PWI–Parenting While Intoxicated

…on good food, questionable judgment, and making life work

Bolton’s – The Best Authentic Hot Chicken and Fish in Town

This is the right place

This is the right place

I’ve been thinking about Bolton’s a bunch recently.

You see, I’ve been hitting Hattie B’s every now and then and I’ve almost felt like I have been cheating on Bolton’s, my original hot chicken love.

A proper Hattie B's platter

A proper Hattie B’s platter

Hattie B’s has its place in the world.  As my friend Ben puts it (who can only get away with it, because he is clearly of Indian descent), “This place was perfectly designed for white people”.  And it is.  Let’s face it, it is clean, natty, displays the trappings of quaintness, has bathrooms, draft beer, and is safe.  And the topping on the mayonnaise sandwich; it is right next to a GiGi’s Cupcakes, which is about as white bread as you can get (and is completely gross, everyone knows Cupcake Collection is the best damn stuff in town).

But I’ve always had a special place for Bolton’s.  I started going there with a few pals I met at my synagogue after we did a kind of tour around town to find the best hot fish.  Being that I don’t really keep kosher, that kind of spurred me on to try all of the hot chicken and fish places in town.  I’ve tried every place in town, some good, some bad, some great.  The default place that started it all was Prince’s Hot Chicken shack.  That’s where all of the tourists and celebrities go.  And to be fair, it really isn’t bad, it is just kind of salty.  And it has horrible lines and bad customer service.

I drank 20 year old whiskey out of a styrofoam cup here!

I drank 20 year old whiskey out of a styrofoam cup here!

And here’s why I like Bolton’s the best:

  • They have both chicken and fish:  Most places in town only do chicken.  Hot fish is just so damn good, I prefer catfish or whiting.  And I always get it as a sandwich with “everything but cheese”, which is sliced white onions, yellow mustard, dill pickles and hot sauce.  That sammich completes me.
  • As far as I know in the realm of Nashville Hot Chicken, these guys invented “chicken on a stick”: a couple of tenders fried on a bamboo skewer and the perfect amount for a snack. And great when you don’t want to get hot chicken mess all over your hands
  • I love the sides. Hell, they aren’t the best examples I’ve ever had, but I know every time I will be getting good greens with great seasoning, some spicy mac and cheese, or some freakishly hot formerly-frozen crinkle cut fries (which will always be cold by the time you get home, btw)
  • They really don’t care if you bring in your own beer or booze (and we share!)
  • The people there are just friendly.  They always are nice, they treat you well, and they are cool if something is messed up with the order.
Perfection in fish sammich

Perfection in fish sammich

Let’s face it, the original location will always be my favorite because it was the one I found first.  It doesn’t have a bathroom, it doesn’t have a place to wash your hands, parking is always a bitch because you’re going to have to either back into crazy-ass traffic or go offroading to get out of the back and you can only tip in cash.  It is small, there aren’t a lot of places to sit, the climate can get dicey in the extremes and they may be out of paper towels inside.  But it is always worth it.  Bring your own silverware – I do.

And full disclosure, I feel a special connection to this place because I shot an episode with Eden Grinshpan of Eden Eats fame for her new show “Log On and Eat”

The perfect combo - Fish Sandwich and Chicken on a stick

The perfect combo – Fish Sandwich and Chicken on a stick

Here’s the original review that put me on the map

I was born with a terrible affliction.

I wander the earth and to this day I have not had anything that is too spicy for me.  Well, with the amendment of that one time I made ghost chile-infused vodka, but that was another terrible story.  On a side note, I also used it to kill a spider, but I can’t find it in my heart to dispose of it. The vodka, not the spider.

And yet I digress.  I have eaten at all of the major hot fish and chicken places all over Nashville, a group of guys from my synagogue and I travel all over trying to find the best stuff.  No place ever satisfies me like Bolton’s.  Their chicken, their fish (love the grouper sandwich), their sides – always hits the spot.

And the one thing that differentiates Bolton’s from some of Nashville’s other hot fish places is that they are just friendly.  Nina, Dolly, whomever is there, are always friendly and trying to make yours a great experience.  It also doesn’t hurt that their health inspection rating is in the 90′s (and Prince’s just got killed with a 29…).  I recommend the chicken or the fish, the greens, the spicy mac and make sure you get it with everything on it (hot sauce, white onions, dill pickles, and yellow mustard).

Once last note, there is no bathroom, so make sure that you go before you get there, and if you do go afterwards WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY BEFORE YOU DO.  Also, they can only take tips in cash, so brings some for them.

And back to where I started, I still haven’t had it hot enough, even though I think the spice melted through the box once, but I am gonna keep going back until they get it.  But for the rest of you mortals, you’ll be just fine.

Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish on Urbanspoon

About Sparky

Sparky is a salaryman for an unspecified Fortune 200 company. But more importantly, he has a smoking jacket and entertains fellow bon vivants in his secret lair, The Manitarium. He believes in booze, charcuterie, bbq, bourbon, villainy, craft cocktails, ascots, the Oxford comma, and freedom. He is married to a beautiful attorney who is a life-long vegetarian and was raised as an experiment by her meddling nutrition scientist parents. He can be found trying to save his kids from a life of vegetables...

4 comments on “Bolton’s – The Best Authentic Hot Chicken and Fish in Town

  1. Heavy D
    January 6, 2014

    I spy some Lucky Bucket IPA.

  2. senelslant
    January 6, 2014

    Good lord that meal is a sin. Lust, envy, gluttony while eating and sloth to follow. Damn I want me a hot fish sammich!

  3. Ryan Oberleitner
    January 6, 2014

    Chicken on a stick or GTFO.

  4. Pingback: Hattie B’s – When Hot Chicken Goes Classy | PWI--Parenting While Intoxicated

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This entry was posted on January 6, 2014 by in What Are We Eating?, Where Are We Eating? and tagged , , , , .
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