The 11 Best Places in LA to Try the Nashville Hot Chicken Trend

Nashville hot chicken

bhofack2 / Getty Images 

Nashville hot chicken is a decades-old culinary tradition born in Music City that has been setting Los Angeles on fire for the last few years. Started in the '30s at Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, the dish spread through the South, eventually making its way to L.A. in 2015 through Johnny Ray and Amanda Zone's food truck turned Chinatown brick and mortar, Howlin' Ray's. (One of the descendants of the Prince family, Kim Prince, recently opened Hotville Chicken in Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza).

With the proliferation of this mouth-numbing poultry, it can be hard to decide where to try the trend. This guide to the 11 best spots serving up spicy goodness should help you avoid choosing a copycat who gives zero clucks about quality.

01 of 11

Howlin’ Ray’s

Hot chicken sandwich from Howlin’ Ray’s with cole slaw and pickles

Courtesy of Howlin’ Ray’s 

Address
727 N Broadway #128, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
Phone
+1 213-935-8399

Chef Johnny Ray Zone’s background is in fine dining, working for recognizable names like Thomas Keller and Gordon Ramsay. It was during a stint at Sean Brock’s Husk in Nashville that the LA native was introduced to Nashville hot chicken. When he and his wife decided to bring the dish to LA, they didn’t just wing it. They spent time in the birthplace studying the culinary culture at places like Prince’s and Hattie B’s. Their post-food truck digs are in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, a tiny space with a mural reminiscent of a heavy metal album jacket. After you power through an unbearably long line (it regularly takes more than an hour to get to the door), sit at the bar close to the action or enjoy peanut oil-fried, antibiotic-free meat in six spice varieties, waffle combos, and collared greens at tables in the outer atrium. If you brave the Howlin’ level, consider wearing gloves and having some milk handy. 

02 of 11

Dave's Hot Chicken

dinner at Dave's

 Carrie Bell

Address
970 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029, USA
Phone
+1 323-213-8090

If you're feeling hot, hot, hot, you can now grab fiery bites of bird at three street art-filled locations: Koreatown, East Hollywood, and North Hollywood. Even with several locations, there have been lines at Dave's since the owners started stirring their special sauce and warming up the vats of oil in 2017. There are seven spice levels, but most diners can handle the medium by alternating bites of chicken, bread, and seasoned fries. However, only those with iron stomachs and powerful palettes should attempt to eat the Reaper.

03 of 11

Hot Motha Clucker

Gloved hand holding a hot chicken sandwich with cheese and pickles from Hot Motha Clucker

 Courtesy of Hot Motha Clucker

Address
4625 Woodman Ave, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, USA
Phone
+1 818-900-8010

The winner of the punniest name in LA’s Nashville hot chicken game sets up under the detailing dock of a Sherman Oaks car wash five nights a week. Music bumps from a parked car, plastic picnic tables beckon, and young dudes in shorts and aprons shake out five levels of flavor. Bonus points for offering strips, sliders, zesty fried pickles, and their friend’s line of chili gummies.

04 of 11

The Red Chickz

Red Chickz menu

Carrie Bell 

Address
557 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA
Phone
+1 213-607-2962

This small downtown dine is big on personality with loud murals and graphics on every wall, a sassy slogan, and creatively named spice levels that move from cool to spark to an inferno. Even the customers are colorful. The sides menu is relatively limited with only potato wedges, coleslaw, and baked beans, but they make up for it with hot shrimp, hot Taco Tuesdays, and chicken with waffles on weekends. 

Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11

Boneyard Bistro

two slices of sliced bread with two pieces of hot chicken on each one form boneyard bistro

Courtesy of Boneyard Bistro 

Address
13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423-3825, USA
Phone
+1 818-906-7427

While you can get a Nashville hot chicken-style sandwich with coleslaw and pickles all week long, the 14-year-old Sherman Oaks barbeque standby goes cayenne crazy on Monday nights. The chicken dinner consists of a thigh, wing, breast, and drumstick and comes with a side like potato salad or fried mac-and-cheese triangles. The best part about indulging here is that you can sop up the heat with complimentary mini cornbread muffins. And did we mention they’ve also got chips and queso? Which has nothing to do with Nashville hot chicken, of course, but who passes up an opportunity to lap up melted cheese?

