Review by: Michael Stern

Pepperfire makes what might be the most beautiful hot chicken in the city: cinnabar-red, glistening moist and oozing juice at the slightest poke. While I’ve never done a side-by-side comparison of all the great hot chickens in Nashville, there is no doubt in my mind that this is in competition for the #1 spot. It is a brilliant balance of heat, salt, fat, and meat. Like Prince’s, it has a way of nearly killing taste buds but at the same time tripping the switch that will cause intense craving for a lifetime.

In addition to the traditional breast quarters and leg quarters bedded on white bread with pickle chips, you can buy whole or half hot chickens as well as jumbo hot wings and boneless tenders – all available in degrees of heat from Mild to XX Hot. (Word to the wise if you are in a hurry: order tenders, which take less time to cook than traditional chicken parts.) If you are allergic to chicken, the menu offers a sandwich made with Pepper Jack cheese. The sandwich is fried, then sopped with hot oil. It is available also as a Tender Royale, topped with hot chicken tenders. Side dishes are inconsequential, except as palate-salve: crinkle-cut fries, potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, green beans.

What To Eat

Breast Quarter

Peppercheese Sandwich


Pepperfire Recipes


What do you think of Pepperfire?

One Response to “Pepperfire”

Joe Cox

February 18th, 2013

Pepperfire is a different take on Nashville hot chicken. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack is the gold standard and, while Pepperfire would probably lose a head-to-head matchup, it does bring certainly qualities to the table which make it very worthwhile.

First, the chicken. When it first opened, Pepperfire’s heat was not on the same level as the more seasoned Nashville hot chicken joints. However, they have upped the Scoville numbers in recent months. For my money, it’s very good chicken. Not revolutionary like Prince’s, but very good quality.

The big upside here is a) a varied menu, and b) dependability. Pepperfire is constantly experimenting with new and different hot chicken offerings. The latest at the moment include hot chicken and waffles and the Applefire, which is hot chicken, waffles, and baked apples. They have also experimented with a hot chicken salad, which is to say a green salad topped with hot chicken, which I’ve not been fortunate enough to catch.

But the biggest improvement is the dependability. You can order by phone or online and, generally, your order is ready in a prompt and consistent fashion. I’ve waited an hour-and-a-half at Prince’s on a Saturday, and have never had such an experience with Pepperfire.

Ultimately, Pepperfire is a more user-friendly version of hot chicken. There are interesting menu options, dependable service, and very good chicken. It’s not Prince’s but, sometimes, that can be a good thing.


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