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A customer at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack keeps his Mountain Dew at the ready, hoping it will tame his chicken’s savage spice. Prince’s set the standard by serving its hot chicken in a pseudo-sandwich formation with two slices of white bread and pickle chips on the side. Landon Nordeman
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The most famous of Nashville’s chicken joints is no doubt Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Here, each dish is made to order, meaning this customer might find himself waiting about 20 minutes before he sits down to eat. Still, according to customers, this famous incendiary dish is worth the wait. Landon Nordeman
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Owned and operated by Aqui Simpson, a Nashville native and Tennessee State University graduate who grew up obsessed with hot chicken, 400 Degrees offers varying degrees of hotness (100 degrees for mild; 400 degrees for set-your-mouth-on-fire hot). The chicken is spiced with cayenne, paprika, and, like all hot chicken dishes, a blend of “secret ingredients.” Sandwiches are served with crinkle fries dusted with cayenne and paprika. Landon Nordeman
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As soon as it’s removed from the fry basket, the hot chicken at 400 Degrees is slathered with a hot sauce, which solidifies into a craggy crust packed with spicy, savory flavor. Landon Nordeman
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Opened by a former Prince’s employee, Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish adds extra spiciness by marinating its chicken in spicy brine before frying. That way the hotness of the chicken cuts straight to the bone. Landon Nordeman
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Night falls on Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish on Nashville’s east side. Landon Nordeman

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