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Restaurant Reviews (by Kim Gentes)

Over the years I have eaten at a lot of different resaurants.  Many are local to the Phoenix area, since I have lived there for 21 years.  Some are in various cities that I have visited or travelled to with work.

Entries in chicken (2)

Hattie B's Hot Chicken (Nashville, TN)

I love Nashville hot chicken. I've tried 400 Degrees, Prince's and now Hattie B's. There are others too but those are the ones you will hear about if you are in Nashville. Prince's is still the premium choice. But this newest entry, Hattie B's, is a nice, strong second.

First, the food is nicely cooked, and tastes good.

The main item to get at a hot chicken place is the white chicken breast. That is the gold standard portion everyone must try and have in mind when making an evaluation.

Let me explain something to those who don't understand what "hot chicken" is. It is not just chicken that is cooked hot temperature, or even just chicken that is very spicy. Hot chicken, when said in Nashville, is specifically referring to something that alludes to a unique kind of cayenne spiced chicken that is served and made in a specific way. (...more about Nashville Hot Chicken)

In any case, this type of hot chicken is available at a few local eateries in Nashville. Hattie B's is one that is talked about a lot, so I wanted to visit it and see how it stood up.

The chicken was indeed cooked nicely and the spicy flavor was excellent.

I very much liked the crew and the experience at Hattie B's. Honestly, I went to Hattie B's because I was visiting Nashville for just the weekend and didn't have a chance to go to Prince's. I had heard this was a good alternative. That is correct, Hattie B's is the best hot chicken place I have tried, aside from Prince's.

That said, the food would be 100% better if it was just served piping hot. Spices and flavor all matter, but if the food is served piping hot, it makes everything seem better. As a customer, I find that this is the secret of Prince's excellence, even when they can be inconsistent in spicy-ness. They always serve it piping hot. If Hattie B's figured that out, they would have a spot that could rival Prince's. Their spicy recipe is good enough to compete, but will only be a possible rival if the food is served at as hot a temperature as possible. The other main component to a great hot chicken meal is the fries. Again, Hattie B's falls a touch short of Prince's in this regard. The spicy zip of Prince's fries win the day.

In addition to the food, the cost at Hattie B's is slightly more expensive than I was used to at Prince's. Only $9-12 per plate depending on what you get. When you include drink and tax, you should get out for about $14 per person.

One of the advantages that Hattie B's (and just about every other restaurant) has over Prince's is that it's staff and it's facilities are much more inviting. Hattie B's has a good amount of room, clean tables and attentive staff, as well as clean restrooms (which is the terror bane of all who visit Prince's)!

Another joy of Hattie B's is the reasonable time for the food to be prepared and served. It was great to get the meal in a few minutes rather than the 30 minutes to 1.5 hours that I have had to wait at Prince's.

The trip to Hattie B's is worth it, even for long time goers of Prince's. It isn't as good as the legendary Prince's but, as I mentioned, a few tweaks would make it in that category. Definitely worth trying out.



Review Kim Gentes.


Prince's Hot Chicken Shack (Nashville, TN)

If you end up in the Nashville area for any length of time, there is one place you must try. Prince's Hot Chicken Shack. Local, out of the way and unique flavor - yep, Prince's has it all. But, like many out-of-the-way places, it comes with a warning label.

First, the food is unique and spectacular.

The only real choice you want to make when you get there is this- mild or medium.  If you are a Prince's veteran, then no need to tell you about the other choices. But if you are new, forget the menu and just get the 1/4 chicken breast with fries.  Then decide your level of heat. If you are just new and not sure always go with mild. If you like lots of hot food and love real spicy stuff, get medium. Don't ever try the hot until after you have already successfully enjoyed the medium.  Here is my recommend for all first timers:

  • 1/4 chicken breast - mild
  • fries
  • drink

You could try the potato salad or beans, but neither are stellar, and the quality is very small. Stick with the chicken and fries and you will love it.  I have tried another of the hot chicken places in Nashville, and while the food was good, the core chicken dish just can't compare to legendary Prince's.  You can get better beans and potato salad at other places, but you won't find better chicken, anywhere, anytime.

In addition to the stellar food, the cost is very reasonable. Only $5-8 per plate depending on what you get. When you include drink and tax, you should get out for about $9 per person.

Sounds great right? Yes, it is!  In the past, I had written about the rather lackluster cleanliness and upkeep of the Prince's locatoin. However, after several visits, Prince's has been consistently improving the tables, and cleanliness of the place. The bathrooms are still somewhat messy, but the food eating areas have improved drastically. Thank you Prince's for addressing those areas!

One of the difficult problems with a local legend can be the wait to get food. In the last several months this has improved a lot. The wait can sometimes be between an hour or TWO for just a single person serving of chicken.  Again, this is not possible for most restaurants to sustain, but for a local legend, people understand that long lines are sometimes part of the package. Lately, I have been going at off-peak times (no lunch or dinner stops) and the wait has been less than 30 minutes.

So here is the tact you have to take- go to Prince's knowing it's a typical dive. Go there for the food. The place is just a basic room with some tables. Nothing fancy. No real atmosphere. If you are lucky, you will get a table. Go there for the amazing food. Enjoy it.

Hands down, it is the best chicken I have ever had in my life. In fact, I haven't been there in quite a while and just writing about it makes me realize it is time for another trip to Prince's.

Go there.


Review Kim Gentes.