Hattie B’s Knows Hot Chicken!

Nashville is a gastronomic treasure trove of fantastic restaurants ranging from fast food to homemade bistro fare, chain restaurants, high-end establishments, and everything in between.


Among them are Jamaicaway Restaurant, Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant, Biscuit Love, Seafood Sensation, Sportsman’s Grille, The Row Kitchen and Pub, and numerous delicious places inside the Nashville Farmers Market.


But if you like, or have never tried Hot Chicken, the backstory and menu at Hattie B’s will wonderfully ruffle your feathers.



Hattie B’s Knows Hot Chicken!

The Bishop family knows cooking. They’ve had lots of experience dating back to the 1940s when Gene Bishop started working for the Morrison’s Cafeteria chain in Mobile, AL. Over 50 years, he held almost every position, retiring as its CEO in the 1990s. During that time, there were several successful spin-off companies as well.


Gene’s sons—Gene, Jr., Tim and Nick—also worked there. Gene, Jr. owns Bishop’s Southern Tradition in Mobile, AL; brother Tim, Bishop’s Homestyle Cooking in Dothan, AL. Other Bishop family restaurant forays include Ruby Tuesdays, purchased when the chain numbered only 15 restaurants, growing to over 800 before they sold it.


Nick spent 21 years with Morrison’s, eventually opening a new family place--Bishop’s Meat ‘N Three in Franklin, TN (12 miles south of Nashville)—serving affordable Southern comfort food. It was here that they started perfecting their hot chicken recipes, a distinctive deep-fried specialty with varying levels of heat.


But Nick is quick to point out that his family did not originate the “genre,” instead putting their own unique spin on this 1930s staple in Nashville’s black neighborhoods created by a man named Thornton Prince of today’s Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack.


The Bishop family history is still being written.


Who’s Your Hattie?

Enter Hattie B’s. The original opened in downtown Nashville in 2012, right on the cusp of Nashville’s rebirth to the rest of the world as a city with a rich history and culture that goes far beyond country music.



The restaurant is named in honor of Hattie Melba Bishop, Nick’s mother, and Hattie Bright, the young daughter of Nick Jr., who also works in the family business. One of Nick’s (Sr.) sons-in-law, John Lasater, is the Hattie B’s executive chef.


As their popularity grew, they decided the close the Broadway location and open another one in Midtown, just a few blocks from Vanderbilt University. And you know a place must be good when there is a line outside the door, winding its way to the street, well before they open their doors at 11 a.m.!


One of the biggest draws to Hattie B’s is that the food is outstanding and affordable; the ambiance relaxed, welcoming, and makes you feel like family.



All of their chicken is fresh and paired with their own spice blends with heat levels ranging from Southern (no heat), to Mild or Medium (a touch of burn), Hot! (feel the heat), Damn Hot (fire starter) and Shut the Cluck Up!!! (burn notice).



The latter is only about 10% of their orders, a few brave souls taking the plunge primarily for bachelor parties, if you’ve lost a bet, to test your ego, and so forth. Make no bones about it…you will need the fire department!



Chicken plate options include a half-bird, breast, wings, thigh, and tender combinations with two sides, bread and pickles. The sides are also a distinctive iteration of the old Morrison’s Cafeteria recipes, including pimento mac ‘n cheese (outrageous!), black eyed pea salad (delicious and designed to cut the chicken heat), southern greens, baked beans, red skin potato salad, and coleslaw, all made in-house.


The desserts—peach cobbler (in season), banana pudding, root beer or Coke floats, and ice cream—round out the focus to stay true to their southern tradition. They also offer a wide range of beers, a large number coming from local craft breweries, which ties into their mission to support the community and further create a culture of family.



Hattie B’s has been hot! (another pun here won’t hurt you), and they opened a popular second location in 2014 in the Charlotte Pike neighborhood in West Nashville. Here, they converted a former Krystal Burger building into a thriving local hangout including an outdoor patio, and indoor/outdoor breezeway (the old drive-thru) with picnic tables and a bean bag toss area.


If you ask Nick Sr. what he thinks of knock-off, mass market hot chicken (like what you’ll find at Colonel Sanders), he’ll tell you that places like that only make them better operators. “It’s really a brand of hot chicken that’s about Nashville’s roots,” Nick says, “and it’s more important to us to have a good piece of chicken first, and all the rest comes later.”


Don’t live in the Nashville area but want to get you some Hattie B’s? You’re in luck because they’ve expanded with locations in Birmingham, Las Vegas, Memphis and Atlanta.


So, if you don’t know hot chicken, or think you know hot chicken, you need to treat your palate at Hattie B’s. No matter what you order, you’re sure to say, “Shut the Cluck Up!”


Check out these other great Nashville features!

v Welcome to Nashville

v Much to Love about Nashville

v Gaylord Opryland® Resort & Convention Center

v A Taste of Nashville

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