Hot Chicken Joints of Nashville

On menus and specials boards all over town, you’ll likely spot homages to hot chicken—from basic versions to white-tablecloth varieties. Since 1930, the cayenne-spiced chicken served over white bread with pickles has been one of our star culinary claims to fame.

112 19th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
Opened in 2012, Hattie B’s is the new kid on the block for hot chicken, Nashville’s most iconic dish. Still, what the restaurant lacks in history it makes up in flavor, proven by the long queues that don’t seem to diminish until the kitchen closes at midnight. The hot chicken, made in the traditional style with a hot cayenne paste, comes in a variety of forms, from wings to dark meat; order the half bird if you want to try a little of everything. Then decide how much you want to crank up the heat, which ranges from mild to “Shut the Cluck Up: Burn Notice.” Half the fun is choosing the sides, which include pimento mac and cheese, Southern greens, baked beans, and extra pickles.
123 Ewing Drive
According to legend, Nashville-style hot chicken began in the 1930s when Thornton Prince’s girlfriend dumped cayenne on his fried chicken to get revenge for his cheating ways. But he loved it instead, and eventually opened up a hot chicken shop of his own. The Prince family carries on the tradition today at their simple strip-mall space. Customers place their orders at a kitchen window for varying levels of heat, from mild to extra hot. The spicy paste is applied after the fried chicken comes out of cast-iron skillets, and then the bird is placed on white bread and served with pickles. The addictive combo of tastes has since spawned hot chicken joints and special menu items across Music City and beyond.
624 Main Street
Visit the cinderblock space in East Nashville or the newer joint off 8th Avenue to taste this Nashville treasure at one of the longest-standing hot chicken restaurants in town. Choose the chicken or whitefish served with white bread and pickles, of course.
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