Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right California icon-chevron-right Los Angeles icon-chevron-right Here’s where to find the best Nashville hot chicken in L.A.

Here’s where to find the best Nashville hot chicken in L.A.

These restaurants and stalls serve spicy, cayenne-packed Nashville-style fried chicken that's packing heat. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Howlin' Ray's
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman Howlin' Ray's
Advertising

Is it hot in here or is it just the chicken? The Nashville-style fried bird is a modern Southern staple, and here in L.A., it’s become just as beloved—and it happened faster than you can reach for a glass of water. Known for its bright red color and searing heat, Nashville hot chicken is packed with cayenne pepper and secret blends of spices that will make you sweat with every bite you take. Depending on whose chicken you’re chowing on, the spices usually get tossed into the batter before frying, or shaken over the top post-oil dip. (And if the chef is really crazy, it’s both.) Nashville hot chicken is popping up in backyards and parking lots and the restaurants of some of your favorite celebrity chefs—here’s your guide to the best of it. Just don’t try them all in one day.

Spice things up with some Nashville hot chicken

1
Fried chicken sandiwch at Howlin' Ray's
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Soul and southern American

Howlin’ Ray’s

icon-location-pin Los Angeles

Is it the most Instagrammed chicken in Los Angeles? You bet. Is the line usually around two hours long? Also accurate. And is Howlin’s succulent, mouth-searingly-hot fried chicken worth that wait? Absolutely. What else would you expect from Johnny Ray Zone, a chef who spent time in the kitchens of a few of the biggest names in the world? Of course the Nashville-style hot chicken that Johnny and his wife, Amanda Zone, bring to Chinatown is far from what he was whipping up with Thomas Keller and Nobu Matsuhisa—it’s simple milk-brined, hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken, done with flair and a whole lot of heat. First handed out the window of a truck and now serving from a brick-and-mortar in Far East Plaza, Howlin’ Ray’s is a modern L.A. institution offering light or dark pieces, wings, sandwiches and, most recently, tenders—which you can even order as smothered with cheese. Choose from a basic “country”-level hot (with no heat whatsoever) to the terrifyingly spicy “howlin’,” but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

2
Hotville Prince's Chicken Nashville Hot Chicken in Los Angeles
Photograph: Courtesy Hotville Chicken
Restaurants, Soul and southern American

Hotville Chicken

icon-location-pin South LA

The wings and tenders are the real stars here—of course no Hotville star shines brighter than chef-owner Kim Prince, descendant of Nashville’s iconic hot chicken restaurant, Prince’s. Prince slings piles of chicken at her L.A. pop-up, serving it simply—and traditionally—with pickles and a few slices of plain white bread, a nod to back home. Of course if you really want some heat, order the massive tray, complete with sides like kale slaw or the pepper-packed mac and cheese. Sometimes Prince will do the occasional pop-up in Long Beach or Gardena, and sometimes you’ll have to come to her or hire her to come to you. However you’re getting your Hotville fix, you’re getting a taste of Nashville royalty. Appreciate every bite.

Advertising
3
Dave's Hot Chicken Nashville style chicken in Los Angeles
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Shelley Z.
Restaurants

Dave’s Hot Chicken

icon-location-pin East Hollywood

Started from the parking lot, now they’re here: One of L.A.’s biggest hot-chicken success stories, Dave’s began as a stand and worked its way up to a brick and mortar—and now it’s one of Hollywood’s late-night go-tos with a line out the door. They’ve only got one rule: no pickups. Don’t worry, the line moves quickly, as the menu is particularly limited. The bright-red hot chicken only comes in strips and (hefty) sliders, juicy and a little greasy and wildly hot, especially as you climb toward the “reaper” spice option. You’re gonna need a side of those cheese-topped crinkle-cut fries to cool things down.

4
Nashville hot chicken at Fritzi Coop by Neal Fraser in Los Angeles
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo
Restaurants, Soul and southern American

Fritzi Coop

icon-location-pin Fairfax District

Redbird’s Neal Fraser technically calls his hot chicken “Memphis-style,” though he admits there’s really no difference when it comes to the Nashville-inspired dish. You can find his take tucked into the Original Farmers Market, where the chef’s fast-casual chicken shack, Fritzi Coop, sells it in wing, boneless-wing and sandwich form—and the sandwich is where it’s at. Fraser isn’t fooling around with the spice (available as “hot” or “super hot”), and on the sandwich, the fried dark meat gets some added oomph from a spicy slaw. Cool off with whatever the daily agua fresca is. You’re going to need it.

Advertising
5
Fried chicken at Crawford's
Photograph: Courtesy Crawford's
Bars, Dive bars

Crawford’s

icon-location-pin Westlake

Find the quaint yellow brick building with the hand-pained lettering declaring “FRIED CHICKEN” and “ICE COLD BEER,” and you’ve reached your destination. Crawford’s is one of the best dives in town for a game of pool and some frosty mugs of cheap beer under the red neon glow of a “BAR OPEN” sign, but it’s also one of L.A.’s top spots for fried chicken. You’ve only got two options here—regular and hot—and for a kick of spice tha’s not as searing as some of the specialists (but still packs some heat), you already know we go for the hot. An order will only set you back $10, and it comes with white bread and a side of your choosing, which is some real Southern hospitality if we ever saw it. (Our tip? Don’t skip the pie, either.)

6
Angry Birdz Nashville style hot chicken
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Andy N.
Restaurants

Angry Birdz

icon-location-pin Los Feliz

Thai Town’s Angry Birdz is a bit of a dive, but that’s just fine by us—we’re not here for the frills, we’re here for the fried goods. The setting is sparse, the menu straightforward. The Nashville spice? Way hot. Like Howlin’ Ray’s, the basic level is “country,” but here, the hottest setting warns you that you should probably sign a waiver. (It’s hot, but it’s not litigation hot.) The birds here come in slider and tender form, but what it lacks in poultry option it makes up for in sides, with choices like mashed potatoes, slaw, mac and cheese, fries and even buttered rice—in ode to the owners’ Middle Eastern heritage—available until midnight every day of the week, for all your late-night hot cravings.

Looking for something a little different?

Advertising