Iconic fried chicken restaurants tempt along The First Hundred Miles of Route 66

Several iconic chicken eateries flavor road trips

Explore The Top Wayside Exhibits Along The First Hundred Miles

Want a taste of real Americana on your Route 66 road trip? This trio of fan-favorite fried chicken restaurants are must-stop destinations for foodies looking for a hot home-style meal. As you travel along the Mother Road, you’ll encounter some of the Midwest’s most iconic eateries specializing in fried chicken, some of which have been serving up delicious golden-battered goodness for more than a half century. Be sure to start your journey hungry, you’ll want to sample the food at each one of these time-tested locations.

Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket

645 Joliet Road (I-55 & Route 83), Willowbrook


Fans of fried chicken have been loyally returning to Willowbrook’s classic Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket since its doors were first opened to Route 66 travelers in the early 1940s. This celebrity of American roadside dining, part of the Route 66 Hall of Fame, has been serving up chicken, cocktails and farmhouse recipes in a traditional supper club atmosphere for more than 60 years. Originally founded as a service station and restaurant combination, the Chicken Basket’s popularity grew right alongside the Mother Road.

Today, you still can savor the original taste of the renowned fried and roasted chicken, made just like it was during the heyday of Route 66. On the menu, you’ll find other home-style classics such as corn fritters, baby back ribs, homemade mashed potatoes and an all-you-can-eat salad bar. Don’t miss the authentic throwback restaurant, decorated with a charming country-inspired interior, conveniently located only 25 minutes from the heart of downtown Chicago. Find out why they say: “Get Your Chicks on Route 66!”

White Fence Farm’s flavor is unique to the venue, quite unlike other fried chicken. You have to taste it to know what I mean.

White Fence Farm

1376 Joliet Road, Romeoville


Just look for the water tower with the giant “WWF,” and you’ll know you’re at White Fence Farm in Romeoville, one of the early famous dining establishments along Route 66. Celebrating over 65 years in business, this actual farm has been serving up, as they say, “The World’s Greatest Chicken” to several generations of hungry travelers. Drawing fried chicken fans from around the nation is the restaurant’s renowned twice-cooked process, which involves baking and frying chicken to produce a distinctly thin yet crispy crust. In keeping with the authentic farm theme, every meal includes a selection of sides that have become as famous as the chicken: cole slaw, cottage cheese, bean salad, pickled beets and mashed, baked or French-fried potatoes.

Built by multimillionaire coal executive Stuyvesant Peabody in the 1920s, so he could entertain his Chicago friends in a country setting, the building has grown to 11 dining rooms and can seat over 1,200 hungry chicken eaters at a time. Kids of all ages will be entertained by White Fence Farm’s on-site petting zoo, as well as the restaurant’s Car and Antique Museum. Be sure to commemorate your fried chicken road trip by snapping a picture with the larger-than-life chicken mascot near the main doors.

Merichka’s in Crest Hill is a longtime favorite restaurant in the Joliet area and known fo its popular poorboy sandwich. The atmosphere is casual and Merichka’s still covers its tables in red and white checked cloths.


604 Theodore St., Crest Hill


Crest Hill’s own Merichka’s has been serving its legendary take on the classic po’boy sandwich since 1933, using fresh fried chicken in lieu of roast beef or seafood. The family-owned-and-operated eatery takes great pride in using Choice USDA and quality hand-cut meats. From the famed chicken to the freshly hand-ground hamburger, Merichka’s is incredibly authentic. The interior of the quintessential supper club boasts dark rich paneling, red-checkered tablecloths and a generously sized bar, where you can order a libation or two before your meal.

Menu items include great steaks and chops, as well as an extensive seafood selection. The fan-favorite Garlic Butterine can be added to just about everything on the menu, enhancing the flavor of nearly any classic dish. Stop in and try some exciting fried chicken at this icon of Old Route 66.