Fried foods are always a fan favorite. In addition to french fries and onion rings, an equally delicious option fried staple is the chicken tender. Whether you enjoy a classic Southern-style tender or would rather indulge in the spiciest kind, you are sure to be satisfied with any of these NoVA finds.
Craving your classic chicken tender? Your first stop should be Mason-Dixon Café. This wholesome spot mixes culinary experiences from both the North and the South to provide comfort foods that anyone and everyone will enjoy. Their popular Southern Tender Platter includes three fried chicken tenders with sides of sausage gravy, fries, and slaw. It’s the perfect choice for anyone disinterested in any of the frills you might see on other tender platters. And with the slogan “where the locals really eat,” you won’t just enjoy the tenders, but also the hospitality. 2100 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg; 11 Hope Rd., Ste. 115, Stafford
If spicy food is your thing, Wooboi is calling your name. This NoVA-based restaurant isn’t messing around when it comes to spices, and with their simple yet intimidating menu, be prepared to feast on the hottest tenders in the region. Try their most popular choice, The Sando, which comes with ciderslaw, butter pickles, and comeback sauce. As for the heat, that’s all up to you. But from the classic (no heat) to code blue (super extra hot), anyone will be able to taste what made Wooboi into the raved-about restaurant that it is. 139 Spring St., Ste. 1, Herndon; 531 Montgomery St., Alexandria
Staying on the hot and spicy theme, another restaurant in the area is combining Sichuan pepper and Nashville style chicken to bring you the ultimate hot chicken tender. Chef and owner Kevin Tien uses a spice from the Sichuan cuisine of China with a flavor unlike most spices used in the U.S. It has a slight lemony taste that creates a tingly numbness in the mouth. He then makes his own version of the Nashville style hot chicken, which is comprised of lard and cayenne pepper, and replaces lard with chili oil and infuses his Sichuan spice with the cayenne pepper. You won’t find anywhere with a chicken tender flavor as unique as you will at Hot Lola’s. 4238 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 112, Arlington
You might think a large array of options isn’t necessary for chicken tenders, until you step into Choong Man Chicken. This highly-rated restaurant brings you an endless selection of Korean fried chicken, with variations you probably haven’t tried but will undoubtedly enjoy. From their crispy Lemon Spring Onion Tenders to their indulgent Hot Snow Onion Tenders, there’s no doubt you will be leaving Choong Man Chicken with a satisfied smile. Multiple locations
Eating chicken tenders when they are blanketed by a delicious and savory biscuit takes them to another level. At Preservation Biscuit Company, a rustic restaurant tucked away in a small corner of Falls Church, you’ll find a wide selection of flavorful biscuit sandwiches, all of which are worth the try. But for any chicken tender fan, their PBC is the one to pick. With chicken strips, hot honey, bacon, napa cabbage, smoked gouda pimento cheese, and Dijon mustard, you will surely be full and fulfilled. It’s no wonder this choice is the restaurant’s bestseller. 102 E. Fairfax St., Falls Church
For more stories like this, subscribe to our Food newsletter.