Country music may be the first thing that comes to mind for some when they think of Nashville, but for me its food. Specifically, southern classics like fried “hot” chicken. Since I go to school in Nashville, I have plenty of time to try them all. However, if you’re only there for a quick visit, you have to go straight for the best of the best. Here are some hot-spots and favorites that are guaranteed to keep your mouth burning for days.
1. Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Hattie B’s is one of the most well-known, and for good reason. The two locations have something for everyone, from the no spice “Southern-style” to the incredibly hot “Shut the Cluck up.” Don’t let the juiciness of their chicken distract you from the sides, though; their mac and cheese and fries make the meal. Be prepared for a long line if you go at their peak hours, but it moves fast and is well worth it.
2. Party Foul
Last (to be opened) but definitely not least. One of the newest fried chicken hot spots takes the stage, being the only place offering both hot chicken AND a full bar. What else do you need? It doesn’t hurt that their chicken has perfect crackling skin. And don’t worry, for those who can’t handle the heat, you don’t have to get out of the kitchen. They have a wide range of temperatures, ranging from mild to “Poultrygeist.”
3. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack
Legend has it the original Prince intended to get revenge on her husband by making his chicken unbearably hot. To her dismay but to the benefit of hot chicken lovers everywhere, he enjoyed the spicy chicken and it has been sold out of the North Nashville location for over 30 years.
4. Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish
Bolton’s has two great locations that have been in business since 2000. This hot chicken stands out due to the double seasoning. A dry rub goes on before it’s fried, and then a second one after to make sure not a single spot lacks spice. This results in a burn that you hate to love, and you can’t help but want to come back for more.
5. Arnold’s Country Kitchen
A revered meat-and-three, Arnold’s Country Kitchen serves up some of the crispiest fried chicken in the game. Their secret is all in the breading. They bread it once, refrigerate, and then bread it again before frying. The result is indescribably good- you need to try it for yourself. It’s only served on Mondays though, so definitely plan your week around trying this.
6. Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant
Puckett’s has been serving delicious skillet-fried chicken without fail since the 1950s. Be prepared for about a 20-minute wait, though. On the bright side, this wait ensures perfectly crispy skin on the outside and juicy chicken on the inside making it well worth waiting in the line.
7. Pepperfire Hot Chicken
Funny enough, Pepperfire owes its success to Prince’s. The founder loved Prince’s chicken so much he ate it every day for 14 years in an attempt to perfect his own recipe. When he finally did, he opened Pepperfire in East Nashville, serving some of the juiciest chicken out there.