Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Medium 1/4 Dark Bird, Southern 1/4 White Bird, Southern Greens, Pimento Mac & Cheese, Creamy Cole Slaw
While Block 16 Urban Food Hall currently contains five individual concepts that will eventually grow to six it would be impossible to argue any was more anticipated than Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, the Nashville concept from a father and son team that has been burning up locals and tourists near Vanderbilt since 2012.
Originally visited in May 2015 and at that time already sprouting a second location despite fierce competition from nearby Gus’ and Prince’s, the more convenient location and classier environs of Hattie B’s no doubt part of an appeal that often spawns 2+ hour lines, it is partially hidden behind District: Donuts. Sliders. Brew. that guests will notice cursive red neon signage, though in reality as of day two the line forming by 10:30 in anticipation of an 11am opening should be all anyone need see to find the place.
More focused than the original and slightly inconvenienced by a lengthy queue that runs parallel to that of District, the combination making Hattie’s counter seating quite uncomfortable and thus overflowing guests to other parts of Block 16, it is after slowly progressing to the register that orders are placed with an average check for one well below $20 including two sides, Bread and Pickles.
Offering five spice levels, several Sauces plus Banana Pudding and Boozy Slushies in addition to the fried Bird and Sides it was with two 1/4 servings plus three Sides at a cost of just $21.70 that two diners dug in, the southern-style Breast and Wing possessing good crunch and complex aromatics that penetrate deep while Medium Leg and Thigh were expectedly more juicy and tangy rather than ‘spicy.’
Recalling that even “Hot” was not particularly traumatizing in Nashville, a situation most certainly not the case at Los Angeles’ Howlin’ Rays where many visitors in line will likely draw their comparisons, it was with Bones picked clean that attention turned to Mac n’ Cheese given a kick by Pimento as well as creamy Cole Slaw and Collards, the latter offering a rich porky sapor not commonly found outside the South and definitely worth checking out for both fans and those unfamiliar.
FOUR STARS: Even when originally tasted not quite as intense as Prince’s, and now likely to become a direct comparison for Angelinos who’ve braved Johnny Ray Zone’s line, Hattie B’s nonetheless offers top quality Chicken served in a manner rarely tasted in the 702, though with many Restaurants including Slater’s 50/50 and SkinnyFATS recently adding versions to their menu the competition certainly seems to be warming up.
RECOMMENDED: Southern Greens, Pimento Mac & Cheese, and Southern Spicing for timid taste buds or something Hot+ if you want to feel it.
AVOID: Medium Spice feels like a tease and Coleslaw is pretty standard.
TIP: Open 11am till 10pm Sunday through Thursday and until 4am on Friday/Saturday.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.