The Food Biz: Hot chicken in Midtown

The Bishop family's molten poultry stars at Hattie B's

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, a new Midtown restaurant specializing in the fiery, molten poultry specialty, opened Thursday at 19th Avenue and Broadway.

It’s the project of Nick Bishop Jr. and his dad, Nick Sr., who operate the Cool Springs meat-and-three Bishop’s.

The Bishops are longtime fans of Nashville’s classic hot chicken places, so they decided to experiment with recipes. “We started running hot chicken at Bishop’s on a whim, and now it’s 20 to 30 percent of our business down there,” Nick Jr. said.

They figured their chicken would go over gangbusters in Midtown, especially if they also served beer, something most hot chicken places don’t offer. “I’ve spent a lot of time talking to beer folk about good choices to pair with poultry and spicy foods,” he said.

Most of the beers are craft brews, and many are local, including a few from the Bishops’ friends at Jackalope Brewing Co. In fact, later in the fall, Jackalope will introduce a beer created specially to complement the Bishops’ hot chicken.

If you’re not into scorching your palate, Hattie B’s also serves traditional (as in non-spicy) Southern fried chicken, served either on the bone or as jumbo chicken tenders. You can also get the tenders grilled instead of fried.

But for heat seekers, the chicken comes in three spice levels: medium, hot and “damn hot.” Nick Jr. said he’s especially proud of the sides — they’re all made fresh in house (except for the fries). Options include cole slaw, Southern greens, red-skin potato salad and a piquant salad of black-eyed peas.

The Bishops are working off the five years they’ve spent refining recipes in Cool Springs. They also come from a generational restaurant family. The elder Bishop is the son of Gene Bishop, who was the CEO of the Morrison’s Cafeteria chain. Nick Sr. worked for that company for many years, including its foray into hospital food service, which is what brought the family to Nashville 20 years ago. He retired from that a while back and started Bishop’s with his son.

And speaking of family, that leads us to the story behind the name Hattie B’s. (Originally it was just Hattie’s, but the Bishops added the initial “B” to avoid any confusion with another fried chicken place in the Northeast.)

“Hattie is an old family name,” Nick Jr. explained. “Hattie was my great-grandmother’s name, and my grandmother’s middle name. And now it’s my daughter.” Little Hattie just turned 1. “She’s the queen,” he added, laughing.

Hattie B’s is located at 112 19th Ave. S. The phone number is 678-4794. Hattie B’s serves beer and soft drinks like sweet tea, but no wine or cocktails. Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

 

Speaking of chicken, you may have heard that Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, a popular outfit in the Memphis area, is coming to Nashville.

The Gus’s folks are being a little cryptic about plans, but the Metro Beer Board reveals an application for Gus’s World Famous Hot and Spicy Fried Chicken at 471 Old Hickory Blvd., which is the former Jack in the Box space on Old Hickory near Edmondson Pike in the Nipper’s Corner neighborhood. We’ll keep you posted.

In my coverage of all the new places going in the redeveloped stretch of Richard Jones Road in Green Hills, I haven’t yet mentioned the recently opened offshoot of The Perch coffeehouse in Brentwood.

The second Perch has a similar menu to the first, with a slate of gourmet crepes and coffee. Eventually it hopes to secure a license to serve wine and will then add a selection of tapas (and stay open a little later on Fridays).

The Perch is located at 2002 Richard Jones Road. The phone number is 712-8787. Hours: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

 
We’ve learned that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is coming to Nashville to film his Kitchen Nightmares reality series, and he’s looking for restaurants to get his makeover treatment.

Kitchen Nightmares is the show where Ramsay takes an underperforming restaurant and gives advice (usually very good advice, occasionally delivered in a brusque or bombastic way) to help the owners get back on their game.

Criteria for applicants: The restaurant must have been open at least one year, it must offer dinner service, and it must have at least 35 seats. Also, it can’t be a franchise.

If you’d like to suggest a Nashville restaurant, email KitchenNightmares @TheConlinCompany.com. If you’re a restaurateur and want to apply, go to TheConlinCompany.com and fill out the application.

 
Dana Kopp Franklin covers restaurant news for
Nashville Post, Nashville Scene and The City Paper.

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