Nashville Hot Chicken is showing up everywhere lately, from fast-food marquees to trendy restaurant menus. But to find the real thing, you might start in a nondescript strip mall on the northeast side of Nashville, Tenn.
Here at Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, people line up long before the doors open to get their fix.
"Need my hot chicken," says construction worker Jose Rodriquez as he approaches the kitchen window to place his order. "I'm going to get two hot of the breast quarters."
Old-fashioned wooden booths line the walls of the small dining room. When a clerk calls out your order number, you pick up your paper plate of chicken, served on a red cafeteria tray. Drinks come from a vending machine on the back wall.
"Prince's is the ground zero for hot chicken," says Timothy Davis, author of The Hot Chicken Cookbook – the Fiery History and Red Hot Recipes of Nashville's Beloved Bird.