Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Marriage of My Loves: Fried Chicken and Doughnuts at Federal Donuts

Greeshma moved to Philadelphia over a year ago.  I felt bad for her, because I had always assumed NYC > Philadelphia (because I am so narrow-sighted and small-minded), but maybe Greeshma knew something that I didn't know...

That Philadelphia was going to receive a restaurant that combined all the goodness in the world at one venue.  And such an official-sounding restaurant at that.

Yes! Hello! So nice to meet you, Federal Donuts!

There are three things to notice when you enter Federal Donuts.

1) It's small.  Maybe ten counter seats only.  Get there early (11:30a) to secure a spot in the fried chicken queue because apparently they run out quick during the work week.

2) They have a sweet coffee drip system similar to Blue Bottle Coffee (to the left in the image below):

3) You cannot help but stare at the racks of beautiful, "fancy" doughnuts awaiting next to golden pieces of fried chicken:

Once you get over all that (thankfully Belmund is a patient fellow), you can focus on ordering!

We made it easy and ordered one of every fancy doughnut flavor.

The doughnuts are all cakey gems, so yeast lovers be warned !

The one that looks like a hamburger is Pomegranate Nutella
It's filled with a ring of Nutella that is overpowered by the tart icing. 
Lemon poppy was bright and citrusy.  A good doughnut palate cleanser as you nosh on other doughnuts.
Apple cinnamon, like eating an apple pie for breakfast, a.k.a. amaaazing.
Key lime pie and probably Belmund and my hands down favorite.  Graham cracker crumb aaaaand...
Tart key lime filling on the inside?!  More pie for breakfast?!?!  Cannot. Get. Enough.
Raspberry with white chocolate filling is great for raspberry lovers, but as one that does not like that darn hairy berry, I was okay with just a nibble and moving on.  
Spicy chocolate peanut was a dark, ugly doughnut with a good amount of zing and crunch from the peanuts.  Pretty dense.  (Like Belmund's head.)
 Around 11:45, they passed out tickets to drooling customers awaiting the frying of the chicken !  Each fried chicken half is one ticket.  We ordered ourselves a bird and a half.

The chicken comes in crispy and glazed versions; crispy flavors include Za'atar (Middle Eastern flair), Harissa (Moroccan chiles), Mole and Jerk while glazed flavors feature chile garlic and honey ginger.

Belmund and I went for the crispy (you know it!).

The Za'atar was a dark and beautifully spiced bird with great flavor. 
The jerk chicken was mildly spiced.
The initial bite of new fried chicken is the most nerve-wracking for me - so many questions running through my head!: Will it be crunchy?  Will it be well-seasoned?  Will it be sufficiently juicy and moist?

After first, second, and tenth bites, I determined that Federal is a fine fried chicken, moist through and through, not greasy and fairly flavorful, however as you can determine from the photos, crunch-factor is a bit lacking from the sparse batter.

However...coupled with the doughnuts, including the maple doughnut that comes with the chicken meal, I can't help but like this spot, and would come back.  Sure.  Why not?


So I did.  With Greeshma.  The next day.

To eat hot doughnuts (served only from 7-10a) flavored with appolonia, vanilla-lavender and indian cinnamon (how could I resist!).

Let's face it.  Hot doughnuts spiced with anything are always good.

I love doughnuts.
And chicken.

And you.


 Federal Donuts
1219 S 2nd St
PhiladelphiaPA 19147


  1. what an INCREDIBLE post! i want EVERYTHING!!! i've been super obsessed with key lime lately...