The Best Hot Chicken in Nashville for 2022

Last Updated on November 16, 2022 | 0 Comments
We've rounded up the best hot chicken in Nashville.
Last Updated on November 16, 2022 | 0 Comments

Before your taste buds can take on the challenge of trying the best hot chicken in Nashville, you probably need to know what the heck it is. Everyone knows what fried chicken is. Everyone’s eaten Buffalo wings. But Nashville hot chicken isn’t your average bird. So what exactly is hot chicken? 

Traditional preparations start with a cut of meat — thigh, breast or wing — soaked in a buttermilk pepper brine, coated in flour and then fried. The best hot chicken in Nashville gets another coating of dry spice or hot sauce before it’s nestled on top of a slice of white bread and dressed with a pickle. Bottom line? Even your friends who drown everything in hot sauce will agree — it’s hot! 

Let’s get ready to explore the best hot chicken in Nashville. Just be sure to have your cold glass of milk ready because there’s no other remedy for the afterburn of Nashville hot chicken. 

 

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What Is the Story Behind Hot Chicken?

The legend behind Music City’s most famous food might be tastier than the best hot chicken in Nashville itself. Thornton Price was a ladies' man. That didn’t sit well with his girlfriend. She thought she’d teach him a lesson, so one night she turned up the heat on his favorite fried chicken.

But her plan backfired (no pun intended). The heat didn’t phase Thornton in the least. He loved it so much that he learned to make the dish himself, opened his own restaurant and turned hot chicken into Nashville’s most iconic dish. Now you, too, can find this classic concoction in numerous restaurants around the city or on food tours in Nashville.

13 Best Hot Chicken Spots in Nashville

1. Prince’s Hot Chicken

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Prince’s Hot Chicken. This is the home of the original. The woman scorned is long gone, but Thorton’s been serving up the best Nashville hot chicken in Nashville ever since. 

The Vibe

Casual chicken shack with plenty of TVs to keep you entertained while you wait for your food. They’re historically slow to serve, but the low prices leave no room for complaint.

What to Order

It’s the OG for the best hot chicken in Nashville. Pick your choice of white or dark meat pieces and your preferred level of heat. Make sure to get a side of ranch to help you keep your cool.

Prince’s Hot Chicken | Multiple Locations | $

Prince's is the original best hot chicken in Nashville.
via Prince's Hot Chicken

2. Hattie B’s

Hattie B’s is usually the first place you’ll hear about when you are looking for the best hot chicken in Nashville. They are also the most touristy. But waiting in line and letting the anticipation grow is part of the hot chicken experience. 

The Vibe

Buzzy tourist trap with lines long enough to let you count your chickens before they hatch. Be ready to place your order when you finally reach the front of the line, then take your haul to a picnic table.

What to Order

A half bird is a good way to go because you’ve likely worked up an appetite. The Damn Hot spice level is tolerable but sneaks up. If you’re bold, you can go with Shut The Cluck Up. Just be sure to order plenty of cold beverages with your meal because there is no easy way to get a refill when the heat of the best hot chicken in Nashville starts to creep.

Hattie B’s | Multiple Locations | $

Nashville hot chicken, crinkle cut fries and greens
via Hattie B's

3. Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish

When the description of the hottest spice level is “might or might not have the Devil in it,” you know you’ve found a place that serves the best hot chicken in Nashville. Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish is another Nashville institution using a tried-and-true family recipe. Locals will tell you this is not just hot chicken, it’s very hot chicken.

The Vibe

Old-school neighborhood chicken shack. They have a permanent food truck and outdoor seating to handle the crowds in good weather.

What to Order

The menu is simple and straightforward. If you want to keep your fingers from catching on fire while eating the best hot chicken in Nashville, get the chicken on a stick and a side of potato salad.

Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish | 624 Main St., Nashville, TN 37206 | $

Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish is some of the best hot chicken in Nashville.
via Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish

4. Bishop’s Meat and Three

Before the Hattie B’s craze, there was Bishop’s Meat and Three in the community of Franklin outside of Nashville. While there’s an affiliation between the two restaurants, Bishop’s earns many local votes for best hot chicken in Nashville over Hattie B’s any day. 

