Y’all, I try to keep this blog positive. I really do. And I do love hot chicken. (Not the dumbed-down versions sold by Hattie B’s or Pepperfire.) But I need to tell you about my experience at the Nashville Hot Chicken Festival a few years ago. And, after reviewing their website, it doesn’t look like this year’s event is any different.

  • There’s a parade. That can be kinda fun. It’s in the morning (starts at 10:30) before it gets too awfully hot outside.
  • After the parade, the first 500 people get a free sample of hot chicken, after standing in line. Well, whoopity-do! While you’re standing in line for your free sample, other people are lining up at the hot chicken vendor stands.
  • There is no way that you will have time to taste more than one kind of hot chicken at this event. When I went, I chose the Bolton’s Hot Chicken line. I stood in line for OVER AN HOUR to place my order (only to be told that they weren’t serving hot-level spice – the hottest I could get was medium). Then, after placing my order and paying, I waited and ADDITIONAL 45 MINUTES for my food order to be prepared.
  • Food in hand (and about to pass out from standing in line in the sun), I headed to the Yazoo beer tent, and managed to get a beer in just under 20 minutes. Then, I was able to stand in the crowded beer tent, delicately balancing a hot chicken meal in one hand and a cool beer in the other.

In other words, if you go to the Hot Chicken Festival, be prepared to be too wiped out from the heat and standing in line to do anything else all day (including visiting the amazing shows at the Riverfront as part of the Independence Day celebration). This does not Sound Like Fun.

If you want to sample hot chicken, just go visit the restaurants! My favorite is 400 Degrees Hot Chicken in the food plaza at 3rd & Peabody. (I get the 200 degrees tenders.) I also really like Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish (Medium is plenty spicy). If you want to get out of town, go to Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish in Franklin (Stop, Drop & Roll is the way to go.) If you just enjoy good fried chicken without a lot of spice, go to Hattie B’s or Pepperfire. I have to admit that I haven’t tried the original, iconic Hot Chicken at Prince’s – because that place has strange hours and is in a neighborhood that scares me a little.

Written by Margaret

Sounds Like Fun - Nashville is a labor of love - my love for Music City, Middle Tennessee, and experiencing the best that our area has to offer. In recent years, I've developed an informal following among my friends and professional colleagues. People ask me what I've got planned for an upcoming weekend – or seek advice about good activities for showing visiting friends or relatives around the Nashville/Middle Tennessee area. Even though there are other sites with event calendars, I think followers of my blog can expect some extra insight into goings-on that would suit ‘most anyone seeking to experience the diversity of fun and interesting things to do around town. I'm always on the look-out for good places to walk my dog. Maggie is a 10-year-old mixed breed shelter dog who still becomes comically ecstatic when she sees me pick up a leash. She's my inspiration to start a page featuring great dog walks around Nashville.

3 comments

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more about the festival. Great idea but poorly executed. Skip the lines and go try hot chicken at one of the restaurants. I will say that if you want to give Pepperfire another try, I’d be glad to join you. They can get it plenty hot, if not too hot, with their two top levels. Can’t wait for them to open in their new location as the original is a little warm in the summer (no AC!).

    Like

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