Charles’ Country Pan-Fried Chicken, one of Harlem’s soul food institutions and one of the city’s most reliable sources for fried chicken, has signed a lease to open a second location on the Upper West Side. The restaurant’s new location is set to open this spring at 144-146 West 72nd Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. Neighborhood blog West Side Rag first reported news of the expansion.
Details on the new location are still scarce, but a broker who represents the landlord tells Eater that the restaurant has signed a “long term lease” and could open its doors in as little as two to three months. Multiple calls to the restaurant went unanswered on Wednesday afternoon.
Charles’ Country Pan-Fried Chicken has taken on many names and shapes throughout its decades-long tenure in Harlem. Started by chef Charles Gabriel as a sidewalk operation along Amsterdam Avenue in 1995, the business expanded first into a food truck — Charles’ Mobile Soul Food Truck, rented from a neighbor for $50 a week — and later into Charles’ Southern Style Kitchen at its current home on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. An off-hours car crash temporarily sidelined the restaurant in 2008, and when it emerged a year later, it did so under its latest name, Charles’ Country Pan-Fried Chicken.
Despite name changes and new addresses over the years, Gabriel has continued to sling some of the city’s best fried chicken. The New York Times calls his cooking the “the Platonic ideal of fried chicken,” the New Yorker says he’s serving “some of the best fried chicken and Southern sides in the city,” and earlier in the pandemic Gothamist found that the chicken still ranked among the very best, even for takeout and delivery.
“We’re gearing up for some new and exciting things coming soon,” the restaurant shared in its most recent Instagram post from December 9.