Over one million burgers are eaten every week in Melbourne (scary, but true) and each one represents a very real mental struggle: do I go the beef…or the fried chicken?
Burger pros know that the safe option is to always bet on beef, but when fried chicken is done right, it kicks the burger experience up to the next level. In some rare cases, going the double beef and fried chicken combo can be that little taste of heaven.
Want to know who does it best? Here’s our guide to Melbourne’s best fried chicken burgers.
Starting as a food truck on Ruckers Hill, 1090 made its way to a permanent Swan St location in 2015. Unlike a lot of other burger bars, 1090 use a chicken thigh fillet for its 1090Chicken, and it’s fried beautifully. With their soft buns and house-made mayo, this fried chicken burger is the best going around in Richmond.
Boss Burger Co
After hearing so many good things about Boss Burger Co, the team headed out on a road trip to Geelong to find out what all the fuss was about. Co-owned by the guys behind Launch Espresso and burger blogger @burgers_of_geelong, Boss Burger Co is the real deal when it comes to fried chicken burgers. Worth the trip to Geelong just for one of these? Definitely.
Cool Bean Kitchen
An unexpected hidden gem in one of Moorabbin’s more industrial areas. Cool Bean Kitchen has been in the burger game for a little under a year, but they’re turning heads with their big, full flavoured burgers. With four options for fried chicken at Cool Bean, it’s hard to go wrong. They even have the beef/chicken combo as a standard menu item #winning.
Photography: Michelle Jarni
If you love basketball and burgers in equal measure, you’re gonna love Dribbles. Jordan, LeBron and Shaq are just a few famous burgers on offer, but Larry ‘Birdman’ Bird was the match winner in this game. Nicely spiced with a crispy coating while keeping the chicken sweet and juicy on the inside. Slam dunk.
Iddy Biddy Bar
Iddy Biddy Bar has one of the biggest menus we’ve come across, pumping out daily specials and a whole page dedicated just to burgers. Our burger of choice? The Southern fried chicken burger. The chook was soft, juicy and full of flavour, while the chilli sauce and jalapeños brought everything together really nicely. A great all-round venue with live music and a buzzing vibe every night.
As we said earlier, when fried chicken is done right, it lifts the whole burger experience into some hidden realm of greasy pleasure. The fried chicken coming out of Kustom Burgers does exactly that. Eat it solo, add a fillet to the beef burgers, double up the patties, whatever you do, just make sure you try some fried chicken at Kustom.
Photography: Griffin Simm
Possibly the greatest name for a chicken burger in Melbourne (at least for Breaking Bad fans): it's the Los Pollos Hermanos from Fat Jaks Burger Bar in St Kilda. Buttermilk fried chicken, a freaking hashbrown (!!) American cheese, bacon, chipotle, lettuce, tomato and Fat Jak's famous spread (which is about as close to Big Mac secret sauce as it's possible to get without being sued).
Little Food Hut
Remember that old thing about books and covers? Little Food Hut is a good example. You could drive past this place 100 times and never know it existed…if not for the scent of burgers wafting from this shipping container in a car park. The Creole slaw, American cheddar and sriracha mayo all combine beautifully to make this a stand-out chicken burger. If you’ve got the appetite, get the Slick Rick with a Chick.
Tucked in close to Luna Park, this small burger shop has recently expanded to accommodate to keep up with demand. The burgers and chips are that good. Although Mammy’s doesn’t have a huge menu, they’re gone for quality over quantity. Of the two southern fried chicken burgers, our pick is the MILF with fried chicken. Guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Photography: Jenna Fahey-White
Yo My Goodness
There's a reason this place is shortened to YOMG. It's because that's the noise your brain makes when it comes face to face with the Winner Winner. A chicken dinner built from golden-fried schnitzel, cheese, bacon, lettuce, crispy onion bits, seeded mustard, mayo and relish. The seeded mayo is an inspired touch, and the whole thing merges in your mouth like some sort of chicken symphony. Pimp it out with a beef patty if you want to go REALLY extra.
Formerly Cafe 51, this South Melbourne burger bar is easily recognizable by the people massaging their jaws as they walk out the front door. Just look at this stack. Ungodly. Their fried chicken burger is a definite menu standout. It's called The CFK: a crispy southern-style fried fillet with American cheddar, bacon, slaw, house-made chipotle and BBQ sauce. Maybe just warm up with some mouth yoga first...
Photography: Michelle Jarni
Did somebody say fried chicken IN waffles? We’re talking crispy toasted, golden waffles, gnarly fried chicken, cheese, bacon, spicy mayo and golden syrup! Life’s too short not to eat things like this and then regret them enormously #yolo
Want to broaden your burger horizons? Check out our Best Burgers of Melbourne | 2016 Edition
Image credit: Michelle Jarni. Words by Burgers of Melbourne.