06 of 11

Electric Owl

Address
1451 N Gardner St, West Hollywood, CA 90046, USA
Phone
+1 323-545-6565

This Sunset Boulevard bar is styled like an old-timey train dining car. Still, its menu features many of today’s trendiest tastes like blistered shishito peppers, kale salad, Impossible burger, and two types of Nashville hot chicken that will lead you to believe they can fry. One is a sammie; the other is a brilliant take on avocado toast where a burning breast is substituted for the bread and topped with ranch aioli and a sunny egg.

07 of 11

Blazin’ Hot Chicken

trays of hot chicken strips on slices of bread with a creamy sauce

 Courtesy of Blazin’ Hot Chicken

Address
2660 Honolulu Ave, Montrose, CA 91020, USA
Phone
+1 818-330-3353

Pick up the perfect cheat day indulgence in six spice levels at this newcomer in Montrose. While the corrugated metal wainscoting is a charming country-chic touch, the interior doesn’t score high in the design department. Their offerings and the red and white checked wrap they come in aren’t all that original either, but the counter service is welcoming, and the food quality is finger-licking good. Don’t skip the comeback sauce or the kale slaw.

08 of 11

Firebirds

three different types of fried chicken and one type of grilled chicken on a tray topped with pickles and jalapeños

 Courtesy of Firebirds

Address
9771 Variel Ave, Chatsworth, CA 91311, USA
Phone
+1 818-800-5898

Opened last summer, this is another parking-lot proprietor worth braking for. They stage under easy-up canopies at a Northridge smog and auto body shop Friday through Monday and do brisk business with college students from down the street. They serve all the standard styles in four spice levels plus tacos or loaded Nashville hot chicken fries. They also offer sweet teriyaki and honey BBQ chicken for those who don’t want to burn their taste buds. 

Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11

Angry Chickz

Angry Chickz exterior

Carrie Bell 

Address
5065 Hollywood Blvd Young Adult Reading Room, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA
Phone
+1 323-928-2825

Thai town’s no-frills fry guys are back in business under a new name after their old moniker Angry Birdz (and the sign’s familiar font) motivated the video game company to pursue a lawsuit. Thankfully their mascot survived the change, and the product didn’t suffer. The chicken is as juicy and crispy as ever, and they are still putting their unique spin on the genre by serving it with buttered rice, a nod to the owner’s Middle Eastern heritage. It’s a great place to come after partaking in a Hollywood pub crawl as it’s open until midnight, daily.

10 of 11

Crawfords

Address
2616 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057-1006, USA
Phone
+1 213-568-3133

Variety is not the spice of life at this dive bar as it serves one entree, fried chicken, two ways, hot or regular. Pair it with a cold beer (they’ve got fancy stuff, but draft Bud in a frosty glass for $3 does the trick), boiled peanuts, baked beans, or potato salad. In 2018, they expanded with Crawfords Pass, which made the delicious duo available in Burbank.

11 of 11

Yours Truly

Nashville hot shrimp

Courtesy of Yours Truly 

Address
1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, USA
Phone
+1 310-396-9333

A few chefs have even applied the hot chicken concept to alternate proteins and offer the hot hybrids on their regular menus. At Yours Truly in Venice, diners can turn up the heat at brunch with a Nashville hot shrimp sandwich (two breaded jumbo shrimp with coleslaw, dill aioli, and pickled mustard seeds). They also serve a dinner version that comes with Japanese milk bread, cabbage, and pickle juice vinaigrette.

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Fire it Up: 11 Places in LA to Try Nashville Hot Chicken