you ever had chicken tenders the size of pork chops? Me neither until visiting The Cracked Egg of Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods. Order the chicken tenders and fries for the classic combination, or check out the Chickened Waffles, with lemon pepper or Cajun seasoning. There are also chicken waffle sliders, with sunnyside-up eggs and bacon bits on top of two mini buttermilk chicken waffles. The chicken is tender and crispy at the same time, but everything else at The Cracked Egg locations is delicious too. 

LITTLE LOU’S HOT CHICKEN

2626 Coolidge Highway, Berkley

Little Lou’s Hot Chicken may keep their menu simple, but their chicken is anything but. Co-owners Shawn Wright and Eric Hitchcock share their passion: “We sought to introduce superior hot chicken to the Detroit area pulling inspiration from my (Shawn’s) time living in Nashville. We put our own unique culinary twist on the menu and we make everything from scratch. We think our scratch cooking and highest quality ingredients are what make Little Lou’s stand out from the rest.” The tenders plate has three jumbo tenders and comes with two sides, bread, and pickles. For sides, choose from crinkle-cut fries, cowboy beans, collard greens, southern slaw, or potato salad.

BYRD’S HOT CHICKEN

43444 West Oaks Drive, Novi

Byrd’s Hot Chicken brings this comfort food along with a Californian twist with freshly prepared ingredients and innovative menu items. All of the chicken tenders are freshly hand-battered and made to perfection, with a range of heat from plain to ‘supahot.’ The sandwiches serve up a tender on a brioche bun, 24k source, coleslaw, and pickles. The Byrd Bomb is a diced tender served over a bed of fries and toast, with cheese, slaw, 24k sauce, and pickles. How about donuts and tenders? The Chick ‘N Donut has a hand-battered chicken tender served on a glazed donut with pickles. Combo meals are served with fries and potato salad, but other sides include crispy green beans, mac & cheese, and cheese fries.

BROASTED BROTHERS

15171 Sheldon Road, Plymouth

Broasted Brothers specializes in broasted chicken, a technique that involves pressure frying chicken to achieve crispy perfection. Their chicken tenders are no exception, providing a juicy and flavorful experience that sets them apart from the rest. The chicken combos are served with sides, sauces, biscuits, and drinks. The sauces range from classics like buffalo and teriyaki to mango habanero and golden barbecue. As for sides, Broasted Brothers prompts making sides fresh daily, including potato wedges, three bean salad, kernel corn, and more. 

This article has been updated to include new information. The original article was published on April 29, 2022, and was authored by Aaron Segel.

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