Church's Chicken is dead; long live Lee's Fried Chicken and Donuts.
Okay, so it's only the Church's Chicken at the corner of Heights Boulevard and 6th Street that's closed; there are plenty of other Church's left in the city (thank goodness; where else would we indulge in a 99-cent two-piece special on Tuesdays?). In its place is the long-awaited spot from the same team who already makes some of the city's best fried chicken at Liberty Kitchen and BRC Gastropub. The big difference here? This is fried chicken at its most casual, as befitting the location's former tenant.
Lee's Fried Chicken and Donuts offers little in the way of seating—two booths for four, one booth for two and a small counter with a half-dozen stools—but the restaurant isn't meant to accommodate sit-down fine dining. This is where you swing by for a kolache and a blueberry cake donut at breakfast or a three-piece with cole slaw and sour cream mashed potatoes at lunch.
I'd also suggest Lee's fried chicken sandwich, served with bread-and-butter pickles, cheddar cheese and mayonnaise hopped up with Crystal hot sauce. It's $6.95, which should put to rest the ideas that Lee's would be an overpriced hipster version of the previous fried chicken tenant. To that point, however, yes—the chicken is a little more expensive. But it's also fed a vegetarian diet, raised without antibiotics or hormones and possibly even named Collin.
The chicken is also, as owner Lee Ellis told the Houston Chronicle, subjected to a rigorous three-day process before it's ready to serve: brined on day one, soaked in buttermilk on day two, then finally battered and fried to order on day three. For now, Lee's is open every day starting at 7 a.m. with no closing time determined quite yet other than "when the chicken runs out." So if you want that fried chicken sandwich, we'd suggest getting there closer to noon than not.
Lee's Fried Chicken and Donuts, 601 Heights Blvd., 713-880-3550, leesfriedchickendonuts.com