Prince's Hot Chicken Shack

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Prince's Hot Chicken Shack
IndustryFast casual restaurant
Founded1945; 77 years ago (1945) in Nashville, Tennessee, United States
FounderJames Thornton Prince
Number of locations
Area served
Middle Tennessee
ProductsHot chicken
Fried chicken
Side dishes
OwnerAndré Prince Jeffries

Prince's Hot Chicken Shack is a restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee, known for its hot chicken, and is credited with popularizing the dish and inspiring restaurants with similar offerings. The business was started in 1945 by James Thornton Prince, and in 1980 ownership was passed to his great-niece André Prince Jeffries.[1][2]


While impossible to verify, the development of hot chicken is reportedly accidental. Prince was purportedly a womanizer, and after a particularly late night his girlfriend at the time cooked him a fried chicken breakfast with hot pepper as revenge. Prince, however, liked the taste so much that he and his brothers created their own recipe and opened the Bar-B-Que Chicken Shack.[3][4][5]

The café was originally located at 28th Ave. and Jefferson St.,[2] but moved downtown into Hell’s Half Acre and close to the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry. In its heyday, the Opry stars were headed there after every performance. With the atmosphere of segregation and being a favorite of the Opry's stars, a separate room was built for white guests. Whites walked through the main dining room and the kitchen to reach the separate room at the back of the building.[6] It moved to its East Nashville location on Ewing Dr. in 1988.[7]

When Thornton Prince died, his brother Will took over. His wife Maude ran the business when he passed. In 1980, Maude decided that Thornton's great-niece André Prince Jeffries should take over Prince’s. Jeffries renamed the restaurant by taking out the BBQ in the name.[6]

Honors and awards[edit]

The Travel Channel show Food Paradise has named Prince's as Nashville's best place to get hot chicken (2013-02-06 episode).[8] They were also on the network's Bizarre Foods America (2014-04-07 episode) and Man v. Food Nation (2011-06-08 episode).[9] Gourmet magazine named it as one of Nashville's four "don't-miss dining experiences".[10] In 2013, they were named an American Classic by the James Beard Foundation Awards.[3] The Daily Meal ranked it seventh in its 2017 list of America's 75 Best Fried Chicken Spots.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ramsey, David (2005). "Some Like It Extra Hot". In Hughes, Holly (ed.). Best Food Writing 2005. Da Capo Press. p. 217. ISBN 9781569243459.
  2. ^ a b Edge, John T. (2007). Southern Belly: The Ultimate Food Lover's Companion to the South. Algonquin Books. p. 265. ISBN 9781565125476.
  3. ^ a b Reitano, Karlie; Kasperzak, Hannah (February 28, 2013). "James Beard Foundation Names 2013 America's Classics Award Honorees" (PDF) (Press release). James Beard Foundation. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  4. ^ Cornish, Audie (June 1, 2008). "The Quest for Spicy Chicken". Retrieved October 16, 2009.
  5. ^ "André Prince Jeffries - Prince's Hot Chicken". Archived from the original on May 5, 2010. Retrieved October 16, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Martin, Rachel L. (2018). How Hot Chicken Really Happened.
  7. ^ Hoekstra, David (September 10, 2006). "Prince's Hot Chicken". Chicago Sun-Times. Scratch Crib. Archived from the original on April 18, 2015. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  8. ^ "Prince's Hot Chicken Shack". Food Paradise. Travel Channel. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  9. ^ "Prince's Hot Chicken Shack". Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  10. ^ "Prince's Hot Chicken Shack". Nashville Scene. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  11. ^ "The 75 Best Fried Chicken Places in America". The Daily Meal. September 19, 2017. #7 Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, Nashville.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°13′48″N 86°45′39″W / 36.2299°N 86.7608°W / 36.2299; -86.7608 (Prince's Hot Chicken Shack)