Friday, October 30, 2009

Prince’s Hot Chicken (Nashville)

Prince’s Hot Chicken
123 Ewing Dr
Nashville, TN
(615) 226-9442



As we headed toward Chattanooga a couple of Saturdays ago, Warren suggested I consult our Road Food book for a good place to eat around Nashville. Seeing how I’d been getting up at 5:30am to work out at Memphis Adventure Boot Camp for five weeks, I decided I needed a treat and honed right in on the hot (fried) chicken places. The Sterns recommended both Bolton’s and Prince’s. I consulted a Facebook friend who lives in Nashville and decided on Prince’s after she assured me that it would “blow my mind.” I read a few online reviews that were similarly enthusiastic. One guy even said that he had divided his life into two categories--before Prince’s chicken and after.

How could we not go?

As I investigated further, I found out that all of the chicken is made to order and that we should expect at least 45 minutes to an hour to get our food. Reviewers also warned that Prince’s was not in the best of neighborhoods. Some even said our stomachs would burst into flames.

We could not be deterred.

At approximately 5pm, we rolled into the Prince’s parking lot. It was in a strip mall in an area I would liken to Poplar & Hollywood in Memphis. Since my favorite chicken place in Memphis is located at Poplar & Hollywood, I felt that this was a good sign. When we walked in, we were pleased to see that there was not a line. Several people appeared to be waiting and a nice lady selling cake at a back table told us where to order. Warren took the boys to wash up and I set off to procure dinner.

In the very back was a counter that had been boarded up. A small window was cut out and a man stood back there awaiting orders. The man had a gun and was quite imposing. Believe it or not, his name was Sweetie, and he was the security guard. I learned that someone called in sick so he was filling in at the register. There was a woman running around the back, trying to help him, and everyone else, while simultaneously counting a huge stack of cash. (Prince’s is cash only.) A few younger women appeared to be doing the cooking and three little girls were sitting on overturned milk crates playing with someone’s iPhone.

I perused the menu quickly, as I could feel people breathing down my neck as a line began to form. I ordered 1/2 chicken mild for Warren and I to split. (Sweetie put it down as medium, and I wasn’t sure if this made a difference, but I didn’t say anything.) I ordered a 1/4 leg plain for Satchel and Jiro to split. Then I added two orders of fries and one order of slaw for good measure. There was a drink machine next to the window, so I skipped drinks.

I got my number, made a quick bathroom run, and headed to where Warren and the boys were sitting. They managed to secure a booth by the front window. It had a green and pink striped plastic table cloth that wreaked of bleach. Satchel and Jiro were both a bit grumpy from the drive. Warren and Jiro set off to get gas and drinks down the road and Satchel and I held our seats.

Once Jiro was gone, Satchel cheered up immensely. (Jiro has been pushing his buttons a lot lately.) He looked over at a bulletin board with a picture of pit bull puppies. “I want a dog,” he said. I explained we already had two and that was enough. “How about a parrot?” he tried. “Why on earth do you want a parrot?” I asked. “Because they’re fun,” he said. “What’s so fun about a parrot?” I wondered. “They talk and fly around!” he answered. I then launched into my speech on letting wild animals live in the wild, not in cages.

To change the subject, I pointed out a flock of birds resting on a nearby electrical wire. I have some expertise in this area, and told him about the dangers lurking in the wires. This launched us into a discussion of whether the voltage was enough to kill a bird, elephant, giraffe, flower, tiger, the sun, ice cubes, and a tree.

Warren and Jiro returned with a full tank of gas and a couple of drinks. To kill more time, I pulled up pictures from our last trip to Chattanooga to get them excited. A few minutes later our number got called. (It was almost exactly 45 minutes.) By now the place was filling up so I had to fight my way to the front. Everything was handed to me in brown paper bags. I went back to the table and divvied everything up. The chicken was resting on top of several pieces of white bread and had a side of sliced pickles. The 1/4 leg didn’t look like enough for two, but the 1/2 chicken seemed to be plenty for three. (Go figure.) The fries had seasoning on them, but it didn’t stop the kids from eating them so that was good.

After one bite, Warren started choking. His nose was running and his eyes started watering and I thought he might die. “Is it that hot?” I asked, a little scared. In between gasping for breath he explained that he had inhaled a piece and maybe it went down the wrong way. I wasn’t sure. I took a bite of my piece, which came from the same bird, and didn’t think it was really hot at all. In fact, Jiro requested some and minus the skin he was able to eat it with no problem. He ate a few chunks then went back to the fries. Meanwhile, Satchel declared his plain leg to be delicious and set out to eat every bite.

Warren was begging for water, but I hadn’t gotten any and the line was too long to try now. He settled for a $1.25 Diet Coke out of the machine. I was enjoying my chicken, but it was greasy as all get out and I was fixated on the fat grams. The thick skin was crispy and delicious though. Mmmmmmmmm. The meat fell off of the bone and was cooked perfectly. The Sterns said the meat itself was spicy, but I think Jiro proved that wrong. Part of me wished I had ordered the hot.

Here's a hot chicken fun fact: Apparently the fiery recipe was once used to punish men who cheated on their wives. (There must have been a lot of cheaters in Nashville since they have a Hot Chicken Festival every July.)

As Warren and Satchel plugged away and I tried to control myself, Jiro announced that he needed to poop. Awesome. Warren immediately implored him to hold it. “Hold it til when?” I asked. “Until Chattanooga?” Having already visited the bathroom myself, I figured it would be ok. It really didn’t seem that bad. We headed to the back and unfortunately someone was in the women’s room. After (im)patiently waiting a few minutes, we headed to the men’s. (It was a one top.) Obviously someone had “cleaned” the bathrooms since my original visit because there was an intense ammonia smell. Good lord, I thought I might pass out. It was bad. BAD! Thankfully, Jiro was quick and we both survived.

Back at the table Warren was still eating. “Please stop,” I begged. “You’ll go into a hot chicken coma while driving! We still have 3 hours to go before Chattanooga!” He humored me and agreed to pack up the rest for later. (It turned out to be quite tasty at 11pm that night.) Once I packed up all of our leftovers and bussed the table, I swear to you there was a THICK layer of grease on the tablecloth. Yum!

Warren complained Sunday morning that the chicken had come back to haunt him, but you don't want to hear about that. I definitely think you should get some hot chicken the next time you are in Nashville, just don't go crazy!

Prince's Hot Chicken Shack on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

Sassy Molassy said...

I really, really want some spicy fried chicken and dill pickles now.

w00tpro said...

Sounds amazing. I've never heard of the place and lived in Nashville for 4 years. We've got to try it the next time we go back!

Unknown said...

Will have to hit Prince's next visit to Nashville. thanks for sharing.

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