400 Degrees

Review by: Michael Stern

If you want to eat Nashville hot chicken at its best, 400 Degrees should be on the short list of essential destinations. The name refers to its hottest chicken, which is taken from the fry basket and painted with a dark pepper impasto. 200 degrees is brighter red, less hot, but still sinus-clearing – somewhere between Prince’s hot and medium.

Proprietor Aqui Simpson, who reminded me that regular customers call ahead so their chicken is ready when they arrive (hot chicken demands a 20 minute wait), said that she has a local police chief who comes in five times a week for 400 degree breasts and legs. “He came in the other day with a cut on his lip and ordered 200. But I was so used to giving him 400, that is what I did. He ate it, and he liked it, but I felt so sorry for his lip.”

What To Eat

Breast Quarter


Iced Tea


400 Degrees Recipes


What do you think of 400 Degrees?

One Response to “400 Degrees”


September 12th, 2013

I love spicy hot food. This restaurant is likely the king of all that is hot and spicy. A friend recommended 400 Degrees as a “must try”, this being my first visit to Nashville. The fact that it was also listed on roadfood.com cinched it.

When I placed my order for a 400 degree quarter chicken breast the woman behind the counter asked if I had eaten here before. I explained that although I had not, hot food was not new to me. I told her I was here by way of recommendation, and it’s listing on roadfood. Another woman, who turned out to be the owner, offered me a small cup of french fries coated with the 400 degree sauce. I sampled them, and although quite spicy, I figured they were within my tolerance of actually enjoying what I was eating. The order went in.

Twenty minutes later I received my meal, which honestly is not the most appealing looking chicken I’ve ever eaten. It’s a VERY deep dark red which leaves it a bit devoid of detail. I started in cautiously, knowing I would be testing my boundaries of hot. I was not disappointed. It’s VERY hot. It took me a good 5-10 minutes to allow my tongue to acclimate to the heat, so I could actually taste the flavor, which when it came through, was quite amazing.

I was in tears throughout the meal. Fortunately I had a side order of cole slaw, and a Mountain Dew, to help cool things down when necessary. The owner came to my table, sat down and asked how it was going. By this point I was enjoying the sensations, but it was still slow going.

In retrospect, I believe I should have started with either the 100 degree or 200 degree offerings, despite my pension for hot. The 400 degree is definitely an acquired taste, and should likely be worked up to, if you happen to live locally. My innards were not particularly pleased with my decision to go for it.

Definitely try this place if you are in the area, but start low on the heat…


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