Oct. 26 is Chicken Fried Steak Day as proclaimed by the Texas Legislature. Here are some of the best chicken fried steak dinners in the state, as nominated by various Texas newspapers. Amarillo: Green Chile Willy’s might be hidden away between Amarillo and Canyon, but there's no hiding the fact that its chicken-fried steak is the area's best. Whether ordering the Texas Traditional, Jalapeño Jack, or the popular green chile version after which the diner is named, hungry diners know they're in for the crispiest, tastiest chicken fried steak around.
Beaumont: The giant helping of chicken fried steak at Gary’s Cafe in Orange is served with mashed potatoes, Texas toast, and a whole lot of white gravy. Or you can order it in a sandwich with fries for less than $8. This diner is open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday, so you can head on over and order some whenever the craving hits.
Corpus Christi: Get four Corpus Christi residents in a room to discuss their favorite chicken fried steak and there will be six different opinions. Is it the breading, the cook time, the gravy, the consistency of the meat? All will agree that there's one place in town that captures the essence of what chicken fried steak should be: Nolan's Original Poorboys. It's no wonder. They've been serving the goods for three generations.
Billy’s Oak Acres BBQ
Fort Worth: The area’s best chicken fried steaks are out west, but one isn't very far out. That’s at Billy’s Oak Acres BBQ, a new smokehouse in a 50-year-old barbecue-and-beer tavern near Lake Worth. Pitmaster Billy Woodrich has worked in more expensive “Cowboy cuisine” restaurants. He serves a high-dollar chicken-fried steak for a lunch-special price. But it’s so much work that he only makes it one day a week: Thursdays. (Any other day, drive an hour west to Strawn and legendary Mary’s Cafe.)
Houston: For nearly 70 years, the family owned and operated Barbecue Inn has been serving simple country fare. The milk-battered chicken fried steak comes in two beefy slabs per plate, with a fistful of fries and a generous ladle of creamy gravy. A simple green salad is appropriately served on the side. It’s a feast, and a fair deal, for under $13.
Houston: Florida’s Kitchen, in tiny Livingston, likes to crow about its smoked ribs and fried catfish. Both are fine choices and served in epic portions. It’s the chicken fried steak, however, that lures us to this neck of the piney woods. The CFS has been known to hang over the plate at this cafe, which has been feeding the locals for 20 years. The snow white gravy is flecked with pepper, and the breading is in a perfect crunchy proportion to the tender steak.
Midland: Wall Street Bar & Grill is a longtime Midland establishment specializing in steaks and seafood. For about $10, diners can dig into Wall Street’s lightly breaded and crispy chicken fried steak. The meat is consistently tender and leaner than similar entrees served elsewhere. Wall Street’s thick, peppery cream gravy perfectly complements the meat and the basil mashed potatoes — our recommended side — balance some of the heaviness of the dish.
San Antonio Express-News
San Antonio: Our vote goes to Radicke's Bluebonnet Grill, 237 N. W.W. White Road. Crisp, well-seasoned batter surrounds a tender piece of beef with plenty of flavor of its own. The batter retains much of its texture even after a generous ladling of tasty cream gravy. Add a side of sweet, buttery corn and made-from-scratch mashed potatoes and it's a hearty and tasty dish that feeds the tummy and the soul.
Times Record News
Wichita Falls: This specimen is the work of the Parkway Grill in Wichita Falls, a sports bar and grill that first follows the most important rule: “It’s hot, it’s brown, and there’s plenty of it.” Their CFS is delicious.