Spend any time in New Orleans, and a sort of general agreement will become abundantly clear: There is fried chicken, and then there is Willie Mae’s Scotch House, the unique, award-winning, and decades-old restaurant founded by Wille Mae Seaton in Louisiana. The fried chicken there is just different, most fans agree, making it an indelible part of New Orleans culinary history.
Now that history is expanding to Los Angeles. Willie Mae’s will open a standalone, full-service restaurant right in the thick of Venice this summer, with plans to bring its famous fried bird to the West Coast permanently. Previously, the group had formed a collaboration with HiHo Cheeseburger founders Jerry Greenberg (Sugarfish) and Lowell Sharron on a fried chicken sandwich available to Angelenos, but this jump is much bigger. By late summer, Willie Mae’s will be operational with a full menu of New Orleans staple dishes like fried chicken, red beans, gumbo, and beyond. The restaurant will have to compete with LA legends like Dinah’s and Roscoe’s, but that’s okay; there’s room for everyone in the fried chicken space.
Don’t expect this new location at 324 Lincoln Boulevard to be just a pop-up or a franchise agreement, either. Willie Mae’s great-granddaughter and current proprietor of the Louisiana location Kerry Seaton-Stewart will be on-site herself, along with partner Mike Stewart, to run the restaurant. They plan on living in Los Angeles for much of the year and splitting their time between New Orleans and Los Angeles. While no opening date is official, reps say the restaurant should be online before the end of the summer.
For those unfamiliar, Willie Mae’s is widely considered to serve some of the best fried chicken anywhere in America. Established in 1957 as a bar and later relocated to the 6th Ward, the restaurant has become a staple destination when dining in New Orleans. Willie Mae’s Scotch House has survived Hurricane Katrina, the gentrification of New Orleans, and the death of Willie Mae Seaton herself at 99 to become a James Beard award-winning operation beloved across the country. Now, much like Hotville Chicken, a piece of true Southern fried chicken royalty is coming to Los Angeles.