Gus's Fried Chicken

Try This: Fried Chicken, with Mac and Cheese and Sweet Tea
1067 W. Magnolia Ave. |

Not even a year old, the Near Southside outpost of this Memphis-based paean to fried chicken has the power of a grizzled old vet like Paris Coffee Shop or Fred's Texas Cafe, bringing together all walks of Fort Worth life, from high-rollers to the downtrodden. Day after day they pour into the restaurant's hole-in-the-wall-like dining room for what is surely some of the best fried chicken in Fort Worth, served in the simplest of ways: on Styrofoam plates, atop a single piece of white bread, plastic silverware on the side.

No need to compare the chicken to Babe's or Drew's; it's much different than either. Instead of a jagged, crusty batter, Gus's version — the recipe for which is guarded with "Mission: Impossible"-level security and dates back to more than six decades to the family's original chicken stand in Tennessee — is smooth, speckled with spices that give it a hearty kick but stop short of the heat level of Nashville hot chicken, which many initially thought the restaurant served.

Paprika-dusted mac and cheese is the best of the sides. There's a small beer selection, but it's almost blasphemous to not drink sweet tea here. Also a necessity: a slice of sweet potato pie.