CHICAGO (WLS) --For nearly 60 years, Gus's has been an institution in Memphis. Sticking to a deeply secret recipe, the business has begun to franchise in places like Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia. But now, it's northernmost location in Chicago is up-and-running, and it seems a loyal fan base is already built-in.
They come for pretty much one thing: the fried chicken. But at Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken, in an historic, red brick West Loop building, don't expect a mild bird. This Memphis-style version comes with quite a bit more oomph than what Chicago is used to.
"So it's very lightly battered. It's got a little bit of kick to it and a lot of flavoring in it as well," said Zach Goodman, who helped open the franchise here.
You can easily see they use something along the lines of chili or hot sauce in the marinade, but when asked for specifics, Goodman said:
"Nope. It's all a hidden secret. Our batter room is kept locked, it's a big secret."
Ok, well, they do fry in peanut oil, and they're sure to check the internal temp before serving. The sides are pretty standard-issue Southern soul staples like greens, beans, creamy coleslaw and some paprika-dusted mac and cheese. You can also opt for narrow, boneless chicken tenders, nearly as juicy as the bone-in pieces. And save a little room for dessert. The homemade pie is worth a few extra calories.
"We have a chocolate chess, which has been a big hit, pecan, chess pie and sweet potato and coconut," Goodman said. "You can get it hot with ice cream on it; it's a big hit."
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken
847 W. Fulton Market