The Vibe

Comfortable and casual spot to enjoy a plate of the best hot chicken in Nashville with down-home-cooking sides. You might wait in line, but it won’t be like Hattie B’s.

What to Order

The sign says meat and three, so do as you’re told. They rotate the main entrée and vegetable sides daily, but hot fried chicken is served seven days a week.

Bishop’s Meat and Three | 3065 Mallory Ln. #115, Franklin, TN 37067 | $

a variety of hot chicken plates with side dishes
via Bishop's Meat and Three

5. Party Fowl

They may or may not have the best hot chicken in Nashville, but they have the best name. Party Fowl is putting fun twists on the classic dish. They are known as much for their hottest spice option (Poultrygeist) and their boozy slushies as for having the best hot chicken in Nashville.

The Vibe

The vibe is fun and hip. A place you want to go with friends to watch the game. Also great for brunch.

What to Order

The options for how to get your hot chicken are endless — street tacos, quesadillas, a Cuban sandwich or nachos — but what is absolutely not to be missed is “Brunch for Two,” a 55-ounce bloody mary topped with two whole fried game hens, scotch eggs, okra and a whole avocado. This dish not only gives you some of the best hot chicken in Nashville, but it’s also the most Instagrammable hot chicken dish in the city.

Party Fowl | Multiple Locations | $$

a bloody mary with hot chicken and scotch egg
via Party Fowl

6. Pepperfire Hot Chicken

While it’s typical to see the best hot chicken in Nashville served open-faced on a piece of white bread, it wasn’t always so. Pepperfire Hot Chicken claims to be the first to start that trend and was the first to serve hot chicken tenders. 

The Vibe

They have come a long way from the converted single-pump gas station of the original location. Now located in the trendy Nations neighborhood, it’s your standard come-as-you-are spot for the best hot chicken in Nashville with cold draft beer.

What to Order

This is the best hot chicken sandwich in Nashville for sure. Two hot chicken tenders on a brioche bun with slaw and a poppy seed dressing. If you’re not a sandwich fan, go for the Tender Royale and leave the bun behind. Don’t forget to order a side of green chili mac and cheese.

Pepperfire Hot Chicken | 5104 C Centennial Blvd., Nashville, TN 37209 | $

a hot chicken sandwich with coleslaw
via Pepperfire Hot Chicken

7. Moore’s Spicy Fried Chicken

Sometimes the best hot chicken in Nashville is not exactly in Nashville. Moore’s Spicy Fried Chicken serves the Hendersonville community more frequently than it does tourists, but their hot chicken is worth the drive.

The Vibe

Mom and pop restaurant. The yellow-and-white checkerboard floor and wood-paneled walls give it an old-school pizza parlor feel. 

What to Order

This is a good place to get the best hot chicken in Nashville for those who don’t need fancy preparations or sides. Grab a leg quarter with a side of seasoned crinkle-cut fries and sweet tea. 

Moore’s Spicy Fried Chicken | 115 Walton Ferry Rd., Hendersonville, TN 37075 | $

a cartoon rooster and slogan
via Moore's Spicy Fried Chicken

8. Edley’s Bar-B-Que

It’s no surprise that a successful family-recipe barbecue joint would also serve the best hot chicken in Nashville. Edley’s Bar-B-Que takes pride in their from-scratch food, and the hot chicken is no exception.

The Vibe

Sports bar with a hot chicken flair. Edley’s also gets serious style points for best presentation of the best hot chicken in Nashville. 

What to Order

Their hot chicken tenders are soaked in buttermilk and jalapeño juice before hitting the fryer and are finished with a house-made rub. Try the grits casserole for your side with one of their adult milkshakes.

