Nashville hot chicken


King Daddy remembers the day he and some of his colleagues visited Prince’s Hot Chicken. One of them ordered the extra hot. It was a testosterone thing. He took a big bite. He started sweating. His face turned red and tears welled up in his eyes. I’m not sure if he took a second bite. But if he did, he was stupid.

Hot chicken is a Nashville thing and Prince’s started it. I have had the medium Prince’s hot chicken and I can report to you that it is fiery. Too fiery for me and I like spice. Others followed the tradition — Hattie B’s, Boltons and Party Fowl. And lots of other restaurants offer a single hot chicken entree. And here’s a tip for you. If you like Hattie B’s but hate the inevitable wait to get a table, try Bishop’s in Cool Springs. The same people who own Hattie B’s own Bishops where you can get hot chicken anytime.

Even KFC has a special hot chicken. Don’t go there. Just don’t. It’s not right.

So last Saturday I stumbled upon what may be the best hot chicken sandwich I’ve ever had in the most unlikely place — a doughnut shop. All King Daddy wanted was a doughnut, the special 100-layer doughnut at Five Daughters Bakery in The Factory in Franklin.  Their doughnuts are amazing but they’ve now added breakfast and lunch items to their menu. And right there, on the blackboard, was this: Hot Chicken Croissant Sandwich with Spicy Cheese Sauce and House Made Chow-Chow.

They had us at hot chicken on a croissant (of course we also ordered a doughnut….fatty, fatty, fat, fat).

This is it. This is money. This is super buttery flaky croissant with crispy hot chicken, the cheese sauce and the chow-chow, which Mark called revelatory.  It was hot and required a trip to the restroom to blow our noses afterwards but it was pleasantly hot. Oh, and did I mention the sandwich also had the now obligatory fried egg?

Yum. That’s all I can say. YUM! When we moved to Nashville in the ’90s there was barely a good restaurant in sight. Standards were low. Very low. Today there are more great restaurants, food trucks and beloved dives than I can name. Or sample. I will try to hit them all. But I’m going back for the Five Daughters Hot Chicken on a Croissant. Maybe tomorrow.

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