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Prince's Hot Chicken Shack

123 Ewing Dr., Nashville, TN - (615) 226-9442
Posted By Joe Cox on 7/18/2009 10:44:00 PM
Prince's hot chicken is so good that it completely changed the way I thought about fried chicken. Essentially, BP (that's Before Prince's), I almost wouldn't buy it in a restaurant. I'd had my taste buds mangled by too much bad fast-food chicken, and I believed that good fried chicken was made at home. And it is, but not all of it.

Prince's isn't a shack, it's a small shop in a dilapidated strip mall in a seedy section of north Nashville. It's not for everybody. I've been approached by panhandlers and drug dealers during the daytime hours there. But oh, the chicken.

Start with the fact that, hot aside, this is really, really good pan-fried chicken. It's meaty and tasty and filling. Even if it was just Prince's Chicken Shack, I'd go there. But the hot. Wow. I don't know anything to compare it to. This isn't a Buffalo wings hot or a hot sauce hot. It's a peppers-from-hell hot. Apparently, it's a paste that is put on after the chicken fries. Not to fear -- it's so spicy and flavorful that it completely infiltrates every inch of chicken. Eating Prince's is a perfect mixture of dining pleasure and pain. Your mouth is on fire and you wonder how you can take another bite, but at the same time, you HAVE to have that next bite.

Buy a side item and work it in to cool things down. I like the fries personally, but I hear the beans are good too. Use the pickle slices to your advantage as well. Drink something non-carbonated liberally.

And save the bread for last. Prince's hot chicken, as mentioned before, comes on a bed of toast. While you're burning yourself out on the chicken, the toast sops up grease and sauce, and marinates into Fire Toast. It's the best and craziest part of the meal. It will always make me sweat and occasionally will bring a tear or three. And I eat the chicken mild.

Which is my last point. You can get the chicken plain, mild, medium, hot, or extra-hot. Stay away from the latter two unless you know what you're doing. Mild packs plenty of punch, and medium would be considered hot in any sane place in the world.

It's slow, the restaurant is tiny and dingy, and as I mentioned above, the atmosphere is rather seedy. But wow, is it worth it.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Fried Chicken
Rate this place
A breast quarter photo shows just how important the blah bread below is. How else will you catch and gather all the succulent juices that the chicken sheds?
"A breast quarter photo shows just how important the blah bread below is. How else will you catch and gather all the succulent juices that the chicken sheds?"
Michael Stern





Leg Quarter, extra hot. This is fried chicken to dream about, and good reason to consider relocating to Nashville. (Bruce Bilmes photo)
"Leg Quarter, extra hot. This is fried chicken to dream about, and good reason to consider relocating to Nashville. (Bruce Bilmes photo)"
Michael Stern


Maximum umami: a piece of hot, fat, chewy, meltingly luscious skin stripped away from a Prince's breast.
"Maximum umami: a piece of hot, fat, chewy, meltingly luscious skin stripped away from a Prince's breast."
Michael Stern


The strip mall location does nothing to advertise what is one of America's great chicken eating experiences.
"The strip mall location does nothing to advertise what is one of America's great chicken eating experiences."
Michael Stern


Prince's menu in its entirety
"Prince's menu in its entirety"
Michael Stern


Prince's has no table service. Step up to the counter and place your order. Beverages are fetched from the Coke machine.
"Prince's has no table service. Step up to the counter and place your order. Beverages are fetched from the Coke machine."
Michael Stern


Irony in Prince's dining room: eating ferocious chicken from this benign tablecloth.
"Irony in Prince's dining room: eating ferocious chicken from this benign tablecloth."
Michael Stern


Contrary to what some may think, the white bread does have a purpose. After eating the chicken, try some of the bread and notice how the juices seep all the way through.
"Contrary to what some may think, the white bread does have a purpose. After eating the chicken, try some of the bread and notice how the juices seep all the way through."
Ben Weiner


A rare sight: Prince's without a crowd. I took this picture 30 seconds after the front door opened for lunch. By the time I left, there was no place left to sit.
"A rare sight: Prince's without a crowd. I took this picture 30 seconds after the front door opened for lunch. By the time I left, there was no place left to sit."
Michael Stern


Forget princehood. Here is the King of Chicken!
"Forget princehood. Here is the King of Chicken!"
Michael Stern



""
Ben Weiner



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