Edley’s Bar-B-Que | Multiple Locations | $$

Edley's Bar-B-Que chicken tenders are some of the best hot chicken in Nashville.
via Edley's Bar-B-Que

9. Chauhan Ale & Masala House

Bet you didn’t expect to find an Indian restaurant on the list of best hot chicken in Nashville! While this is definitely more of a global spot than your typical hot chicken shack, the brunch menu at Chauhan Ale & Masala House pays homage to the city’s most famous dish.

The Vibe

Executive Chef Maneet Chauhan, famous for her appearance on Chopped, has created the perfect fusion of cool Nashville aesthetic with Indian flair. Much classier than your average place to get the best hot chicken in Nashville.

What to Order

The Nashville hot fried chicken pakora sandwich comes on grilled sourdough with masala fries. If you’re a table for two, pair it with the Chauhan burger. 

Chauhan Ale & Masala House | 123 12th Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37203 | $$

fusion hot chicken Indian pakoras
via Chauhan Ale & Masala House

10. Biscuit Love

Biscuit Love has you covered if you want the best hot chicken in Nashville on a biscuit instead of white bread. 

The Vibe

Get up early to get a seat in this popular breakfast spot. Perfect place to recover after a late night on Broadway.

What to Order

The Princess is comfort food for your inner queen. A fluffy buttermilk biscuit topped with a boneless hot chicken thigh, pickles and a fried egg drizzled in honey. You’ll be in need of a royal nap after this one.

Biscuit Love | Multiple Locations | $

a fried piece of chicken on a biscuit drizzled with honey
via Biscuit Love

11. Subculture Urban Cuisine & Café

Sometimes you want your hot, but you need your noodles. Subculture Urban Cuisine & Café is not known for having the best hot chicken in Nashville, but they have one of the most unique dishes featuring the city’s most famous spicy bird. 

The Vibe

The contemporary but casual vibe and the modern food presentation are a surprising contrast to the basic strip mall exterior.

What to Order

The hot chicken ramen, heat level of “stupid hot,” will warm even the coldest soul on a winter day. Don’t think you’re going to get noodles with a few little bites of hot chicken. The bowl has an entire boneless thigh’s worth of the best hot chicken in Nashville tucked on the side.

Subculture Urban Cuisine & Café | 5737 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211 | $

Subculture serves some of Nashville's best hot chicken with their ramen.
via Subculture Urban Cuisine & Café 

12. Red’s 615 Kitchen

When you investigate the best hot chicken in Nashville, you aren’t usually worried about what kind of training the chef has. That said, it can’t hurt when the man behind the pan has years of experience perfecting the signature dish. At Red’s 615 Kitchen, Chef Eric “Red” White brines his bird for 36 hours before tossing it in his own signature spice blend. 

The Vibe

A simple hometown fixed food truck. No frills, just food.

What to Order

Word on the street is that Red’s hot chicken mac and cheese crunchwrap is well on its way to being a cult favorite that people drive from far and wide for.

Red’s 615 Kitchen | 115 27th Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37210 | $

a wrap with hot chicken and mac and cheese inside
via Red's 615 Kitchen

13. The Southern V

The best hot chicken in Nashville might not be chicken at all. The Southern V serves up a plant-based version of the iconic dish, and they’re betting it'll make you happier than a fox in the hen house.

The Vibe

A clean and quaint family-owned vegan restaurant. Their hours are limited, and they recommend you call in advance to make sure the dining room is open. If not, curbside is always available. 

What to Order

Nashville’s hot fried chik’n is made with fried seitan and served on the traditional slice of white bread with a pickle.

The Southern V | 1200 Buchanan St., Nashville, TN 37208 | $

The Southern V serves the best vegan hot chicken in Nashville.
via The Southern V

When it comes to the most famous dish in Nashville, hot chicken rules the roost. If you’re visiting Nashville for the first time, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Get crackin’ and try out some of these suggestions before you fly the coop. 

One warning — beware the burn. The best hot chicken in Nashville will leave your mouth madder than a wet hen. Are you up to the challenge? C’mon, you can do it! Don’t be chicken.

For even more fun ways to explore Nashville and beyond, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.

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