Go Eat This Now: Krispy Krunchy Chicken

Is the best fried chicken in San Francisco a franchise in a gas station on South Van Ness?

There’s a very good chance you’ve never been to the restaurant that serves some of the tastiest fried chicken in San Francisco, but you may have swung by to fill up your tank with unleaded regular. Krispy Krunchy Chicken isn’t quite the institution that Brenda’s Meat and Three or Blue Plate are, but don’t knock this gas station poultry until you try it.

Founded in Lafayette, La., in 1989, Krispy Krunchy Chicken calls itself “one of the fastest-growing, convenience store-based quick-service restaurant (QSR) concepts in the nation,” and San Francisco has two! There is one on Third Street in Bayview and another in the Mission inside a Gas & Shop station on the corner of 17th Street and South Van Ness Avenue. KKC advertises its fried chicken as “Louisiana-style,” meaning it is pre-marinated, injected with a secret recipe, breaded, and heavily spiced with Cajun flavors like garlic, paprika, and black pepper.

The meat is tender and juicy on the inside, while the outer shell crackles and has a little kick. The chicken is so popular, it’s fried in small batches every hour, ensuring the meat is hot, fresh, and super-krispy. Beyond fried seafood and breakfast sandwiches, you’ll find Louisiana staples like jambalaya and red beans with rice, plus other Southern accouterments like biscuits, mac-and-cheese, and mash potatoes with gravy.

If you ask me, though, these are all just distractions from the ridiculously cheap main attraction. The chicken is where it’s at: The combos are customizable with dark and white meat, ranging from two pieces for $4.49 to four pieces for $6.99, all served with a honey-butter biscuit. My favorite item on the menu is the krispy chicken sandwich, a simple fried chicken breast between a burger bun topped with nothing but dill pickle chips for only $3.79. Add a little hot sauce and some mayonnaise and you’re good to go! I wish you luck in finding a more delicious chicken sandwich at that price in this city.   

Did I mention that this place is open 24 hours? So no matter when you’re drunkenly wandering around the Mission, whether it’s noon on a Tuesday or 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning, there will always be hot fried yard bird waiting for you on the corner. Just walk through the dark doors beneath the sign reading “cigarettes and candy,” and you’ll see the glorious display of golden brown breasts and thighs. The fumes from the wings, legs, and tenders will cause the smell of petrol to quickly be replaced by spices and greasy fried skin. I think it might be time to go get my oil changed.

Krispy Krunchy Fried Chicken, 599 South Van Ness Ave., krispykrunchy.com

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