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Best Hot Chicken in Nashville

So -- who's got the best? Prince's, Bolton's, 400 Degrees, someone else?

Also, are any of the joints open on Saturdays for lunch?

Prince Hot Chicken Shack
123 Ewing Dr Ste 3, Nashville, TN 37207

Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish
624 Main St Ste B, Nashville, TN 37206

400 Degrees
2012 Clarksville Pike, Nashville, TN 37208

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  1. princes is the only one I've tried--and liked it, Ordered 1/2 medium and it was enough to make me sweat--- the bread and pickles help too... it went well with the silo of beer from the liqour store next door. Planning on trying one of the others the end of the month when returning to that area

    1. Bolton's just opened a new location in the old O'Charley's building on Thompson & Murfreesboro Rd. It's a much better option, especially if you're planning on actually eating your food at the restaurant.

      Prince's will always be the original, but it is a bit outside of the city and wait times can get to be a bit long. I believe they open around 2pm on Saturdays?

      It's all a matter of opinion. Some people say that Prince's never delivers the heat, some same Bolton's does and vice versa. I do enjoy the chicken on a stick and the sides better at Bolton's.

      You really can't go wrong with either spot. Your wait times at Bolton's will be drastically less than Prince's.

      4 Replies
      1. re: pete k

        Is that near the airport? That'd be ideal, as I'll be flying in to Nashville and driving to Huntsville. (Only search came up Murfreesboro Pike.) I couldn't find any address online for the new location.

        1. re: lambretta76

          The new Bolton's location is about 10-12 minute drive from the airport, if that.

          1108 Murfreesboro Pike is the actual address. Since it's so new, you won't find much info about them online.

          1. re: pete k

            So I checked out the new Bolton's location. It's ... awkward. It's as if you're eating in a restaurant that closed -- you order from the waitress station at the back (not clear when you walk in, as there's still a hostess station and an empty bar). Plus, there was someone dressed in a chicken outfit with a hand-written sign on the side of the road trying to lure people in.

            Despite the "growing pains", I went there for the food. Which was amazing. Got the breast quarter "sandwich" and a side or turnip greens. The greens were meh, bland and uninteresting.

            On the other hand, the hot chicken (actually, I got mine medium), was ... outstanding. My only experience with hot chicken has been at Peaches Hot House in Brooklyn, but it was on par with what I've had there. (Peaches, I should note, charges about 3x as much as Bolton's.) It was well spiced, perfectly fried, and the chicken was extremely moist. It was an exemplary fried chicken, made all the better by the heat. Worth any of the awkwardness of the new space.

            It should be noted that the staff is super friendly; they're much better at customer service than interior design.

            1. re: lambretta76

              The place used to be an old chain restaurant that went by O'Charley's, hence why you got the empty feeling. Bolton's just opened that location about 2 weeks, probably another reason why it felt awkward in there.

              Glad you enjoyed the meal.

      2. And 400 Degrees definitely has its fans. They also have one the July 4 hot chicken cook-off at least once I believe.

        Note that they are NOT on Clarksville Pike anymore, as listed here on CH.

        1. I like Pepperfire too - good flavor on top of the heat.

          1. Any body know of a similar type hot chicken shack in Austin, TX or any where else in TX.

            1. I've had them all, and I still think the chicken at Prince's is the best. My overall ranking would be as follows:

              1. Prince's
              2. 400 Degrees
              3. Bolton's
              4. Pepperfire

              At Bolton's, I prefer the hot fish.

              1. I don't care for Prince's. Their pepper goo is overwhelming. It makes it so you can't taste the (admittedly beautifully) skillet-fried chicken. Yes, I call it pepper goo.

                Bolton's has beautifully fried chicken, delivers as much or as little heat as you want (the mild at Prince's is too much for me, and I am a lover of hotly spicy foods). Pepperfire also has wonderful flavors. I don't like the chicken itself as well at 400 degrees. Probably because it's deep-fried as opposed to skillet-fried.

                1 Reply
                1. re: StrandedYankee

                  i hope i don't come across as a jerk, but you can't tell the difference in "skillet fried"and deep fried because the restaurants you mentioned all deep fry... a google search will reveal that all of them use deep fryers. man v food showed prince's deep fryer banks (which they have had for a while although they clearly love to keep the urban legend going) and 400 degrees has always used fryers. sorry.

                2. Are any of these places near the tourist district, or is there a reasonable place for hot chicken in that area? I am coming to Nashville this week, but I am staying at the Hilton and I won't have a car, so my dining options are limited. I'd love to try hot chicken if possible. My only plan is downstairs at Merchants, so any other recs would be fine too.



                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LloydG

                    Hot Stuff looks like is a new addition to the hot chicken scene, and a good 20-25 minute drive depending on traffic from downtown. Your best bet for hot chicken downtown will be 400 degrees or a short cab ride over to east Nashville for Bolton's.

                    1. If we were to show up at Prince's around 6 pm would that be a bad idea. We went by once and it hadn't opened yet. It looks like the neighbourhood is a bid dodgy.


                      1. If you are stuck in the tourist areas, go to Printer's Alley. The English pub, Fleet Street has an AMAZING hot hen! (Hint: the lemon is just not for garnish, USE IT!)
                        If you are stuck by the airport, check out the airport Doubletree Hilton's Monday night special, Nashville Hot Chicken & Bacon Waffles w/ Maple Bourbon Butter Syrup W/ a side of Watermelon & Cucumber Salad!
                        Chicken and Waffles, Nashville style!