Nashville

Nashville’s Hot Chicken

By Abbey Brown

Hot chicken is a must-try Nashville specialty. Today, there are over two dozen restaurants in the city that serve the dish, and chefs throughout Atlanta, New York, Chicago, and Australia have created their own “Nashville-style” chicken. KFC has even jumped on the hot chicken train. This January, the fast food chain began selling “Nashville Hot Chicken” and “Nashville Hot Tenders” in its U.S. locations. Although many natives refuse the quick substitute, it is said by the company to be highly successful. While restaurants have their own spin on the local favorite, hot chicken is essentially fried chicken with a cayenne pepper paste served with pickle chips on top and white bread on the bottom.

Serving Nashville since the mid-70s, Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack is believed to be the originator of hot chicken. Current owner, Andre Prince Jefferies states that her great-uncle Thornton Prince III, a known womanizer, was responsible for the accidental discovery of hot chicken. One of Prince’s bitter girlfriends cooked him extra hot chicken as revenge for all his gallivanting, but thankfully it backfired. Thornton loved the chicken so much that he and his brothers opened BBQ Chicken Shack cafe in the mid-30s to sell the hot specialty.

Warning: hotness levels vary between restaurants. Advise for the weak of tongue, ask before ordering!  Here are some restaurants that serve hot chicken in Nashville:

Prince’s Hot Chicken. Prince’s is open Monday-Friday, so don’t wait until the weekend to try it. You might have to stand longer in line due to crowds, but their hot chicken is made fresh to order. Trust me, no one will call you a wimp if you get the mild. It’s spicy!

Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish. Locations in east Nashville and Franklin, you can choose from Bolton’s hot fish or pork if you’re not into having chicken.

Hattie B’s. The most commercial of the city’s hot chicken restaurants, Hattie B’s has two locations in west Nashville and Midtown. Pair your meal with a pint or share a pitcher with friends. I suggest a pitcher to yourself if you dare trying the Shut the Cluck Up.

Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant. If you’re staying downtown, Puckett’s is a well-known eatery that hosts live music and serves traditional southern cuisines. If you really enjoy their hot chicken, you can buy spices, sauces, or merchandise from their store.

Charlie Bob’s. Located north of the city, Charlie Bob’s is a diner that is sure to give you good food without hurting your wallet. There’s even a bar in the back equipped with a jukebox, dart board, and corn hole.

Princes Hot Chicken

Prince’s Hot Chicken. Photo by Sean Russell

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