Food News

This West Valley Restaurant Serves Hot Chicken With a Twist

Some of the options at Twist are the Hot Chicken sandwich, Hot Nashville Mac, Hot Tenders, and seasoned fries.
Some of the options at Twist are the Hot Chicken sandwich, Hot Nashville Mac, Hot Tenders, and seasoned fries. Tiffany Acosta
Chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, chicken nuggets, and chicken wraps: chicken dishes have been taking over restaurant menus with new spots dedicated to the bird popping up across the Valley in rapid succession.

In suburban Peoria, one chicken joint stands out among the crowd. As you enter Twist Hot Chicken, a restaurant that specializes in chicken of the freakishly spicy variety, you will be greeted with the aroma of fried chicken and a minimalist retro interior, complete with a neon rooster sign and a soda machine that offers flavors like agave vanilla cream soda and black cherry tarragon.

The restaurant is co-owned by friends and business partners Kyle Preston, Saad El Quarati, and Lance Linderman. The partnership started when Preston visited San Diego in the summer of 2020 and met El Quarati, who previously ran a restaurant also called Twist in the North Park neighborhood.

Preston later called El Quarati to pitch the idea of moving to Peoria and opening a new restaurant in Arizona. Linderman then hopped onto the project to add his creative touches and create a one-of-a-kind Nashville hot chicken destination.

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Twist Hot Chicken's logo is “Nashville Born, Peoria Perfected.”
Tiffany Acosta
You might think, “sounds just like another hot chicken place,” but El Quarati is serving their chicken with a twist. The chef incorporates flavors from all over the world.

El Quarati grew up in Morocco before living in and working as a chef in New York. He uses those experiences to bring new inspiration to the Nashville classic dish, hence the restaurant's motto, “Nashville Born, Peoria Perfected.”

“Most hot chicken restaurants have a sandwich and tenders, and maybe wings. We have exciting flavors from Morocco on our Hot Moroccan. We have Caribbean Jerk as well,” Preston says. “We blend our own seasonings, we bread chicken daily, we make our own dipping sauces.”

With menu options such as the Hot Nashville Mac and Cheese and the best-selling classic Twist Hot Chicken sandwich, customers can choose their desired spice level from mild, medium, hot, and "can’t touch this." Don’t underestimate the spice, because this chicken is fiery. In the hot chicken sandwich, soft, pillowy brioche bread delicately holds the punchy, spicy, and crunchy chicken.

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Twist Hot Chicken is located in Peoria, where it serves all kinds of hot chicken and plant-based options.
Tiffany Acosta
Another way Twist stands out in the crowd is by offering fully plant-based alternatives. Early in his restaurant career, Preston noticed that vegans often had very few items to choose from when dining out.

“The option was typically more expensive and lower quality. At Twist, we wanted to not only make sure vegans had an option, but that they had options that a non-vegan would have and that the quality and flavors of the product would be just as good,” Preston says.

The team hopes to expand into a second location, and eventually venture into Goodyear and Surprise.

"We truly believe as far as hot chicken, we are one of the best-kept secrets in the Valley," Preston says. The key is the twist.

Twist Hot Chicken

8386 West Thunderbird Road, #103, Peoria
623- 217-2714
Twisthotchicken.com
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Tiffany Acosta is a freelance writer who writes about food, restaurants, travel, and people. She has worked for the Feminist Majority, Trill magazine, and Appen. She received her Associate's degree from Phoenix College and her Bachelor's degree from Hofstra University majoring in journalism with a minor in food studies. Tiffany is passionate about food, fashion, film, travel, and entertainment.
Contact: Tiffany Acosta

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