Hard Knox Cafe (2526 Third St. at 22nd St.) is one of only a handful of Southern and soul food restaurants in town, so the news of its second, more spacious location in the Outer Richmond (2448 Clement at 25th Ave.) sent many deep-fried fantasies into high gear. Expanding its soul food reach out of its decade-old Potrero Hill digs, the Hua family has brought its infamously tasty fried chicken to an area best known for a vast array of Asian food. But according to manager Rance Hodge, it's not as odd a fit as it might seem. "We sort of stand out around here, but since the first day it's been nonstop crazy, with lines out the door," Hodge says. "We've been seeing a lot of familiar faces, a lot of customers who used to come all the way to Third Street." As for what exactly draws diehard fans back again and again, Hodge casts a wide net: "I hate to generalize, but the fried chicken is incomparable. It's even better the next day; that's what we're known for. The Cajun meatloaf, the barbecue spareribs - those are all very popular. I would probably go for the blackened catfish myself. It's pretty light. You don't go over the top."
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