Some like it hot

Try these chicken sandwiches for a nice kick
Photo by Hannah Rushton

Nashville Hot Chicken sandwiches have become one of the flavors of the past decade, despite being a staple in the Tennessee city for decades.

Unfortunately, few places truly do the sandwich — and now flavor — justice. But, once it hit the real mainstream with the chicken sandwich fervor of a few years ago spurred by Popeye’s Hot Chicken Sandwich, all bets were off.

While I have yet to taste one in GR that matches up to the Nashville OGs or the amazing, sweat-inducing sandwich I had at my favorite Las Vegas haunt, 595 Craft and Kitchen, there still are some tasty spicy chicken sandwiches around town, Nashville-style or not. Give them a try and then venture on down to Nashville to see how you think they compare.

Hancock had some of the best flavor of the chicken and spice mixture of the chicken sandwiches in Grand Rapids. That said, the heat levels won’t blow you away. Nashville Hot can be, well, HOT!

JuJu Bird
JuJu Bird at the Downtown Market might be the best representation of spice level I had while tasting the chicken sandwiches. It was a nice thick piece of chicken, which is helpful as well, and the spice was nice.

Broad Leaf Brewery + Spirits
Like JuJu Bird, Broad Leaf nails the chicken thickness and packs in
a lot of the flavor. It’s a spin on a hot chicken sandwich and it doesn’t have the little red chili next to it on the menu, but Broad Leaf’s sandwich had a nice kick to it.
Still, it didn’t make me drenched in sweat like its Drunken Noodles do.

7 Monks
Also not in the Nashville style, 7 Monks still has a delicious sandwich on its menu. Made with hot honey, the sandwich is sweet and spicy in the best ways, with a fluffy Nantucket bun that makes it go down easy.

Jolly Pumpkin
Jolly Pumpkin likes its pizzas, but don’t ignore “The Perfect Fried Chicken Sandwich,” which is pretty tasty as well. Again, it’s a little off the Nashville path— flavored with sriracha and spicy pickles — but the sesame cilantro slaw plays well with it.

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