Since the 1970s, this humble chicken shack in a not great neighborhood was known mainly to locals, the budding foodie community, and a few enterprising tourists. In 2005, octogenarian Willie Mae and her secret-recipe fried chicken were designated “American classics” by the James Beard Foundation, and the world came knocking. Weeks later, her home and restaurant were 8 feet under water. The remarkable, volunteer-driven recovery began quickly, with hands-on support from local restaurateurs—a testament to New Orleans’ supportive food community. Nowadays, with the matriarch’s family helming the fryers, the chicken is still beautifully spiced and crisped—on a good day. Which is much more common than a bad (dry or oversalted) day, but we’ve had them. For safety, we also order the fried pork chops, and we always get the creamy butterbeans (which don’t get near the attention the chicken does, but should). Plan to wait in line—for service, then for the fried-to-order bird. Or trade the character of the original Tremé location for the efficiency of the newer Uptown location (7457 St. Charles Ave.; 504/417-5424; Mon–Thurs 11am–8pm; Fri–Sat 11am–9pm).
New Orleans› Restaurant
Willie Mae’s Scotch House
2401 St Ann St
Our Rating Neighborhood Mid-City Esplanade Hours Mon–Sat 10am–5pm Phone 504/822-9503 Prices Everything under $15 Cuisine Type Soul Food Web site Willie Mae's Scotch House