Break out your fancy stationery, Seattle, because we’re sending “Thank You” notes to Outkast, but it has nothing to do with the hip-hop duo’s music. Instead, we have them to thank for some of the best fried chicken in Seattle at Cookie’s Country Chicken.
Chef (and Outkast fan) Brian Chandler traveled down to Louisiana in 2014 to see Outkast’s last live show. A graduate of the Seattle Maritime Academy, Chandler stuck around and looked to work on a vessel in Louisiana. He took the only available position - a chef on a tugboat. Sunday’s menu was mandated fried chicken. Tossed in head-first, Chandler perfected the feast and the life-changing sides that accompany crispy fried chicken.
After a stint in Coronado, California cooking on a naval vessel, Chandler landed back home in Seattle to feed us the fried chicken we all deserve.
Chandler’s chicken isn’t fancy, and he doesn’t want it to be. “If I had to make fancy food, we wouldn’t be in business,” he said.
The goals he shares with his team revolve around offering great food at affordable prices. No white linens required.
“We really take pride in the fact that we can feed the family for $50,” Chandler said. He’s referring to the Cookie’s Family Pack which comes with 10 pieces of chicken, and three pounds of sides - all for $50.
Years of refining his fried chicken recipe feeding hungry maritime crews, Chandler has the perfect method down. The chicken gets treated to a 24-hour brine, followed by a 24-hour marinade. It's then fried at a consistent temperature after a light dredge in the batter.
“The reason fried chicken is put on such a pedestal is it just takes so long to figure out and master,” Chandler said.
Luckily for us, Chandler has put in the work to master Cookie’s Country Chicken. If you’re not in the mood for a family feast, check out the Barn Burner, a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, or get wow-ed by “the bowl” with fried chicken bites atop gravy mashed potatoes and sweet corn, topped with cheddar cheese.
Fridays are made for fried catfish, another popular item on Cookie’s menu. Sides include creamy mac and cheese, sweet and spicy collard greens, and beer-battered fries. Don’t forget the dipping sauces like rowdy ranch, smokey sauce, and creamy buffalo.
Vegetarians are also invited to the party with Cookie’s Country Cauliflower which Chandler says is not to miss. It’s Cookie’s recipe for fried chicken but it substitutes clusters of caulinuggets instead of chicken.
“People are always blown away by how incredible it is,” he said.
It’s no surprise Chandler has included vegetarians at his fried chicken restaurant. In addition to not believing food needs to be fancy to be enjoyable, Chandler finds that food is the great equalizer and that sitting down for a meal strips us of our differences, leaving us with a commonality of enjoying food together.
“This meal is more than just a meal,” Chandler said. “This is a meal that unites us and brings everyone together. Every socio-economic class, race, religion, background - all these things - they don't matter at the table.”
Cookie’s Country Chicken aims to feed all walks of life because, really, who doesn’t love fried chicken?
“What we really love is that we get to feed everyone in the city,” Chandler said. “We feed CEOs and real-estate moguls but we also get to feed the young high school kids that are doing all the Tik-Tok dances. We get a lot of joy out of that.”
Visit Cookie’s Country Chicken is at its residency at 121 South King Street in Pioneer Square, which includes a full bar. Order online for pickup, place an order by phone at (206) 707-5956, or dine in on the patio area. Cookie’s Country Chicken is open Tuesday through Sunday with current hours listed on its website.