Author: JoshAndVanessa

Pepperfire: A Turn to the Dark(er) Side of Hot Chicken

pepperfire-dark While the spice mix at each hot chicken shack is unique, most have roots in the delicious combination pioneered by Prince’s so long ago. Pepperfire Hot Chicken breaks out of this mold — reflecting the nearby progressive, young-urban Five Points neighborhood — while managing to stay true to the premise of Nashville Hot Chicken.

Not all innovations are automatically for the better, though, and Pepperfire ultimately proved to be divisive. While some might find this smokier, darker take on hot chicken alluring, others may be turned off by the heavy use of black pepper. For the latter, this is simply not the hot chicken to seek.
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Prince’s: A Delicious Pilgrimage to the Hot Chicken Motherland

princes-window Those who are unfortunate to live outside easy access to Nashville, but savvy enough to be aware of our local, fiery flavor, are likely to be acquainted with Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. The original, cash-only, hot chicken restaurant has been widely featured by food bloggers, press, and travel television. Despite its high profile, Prince’s is not the easiest hot chicken place to reach. Nonetheless, their chicken is delicious and lives up to their moniker: Prince’s is genuinely a prince (but not a king) among hot chicken places. Their crunchy crust and unique, spicy flavor makes it easy to see how they started a hot chicken wildfire in Nashville.
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Hattie B’s: Proceed Without Caution

biohazChooksIn our original review of Hattie B’s, we gave our usual recommendation: Start with the Medium.

But, after a recent outing, we feel compelled to amend our caution. If you love spicy food, go ahead and start with the Hot.

Our change of heart comes after taking a large group of out-of-town friends and acquaintances to Hattie B’s. Under our advice, many in our party decided to order the Medium. Most agreed (per usual) that the chicken was great, but more than a few in our group – mostly the guys – thought they could have gone hotter.

And we agree. We usually order the Hot, and sometimes even the Damn Hot. The Medium at Hattie B’s would hardly phase us at this point, and it may not impress those who are accustomed to some decent levels of heat (e.g., Sriracha, Tabasco).

This is not a general hot chicken recommendation, though. While we love the heat-to-flavor ratio at Hattie B’s more than at any other place we’ve tried so far, their heat is milder compared to the others. A Hattie B’s Hot is more like a Prince’s Medium or 400 Degrees’ 200 degrees.

So, heat it up if you think you’re up for it.

400 Degrees: Not Feeling the Heat

400 degrees thigh

Let us start this way: We heart hot chicken.

And we genuinely want to love every hot chicken place we go. Each new place offers titillating promise. But, unfortunately, we feel we have to put 400 Degrees in the friend zone. 400 Degrees has a convenient lunch location, tucked away with a few other restaurants in a small food court near downtown Nashville. The friendly, joking staff — especially the charming owner — serves up decent chicken with a smile. But we didn’t feel the spark. In sum, we’ll hang out if we happen to be in the area, but we’re not changing our plans to come if they call.
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Hot Stuff: A Dark Horse in South Nashville

hot stuff

Hot Stuff doesn’t have the renown that a lot of other hot chicken shacks have, but it puts out well prepared chicken at a good value. That alone, is worth the trip for any hot chicken traveler, and Hot Stuff distinguishes itself from other restaurants with their unique fries and the tingling sensation that lingers on your lips after you finish.
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Hattie B’s: You Never Forget Your First

Chicken1

Hattie B’s was our introduction to Nashville Hot Chicken and remains our favorite. That isn’t to say that we like it purely for sentimental reasons — it just has the best chicken we’ve yet had the pleasure of eating.

We find ourselves returning and recommending the restaurant to friends (and strangers) interested in sampling the local faire because it is located in the highly accessible Midtown, has commendable service, and consistently tastes great.
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