Phoenix's tepid hot chicken game is about to get a whole lot hotter. George Frasher, chef and owner of Frasher’s Smokehouse, is preparing to open a restaurant devoted to Nashville hot chicken.
The restaurant will be called Mrs. Chicken. Frasher is shooting for a summer opening.
“I was already planning on doing a gourmet fried chicken spot,” Frasher says, “but once I tried Nashville hot chicken, I was set on that."
And he's not talking about the KFC version.
Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville, which opened in 1945, is perhaps the restaurant most linked with the dish. That's where Frasher had his definitive bites.
If you haven't been to Nashville, hot chicken is marinated, often with buttermilk, and lathered in a paste-like blend of flavorings that’s loaded with cayenne-pepper-infused lard.
The paste recipe varies with the preparer. One cook may add extra hot sauce. Another may go hard on the sugar. Some may apply paste prior to frying; others may spread it on after.
At Mrs. Chicken, diners will choose between mild fried chicken and hot chicken with degrees of heat.
There will also be rotating daily specials. “We’ll offer something different each day, a blue-plate type of special with entrees like meatloaf and chicken-fried steak,” Frasher says.
Generally, at Prince’s and elsewhere, hot chicken is served with pickles and atop slices of white bread. Frasher is planning on presenting his hot chicken the same way. “We’ll make homemade pickles and serve those and the chicken on sliced white bread."
Frasher's recipe is still a work in progress. “We’ve done some experimenting with our recipe,” he says, “but are looking forward to really get into the development of that very soon.”
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Frasher thinks his North 32nd Street and Indian School Road doors will open in August. “I’m finishing adding a patio and a private dining room at Frasher’s Smokehouse and in few weeks when that’s done, I’ll get started with Mrs. Chicken."
Phoenix, get ready for some heat.
Mrs. Chicken. 4011 North 32nd Street.
Hours to come.
Frasher's Smokehouse. 3222 East Indian School Road.
Every day 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (closed on Christmas).