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Charles’ Pan-Fried Chicken
You can’t talk about fried chicken in this town without talking about Charles Gabriel, Harlem’s critically acclaimed frymaster who began his career twenty years ago selling chicken out of a truck. Until recently, Gabriel ran a three-shop operation on Frederick Douglass Boulevard called Charles’ Southern-Style Kitchen and moonlighted at Rack & Soul. But eight months ago, a car plowed through one of his storefronts, taking out the beloved steam-table buffet and dashing the dining dreams of soul-food aficionados everywhere. In October of 2009, he finally reopens his flagship, this time as Charles’ Pan-Fried Chicken, calling attention to the increasingly rare method he employs to fry his legs, wings, breasts, and thighs, turning them frequently in his custom-made manhole-size skillets. How does it feel to return to his old block? “Beautiful,” he says.
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