We first made the joyous announcement back in February that Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken–that famous Memphis brand, currently in the middle of an expansion cycle–was looking at Philly as one of the possible cities for a new, out-of-state location. We didn’t know much other than the fact that Gus’s was exploring its options. Hell, despite our enthusiasm, we weren’t even sure that Philadelphia was going to make the final cut.
But now, we have some good news.
Though there is still a long way to go (and a lot of paperwork and legal nonsense to get through), Gus’s has now filed for a zoning variance on a space at 20th and Washington Avenue in South Philly. So, Southern fried chicken in South Philly? Hell, yes, Southern fried chicken in South Philly. They’ve got a local development group (Penn Restaurant Group) and the name of an actual human being attached (Mark Dawejko), so this looks like the real deal.
And why are we so excited by this? Well first, because it’s fried chicken and fried chicken is awesome. Second, because this is Gus’s fried chicken, and Gus’s fried chicken has been consistently ranked among the best regional restaurants in the country–making all those lists that people put together about restaurants worth getting on a plane for (GQ) or best fried chicken dinners in the world (Daily Meal). The crew has had 60 years and three generations to get their game down, after all. They’ve obviously learned a few tricks in their time.
On Monday, June 22nd, a presentation will be made before a neighbors association at 1444 Point Breeze Avenue. The zoning meeting itself is scheduled for Wednesday, July 1st. That stretch of Washington Avenue is currently zoned industrial and needs a variance for a restaurant. Gus’s is also looking to add a neon sign. If you live in the neighborhood, stop by the neighborhood meeting, though we doubt there will be any samples.
In the meantime, check out Gus’s below and drool a little.
UPDATE: Naked Philly has more on the neighborhood meeting, which went rather well for Gus’s. The restaurant will have a liquor license and an initial capacity of 81 people.
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken [Official]