Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is a family-owned restaurant with 25 locations in 11 states. Featuring fabulous fried chicken, mouthwatering sides and homemade desserts…arrive hungry, and leave full and satisfied!
I moved from Maryland to Oklahoma in 2007, and I still return to visit at least once a year. My parents live near the University of Maryland campus, and each time we drive around the area I’m amazed at all the change happening in and around the campus and surrounding areas.
About a year ago I saw friends talking on Facebook about Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, and how it was so good. I immediately added it to my must-visit restaurants on my next trip, and then promptly forgot. So I was on a mission during my visit last month.
ABOUT GUS’S WORLD FAMOUS FRIED CHICKEN
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is a family-owned restaurant that has a wonderful history of simple beginnings of Na and Maggie Vanderbilt in the back of a tavern in Mason, TN. The restaurant currently has 25 locations in 11 states. There are 3 locations in Texas, and the next one is heading to Lexington, Kentucky. Gus’s is constantly expanding, so of course I think their next move should be into Oklahoma!
I visited the Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken location in Greenbelt, MD just minutes from campus. The space has been numerous restaurants since I lived in the area. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it’s the food and atmosphere that counts!
I arrived at 1:30, and when I saw the parking lot nearly empty I almost changed my mind. I was concerned that the food wouldn’t be that fresh, because it might have been sitting for a while. But I was starving so I took a chance. There were only 2 other tables occupied when I walked in. Guests streamed in steadily while I ate. By the time I left, then front dining room was full, as were half of the barstools. You know you’re doing something right when you get a rush at 2pm on a Saturday in the summer.
You feel welcome as soon as you walk in. Staff at the host stand greet you warmly, and you can select your own table. The main dining room is in the front as you enter; there is a large open doorway leading to the center section, which has more dining tables plus stools to sit at the bar; and then there is an additional dining space at the back for private dining or overflow. The decor is rustic, and there are cool paintings, pictures, wall art, and posters on the walls.
A SIMPLE MENU, FULL OF BIG FLAVORS
The menu is simple, and the prices are very reasonable. Of course, fried chicken is the star of the show. You can get individual pieces, “snacks” (chicken & white bread only), “just the chicken”, or plates. Sides may vary by location, and some locations offer seasonal sides.
Even with the small menu, I couldn’t decide. Harry, my server, was so friendly and patient, and very helpful. I’m not a big beer drinker, but when I’m in Maryland I always have Yuengling. It’s a Pennsylvania beer that I can never find anywhere else…so when in Rome, right?! I also started with fried green tomatoes
The tomatoes are very thin cut, and therefore got too soft for my tastes. However, that was the only negative. The cornmeal crust is well seasoned, light, and super crunchy. The tomatoes are fried to order, so I practically scalded myself on the first bite. That did not stop me from immediately taking another bite.
My only decision on the chicken was which option to choose. I went with the 2-piece dark meat plate so I could try a couple of sides. Plates come with baked beans and cole slaw, but I decided to change it up. After some help from my server I chose mac & cheese and fried okra
I refused to eat okra of any type growing up. I couldn’t get past the sliminess, and nobody I knew ever made fried okra. I’ve had quite a bit of fried okra in Oklahoma, but this is easily the best I’ve ever had. Light, crunchy coating, well seasoned, scorching hot. I dipped the okra into the ranch that came with my fried green tomatoes and it was heaven.
I’m very particular about mac and cheese, and I rarely ever order it at restaurants because I usually end up disappointed. This mac and cheese is definitely in my Top 5. Silky cheese sauce, topped with more shredded cheese and paprika for a little kick. I could have eaten a whole tray.
The chicken wasn’t as heat-hot as I would have liked. I was a little disappointed, but quickly got over that. Besides, if the chicken was straight out of the oil I would have scalded my mouth. The crispy skin is very well seasoned, and it has a wonderful crunch. The chicken is extremely tender and juicy, and practically melted in my mouth.
WHAT’S BEHIND THE WHITE BREAD?
I have to admit, I was confused by the white bread that comes with plates and snacks. When Na and Maggie Vanderbilt began the restaurant, they served their chicken between 2 pieces of white bread. So to keep with tradition and history, you still get the white bread. I didn’t eat it, because I ran out of space in my stomach.
I was so full that I could barely think, so when Harry asked if I wanted dessert I said no. But then I reconsidered…for research purposes of course! Chess pie is a southern staple, so I decided to get a piece and take it to go.
The pie is delicious. It’s also very rich and quite sweet, so it is definitely an occasional treat. It is very good at room temperature, and even more divine warm.
Will I return to Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken? As I ate, I was planning my next trip. The following week I was in Atlanta, and saw a Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken a block from our hotel! We tried to go on Tuesday night, but by the time we got there it was closed. I can assure you I will return on my next visit to Maryland.