The Winners of The Chicken Fight-Fried Chicken Category! 2023

BY Steph Wilson


Chicken Fight! Fest might sound like a throwdown in the coop, but it’s Denver’s premier food festival where the best poultry dishes take center stage. The stakes were high and the results? Crispy, delicious, and dripping with glory. This year’s winners were selected based on popular vote, both by the discerning palates of the public and a panel of esteemed judges. And, in a plot twist as tantalizing as a honey glaze, both the People and the Judges tapped the same spot for first place. That’s right—harmony in the hen house.

The People’s Choice: Fried Chicken

1st Place: Welton Room

Talk about a game-changer. Their Chicken Thighs drenched in smoked Maple & Gochugang Glaze were a revelation. Six hours of brining followed by an overnight buttermilk bath? It’s like a spa day for chicken! And that “Som Tom” or Thai-inspired salad sidekick, bursting with fresh papaya, summer chilies, mint, peanuts, and lime? A side dish that’s more like a sidekick, ready to elevate the main act.

2nd Place: The Post Chicken & Beer

The cheekily named “Chicken Fight Me 4 Ways” was a poultry party on a plate. A chicken skin buttermilk biscuit mingles with fried chicken thigh, chicken liver mousse, schmaltz aioli, and a zesty touch of pickled red onion. Let’s be honest, we’d fight for this dish.

3rd Place: Big Stuff Food Truck

With their Colorado Hot Chicken Sandwich, Big Stuff Food Truck made a daring attempt (and success) at the Nashville Hot Chicken Rage. Green chili-brined chicken thigh wrapped in a crispy corn flour coat? Say no more. Top it off with chipotle fancy sauce and a sweet-and-spicy pickled slaw, and you have a melody of flavors that’ll have you singing country tunes.

The Judges’ Choice: Fried Chicken

1st Place: Welton Room

Déjà vu? The judges couldn’t resist the allure of those smokey Maple & Gochugang Glazed chicken thighs either. The overnight buttermilk bath magic worked on them just as well.

2nd Place: Jack’s on Pearl

Bringing a dish that’s as elegant as it sounds, Jack’s on Pearl offered a frenched drumette seasoned and fried to perfection. Paired with roasted pineapple red curry and forbidden black fried rice? It’s a fusion that’s pure seduction. And it’s no wonder Jack’s also had a win at DiningOut Events’ RARE Steak Championship earlier this summer. Consistency is key, folks.

3rd Place: Stone Cellar Bistro

Hot Honey Fried Chicken Thigh paired with… wait for it… foie gras. Stone Cellar Bistro brought the luxury to fried chicken, and let’s just say, we’re here for it.


Steph Wilson

Steph Wilson is a writer, editor, and creative maximalist in Denver. She makes magazines for a living and throws color around the world like confetti for fun.

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