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New fast casual specializes in Nashville hot chicken

In a bet the rest of the nation will embrace Nashville’s peculiar style of serving fried chicken, two restaurant-industry veterans are starting a fast-casual chain called Nashville Hot, short for Nashville hot chicken.

An order of hot chicken usually consists of a breast, thigh or wing that’s been flour-dipped and deep fried, then spiced with a cayenne-based sauce and served atop a slice of white bread. Pickle chips are placed atop the chicken.

The dish is a specialty of Nashville, but is starting to show up elsewhere. KFC, for instance, serves hot chicken in Kentucky, and the signature chicken sandwich at David Chang’s Fuku in New York City incorporates elements, such as the fiery seasoning.

hattie b's hot chicken

One of the best-known purveyors of the chicken in Nashville is Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. A former chef of the restaurant, James Hutchison, has teamed up with former Tom+Chee president David Krikorian to launch Nashville Hot. Hutchison is serving as general manager and head chef.

A prototype is scheduled to open next month in Crescent Springs, Ky., in the shadow of Cincinnati. The chain plans to develop two more stores in the greater Cincinnati area before expanding into such Midwestern cities as Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, Krikorian said in a statement.

In addition to hot chicken, Nashville Hot will feature salads, fish and craft beers. Patrons can choose the spice level of their chicken.

Tom+Chee is a fast-casual concept that specializes in tomato soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches. Its capital came in part from the financiers who participate on the “Shark Tank” TV program.

The chain recently closed its three units in central Ohio.
 

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