Best fried chicken in Fort Worth

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Off of Camp Bowie Boulevard, on the corner of Horne Street and Curzon Avenue is a community staple of the Como neighborhood called Drew’s Place.

Owned and operated by Drew Thomas, wife Stephanie and their daughter, Krystal, Drew’s Place, 5701 Curzon Ave., serves up home cooking and soul food with crowd pleasers like fried chicken and homemade desserts.

Thomas’ love for the restaurant business started after he graduated from Texas Tech University, when he applied to work at a steakhouse off Camp Bowie Boulevard called The Keg to earn some gas money until his first post-grad job started.

His first position at The Keg was washing dishes before he moved on to busing tables then cutting the prime rib and finally learning how to cook the steaks. Thomas said he enjoyed interacting with the people and would set a goal each night of no steaks coming back to the kitchen, which he consistently achieved.

He kept working at The Keg even after he started his post-grad job and has been in the restaurant business since.

Thomas, born and raised in Fort Worth, opened his restaurant in the Forest Hill neighborhood in 1987 before moving to its first Como location in 1991 and then to its current location in 1998.

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Owner Drew Thomas holds up a fried chicken plate at Drew’s Place off Horne Street in Fort Worth. Yffy Yossifor [email protected]

The idea for his own restaurant sparked when Thomas saw a building in Forest Hill that he said always had something occupying it but nothing ever stayed.

“I was like, ‘I wonder why?’ because I thought it was a good location,” Thomas said. “I said, ‘Well, I’ll try that’ and I just tried it.”

Today, Drew’s Place’s most popular dish is fried chicken — an item that was not listed when it first started. The restaurant was one of three finalists in the Star-Telegram’s Readers’ Choice poll for the best fried chicken.

Drew’s Place was first called Drew’s Sandwich Shoppe and, as the name suggests, served sandwiches. Over time the menu evolved to fit with what customers wanted.

“We just kind of listened to the customers,” Thomas said. “The menu’s just really listening to the customers and they kind of told us what they wanted.”

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A fried chicken plate at Drew’s Place off Horne Street in Fort Worth. Yffy Yossifor [email protected]

Thomas met Stephanie in 1988. The two got to know each other more by spending time together in the kitchen, with Stephanie offering to help on the weekends.

“It was the only way to date him,” Stephanie said with a laugh. “It was the only way to date him because he was married to this sandwich shop.”

The restaurant’s current location, a red and yellow building offering both indoor and outdoor seating, was an eye sore when they first bought it.

Originally built as a dentist office and later a beauty shop, it was vacant for 20 years before the Thomas family bought it from the city of Fort Worth through a bid.

Stephanie said there were holes in the roof and plants growing through the floors and walls and they only agreed to buy it under the condition Thomas would bid the minimum amount. Their bid was the only one, Stephanie said, and the future Drew’s Place location was secured.

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Owner Stephanie Thomas carried out a fried chicken plate at Drew’s Place in Fort Worth. Yffy Yossifor [email protected]

After three years of restoration with help from family, especially Stephanie’s dad, Drew’s Place opened in April 1998, the same month and year their daughter, Krystal, was born.

April 19 marked 24 years since Drew’s Place opened in its new location. Stephanie said they have several loyal customers, many with them since they moved to Curzon Avenue, and Thomas said he knows of at least one person who’s dined at the restaurant regularly since it was a sandwich shop.

“It’s just nice that people will ride with you that long,” Stephanie said.

Drew’s Place is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For first-time customers, Stephanie said they suggest ordering the fried chicken with greens and yams for the sides. Dessert items include chocolate sheet cake, banana pudding, sweet potato pie and, customer favorites peach cobbler and Italian cream cake.

This story was originally published April 21, 2022 1:00 PM.

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Megan Cardona is a service journalism reporter at the Star-Telegram covering policy, government programs, community resources and more to help residents navigate everyday life in Tarrant County and North Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2020, where she worked at the campus paper, The Shorthorn, for two years.