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by Mr. Bibb

It’s Hot Chicken Days here in Music City!

Thirty locally owned restaurants over the next 30 days will feature 30 ways to turn up the heat on your fried chicken.

In honor of Hot Chicken Days, Cyndie and I decided to visit the home of Nashville’s hot chicken royalty, Prince’s Hot Chicken.

According to Wikipedia, “It is generally accepted that the originator of hot chicken is the family of Andre Prince Jeffries, owner of Prince’s Hot Chicken. She has operated the restaurant since 1980; before that time, it was owned by her great-uncle, Thornton Prince. Although impossible to verify, Jeffries says the development of hot chicken was an accident. Her Great-Uncle Thornton was purportedly a womanizer, and after a particularly late night out his girlfriend at the time cooked him a fried chicken breakfast with extra pepper as revenge. Instead, Thornton decided he liked it so much he came up with his own extra-spicy recipe and served it in his restaurant.”

What started out as a revenge breakfast has turned into a Nashville classic.  Nashville hot chicken is on the menu in one variation or another at many sit down type restaurants in Nashville these days. But I think most connoisseurs would agree that the classic version is served primarily at one of three places: Prince’s, Bolton’s Hot Chicken & Fish and 400 Degrees. I am sure there are arguments for others to be included on this list, and if you really want to discuss such things there’s a great Facebook group to join – Fraternal Order of Hot Chicken (FOHC).

We visited Prince’s today right at lunch time. Their posted hours for weekdays are noon ’till 10 p.m. Here’s a little tip: we arrived about 20 minutes before noon, they were open and we were 19th in line. We did manage to garner one of the few tables in the place as most folks are rightfully apt to take their orders to go. Hot chicken is Not. Fast. Food. It takes a good 20 minutes or so to be ready so be prepared to wait. Prince’s is a small place. I think there are only six tables. And the chicken is not the only thing hot at Prince’s. It must have been 90 degrees in the dining room when the temperature outside was in the low 70s.

Prince’s Hot Chicken is served mild, medium, hot and extra hot.  I hot chickenordered mine hot with a side of French fries. Cyndie ordered hers medium with a side of baked beans.  We got some extra bread and a cup of pickles to help cool the flame. They don’t serve milk, so your next best bet is lemonade for cutting the heat as you go.

My chicken was really HOT! I can’t even imagine the extra hot.  Just plain hot was definitely a challenge.  My chicken was tasty and I enjoyed tackling the heat, but next time I think I will order medium. Cyndie seemed to think hers was just right. And we both loved the baked beans.

We have previously tried 400 Degree’s Hot Chicken.  It was fabulous and righteously hot. Aqui Simpson, the owner of 400 Degrees, is a sweetheart and most likely will be the one to serve you if she is not in the kitchen doing the cooking. She grew up eating Prince’s so hers is styled after theirs but with her own touch. We are also looking forward to trying Bolton’s Hot Chicken & Fish soon but for digestive recovery reasons, we need to space these visits out a bit. hot chicken
Prince's Hot Chicken Shack on Urbanspoon Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish on Urbanspoon 400 Degrees on Urbanspoon

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