Photo by Robert Cohen, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Kentucky Fried Chicken is now offering Nashville hot chicken — or, if you prefer, “Nashville hot chicken” — a sure sign that the craze for the fiery fried bird has passed its sell-by date. Fortunately, while the hot chicken at Rick Lewis’ Southern can be excruciatingly hot, it isn’t a gimmick. This is great fried chicken, crisp but not overly battered, juicy and flavorful even if you opt for the mild — exactly what you’d expect from a James Beard Award semifinalist chef. The rest of the menu shows Lewis’ knack for finely tuned versions of crowd-pleasing Southern dishes: a fried-bologna sandwich, perfect fried green tomatoes, a BLT with those tomatoes and thick house-cured bacon.

Last year's ranking: New

Opened: 2015

Must order: Three-piece fried chicken meal (with two sides, dark meat $12, white meat $12.50)