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Hot and fresh chicken at Gus's.

Image: Cory Garcia

There was no line Monday morning as Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken opened its doors for its first day of service, but I suspect they’ll arrive in time. Although there was speculation on some corners of the internet about what the wait would be at Gus’s once it opened, there was just me, your humble narrator, waiting a full two minutes after 11 a.m. to not seem too eager for fried chicken. But I was but the vanguard on this particular day, and 45 minutes later Gus’s was already pretty packed, and any groups larger than four were going to have to get creative when it came to finding a place to sit.

So yes, the lines will come, at first because of curiosity, the way that every new restaurant, chain or not, has crowds at the start, but soon because of the quality of their bird. For those of you unfamiliar with Gus’s, they’ve expanded out of Tennessee with their hot and spicy fried chicken, and in one bite you’ll see why they’ve got locations popping up across the country. This is chicken seemingly built for popular consumption; when it comes to heat, it’s just hot enough to make you pay attention without coming on too strong; it’s juicy without being messy; and the coating sticks perfectly to the chicken, never sliding off to become its own makeshift side.

Also impressive was their chocolate chess pie. It’s got a deep, almost fudge-like chocolate richness, and when served warm you can almost feel it sticking to your ribs as you consume it. I didn’t get a chance to try their other pies, but if they’re of the same quality as the pie I tried, you should definitely consider saving room for dessert.

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is located at 1815 Washington Ave. They’re open 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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