Bolton’s manager Dolly Graham once promised, “Our chicken is hot, but it won’t cause you to lose your composure.” That depends. If you don’t like high-spiced food, Bolton’s chicken might indeed be reason for a melt-down, especially if you ask for it hot. What’s great about it, for those who do like their fried chicken ferocious, is that the heat is deep in the meat, right down to the bone itself. It is much more spicy than it is salty, making each bite a taste-buds adventure.
This is some beautiful chicken with a thin crust that flakes off in delicate strips. You can get breast, leg, or wings; and side dishes include vigorous turnip greens, sweet cole slaw, strangely soupy mac ‘n’ cheese, and that Nashville soul-food favorite, spaghetti. In addition to chicken, Bolton’s sells a whiting sandwich that is available garnished in the locally favored way, with mustard, onion, pickles, and enough hot sauce to make your tongue glow.
A tiny East Nashville shop with a carry-out window to its side and a dining room with a handful of tables (oilcloth-covered), Bolton’s is an essential stop for anyone in search of a true taste of the Music City.