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When seeking out recommendations for places to eat & drink in Nashville, the #1 place on everyone’s lips wasn’t meat & three, barbecue joint or fine dining spot, it was a fried chicken joint in a ramshackle strip mall that just happened to have a Road Closed sign next to the property, Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack.

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Japanese style iced coffee with orange at CREMA

I’ve certainly heard of Prince’s, of course – everyone who has attempted a version of the Nashville classic typically mentions that it’s an homage to Prince’s in one way or another. Ahead of my visit, I had a pit stop at CREMA, a beautiful coffee shop on the edge of downtown. I skipped my usual latte, in favorite of a delicious Japanese styled iced coffee with demarara sugar and orange. It hit the spot in what ended up a close to sweltering week in Middle Tennessee.

 

Back to Prince’s, after navigating around the road closed sign and clogged parking lot I made my way into the restaurant, populated with a mix of folks, African-Americans, Whites, tourists & locals picking up their chicken to go. The restaurant was packed, and I felt a similar to the anxiety one gets at Taqueria del Sol when there aren’t any seats available, but just as what happens at TDS – the system works and I was able to find seating by the time my food arrived.

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I knew that I had a big day of eating ahead of me, thanks to the task at hand with writing for Travel Mindset, and I skipped the sides, and ordered a half chicken. The choices in heat level are mild, medium, hot, and extra hot. I actually missed the actual list, but ordered a batch of medium.  If I had noticed the sign ahead of time, I might have ordered the hot, but I’m glad that I didn’t. Although there’s plenty of Coke signage on their menu, I found it interesting that you actually paid for the Coke at the automated Coke dispenser next to the cashier.

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I received my paper bag and unwrapped the beautiful package of fried chicken, accompanied by white bread. Although I’ve had versions at area restaurants, typically with only one heat level available, this one was different. The skin was perfectly crunchy, the chicken juicy and flavorful and the pickles provided a nice balance. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of heat in the medium, and it allowed all of the spices to shine through.

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Prince’s Hot Chicken. Medium. Still plenty hot

Another traveler, with the tell tale looks of a blogger with large DSLR around his neck, shortly after I started eating, and he chose the hot version. I think he would’ve been plenty happy with the medium I chose to order. He was actually on his way to Atlanta after the meal was over and I pointed him to a few of my favorite spots.

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If my schedule wasn’t as crazy as it was (I ate two more meals after this, including the recently lauded by Bon AppetitRolf & Daughters) – I would’ve grabbed some chicken to go on my way out of town, it truly was that good.