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Lola's Chicken Shack is basically a fast-food joint. But the restaurant, which specializes in “hand-breaded chicken tenders,” is also a family-run place, and the chicken is cooked to order and tastes a hell of a lot better than what they serve at [insert name of popular chain here]. Lola’s elevates the chicken tender with a secret weapon from Japan: koji, or mold-inoculated cooked rice, which is then mixed with water and salt and allowed to ferment. It’s used in the marinade, which yields meat that’s uncommonly juicy and umami-rich. Customers can choose between two types of breading and a plain grilled option, and there are eighteen different house-made dipping sauces. But the star is the chicken itself, which is flavorful and moist, with a tenderness that lasts even as the chicken cools.

— Luke Tsai

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

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Price: $

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