Walk west on College Street just past Clinton and you’ll stumble across the BEST fried chicken sandwich in Toronto. Look for the “Fried Chicken Sandwiches” sign and you know you’ve arrived at P.G Clucks, or if you’re anything like me, let your nose lead the way because you may smell it before you spot the tiny walk up window just past the College Street Theatre.
As I waited for my turn to order I could tell by the fresh grease drippings surrounding the three-seater bench just outside the entryway and a lone pickle dropped on the sidewalk, this place had to be good.
As I stood in line my tongue salivated at the sight of thick, juicy pieces of chicken, being perfectly battered and fried. I ordered the Classic (Coleslaw, Pickles, Smoky Chili Sauce, Buttermilk Ranch Sauce) and about 6 minutes later my sandwich was wrapped and ready to go. I walked around the corner to a park bench, unwrapped the white and red checkered wrapper and took my first bite.Wow. I was instantly transported into a sort of spicy fried chicken nirvana, where my nerve endings grew fuzzy in a giddy way and this hot fried chicken sandwich was my path to happiness. My teeth sunk into the crunchy chicken releasing the juice, which was trapped between the tender meat and the crisp layer of fried goodness and at that moment I knew this fried chicken was spot on.
I had sauce dripping down my chin and running down my hands, the wind was blowing making it difficult to reach for the napkins because this sandwich was definitely a two-hander, but these were minor distractions from the fried chicken sandwich. I noticed a construction worker watching me and I assumed in all of my grease and sauce laden glory, he must have wanted a bite. I smiled with my scarlet red stained lips and remarked between mouthfuls of fried chicken on just how good it was.
Later as I walked away from the park bench I found the couple who was behind me in the fried chicken line perched at a nearby table and they too wore glorious grins stained scarlet red.
Owned by Pawel Grezlikowski, P.G Clucks is connected to Birreria Volo an Italian-inspired beer hall, so if you don’t want to eat your fried chicken sandwich on the run have a seat at the bar, order a drink and enjoy your sandwich in comfort. To me, Grezlikowski is a hot fried chicken genius and my appreciation for P.G Clucks became even greater when I discovered how much love went into preparing these glorious sandwiches. Whole chicken legs are deboned before being brined and soaked in buttermilk. The brined chicken is dredged twice in flour seasoned with cayenne, garlic, onion and black pepper and then it’s dropped into the deep fryer until it emerges crunchy and crisp. To make his chicken spicy there are two very important things Grezlikowski does that keeps people (like me) flocking back for more. He ferments his own chilies which he uses in his homemade hot sauce and if you order up your chicken spicy he gives it a little Nashville kick by dunking it into a homemade oil infused with cayenne, garlic, onion and sweet brown sugar as soon as it comes out of the fryer.
Get yourself over to P.G Clucks, look for the fried chicken sign and prepare yourself for a transcendent state of fried chicken nirvana.