November 08, 2021 3 min read

The History of Nashville Hot -- Breakfast Revenge turned Nashville Staple

History of Nashville

How a wife's revenge redefined Nashville's culinary presence

Have you ever wondered where this hot flavor started? Was it a culinary mistake? Did “Nashville Hot” really start in Nashville?

Most every Nashville local or tourist knows the feeling of biting into a juicy piece of Nashville Hot chicken at one of the many famous restaurants. The chicken is commonly served atop slices of white bread, dill pickle chips, and served with a selection of traditional southern sides. It is best served with a glass of sweet tea or lemonade to pair with the spice.

Some would argue that the south’s new “it” dish overrides Nashville’s food stereotype such as BBQ or potato salad.  Then what is the true story to how Nashville hot chicken came to be in Tennessee?

The History of Nashville Hot

Thorton Prince is the man, the myth, and the legend behind Nashville hot chicken. Prince is related to Ms. Andre who now owns Princes Hot Chicken located in Nashville, TN.

Prince was known for loving the night life and was quite the ladies’ man around town. One morning, after a long night on the town, his girlfriend planned to get spicey revenge. It could have been the slightest hint of perfume on Prince or a lipstick stain, but she was not happy with his behavior. She knew he loved friend chicken and wanted to seek revenge through his stomach. 

Instead of an early bird argument, she volunteered to cook him breakfast. She created the hottest possible concoction she could put together for Prince. Without noticing the heat added to his sizzling plait of chicken, Prince jumped right into his fried chicken. Rather than scream in pain, Prince requested seconds of this hot chicken dish. It was in that moment that her efforts quickly backfired, and she created the first batch of hot chicken. A legend was created.

Prince began experimenting with hot chicken to create the perfect recipe. Thorton Prince opened a BBQ Chicken Shack. He served both BBQ and his hot chicken. The hot chicken became a sensation, and he quickly changed his restraunt into “Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack”. This restaurant was known for its spicy and delicious chicken but also its late-night hours that welcomed large groups of night lifers.

90 years later, Thorton Prince’s great niece, Ms. Andre Prince Jefferies, is still serving up Prince’s legendary and famous hot chicken. All though many restaurants have adapted the recipe or created Hot Chicken restaurants, Princes Hot Chicken remains the original and the gold standard of Nashville Hot Chicken. It still focuses on Thorton Prince’s traditions and his love for night life by staying open late into the night.

Miss Andre shares with Insider.comabout the rapid spread of this mouthwatering dish. She says that, “It just grew by word of mouth. And of course, back then, people of color didn't have too many businesses. I'm sure the word spread throughout the community. And it just became a staple in the neighborhood.”


Nashville Hot Today

Most Nashville visitors flock to Hattie B’s, Prince’s, or Helen’s Hot chicken to get their hands on this famous meal. Each location is unique in their own ways and offers various renditions of this classic southern dish. Many of the restaurants have created various levels of spice to accommodate each customer’s spice level. Spice levels range from plain to medium to even XXX hot. Most of the Nashville hot chicken restaurants offer different sauces such as ranch or honey mustard to compliment the heat of the crispy chicken. This chicken does not sit alone, to accompany your hot chicken many restaurants offer sides such as baked beans, coleslaw, French fries, and green beans.

Marie Suing from Insider.comtouched on Prince’s legacy and says that, “Nashville has many hot chicken restaurants now, or restaurants that have hot chicken on the menu. And I do believe that's paying homage to Prince's. Any chef that makes hot chicken knows where it's coming from.” Prince’s has become an inspiration to Nashville chefs and foodies.

Eater Nashvilleeven created an ultimate guide to all the locations for Nashville hot chicken through central Tennessee. Some restaurants have created this dish into a play on chicken and waffles or have incorporated it into spicy Mac and Cheese or sandwiches. The iconic flavor has grown nationally and can be seen on menus throughout the nation.

This legendary flavor is emulated in Daily Crunch’s newest flavor, Nashville Hot. These flavored almonds bring together the crunch from the fried chicken paired with the warm and spicey flavors the leave people wanting more. This new sprouted almond snack will deliver the crunch and spice you need while providing you with healthy fats and a healthy gluten free snack!

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