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Throughout New England, I’ve recently noticed the tag of  “Nashville” has been applied to many chicken sandwiches. No matter if I am in a local pub or tavern, barbeque establishment, or really a restaurant of any kind, this menu item is everywhere. Here, I’ve highlighted four great places to get a tasty Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich in Massachusetts today.

First, what exactly does this term refer to? “Nashville chicken’s signature heat comes from a spice blend that usually includes cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and other secret ingredients,” Main Bird Hot Chicken explains.

So, in short, we are talking about a piece of buttermilk fried chicken sandwiched between a bun (typically, brioche). However, it needs to have the aforementioned spice rub. Then, add in some slaw or pickles to take the sandwich to the next level.

The History Of Nashville Hot Chicken

Although it appears to be more on-trend and ubiquitous now in Massachusetts, Mashed explained this style has a history going back over 75 years. In their 2021 story that specifically profiled the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, they say, “This fiery brand of fowl, which originated at a Tennessee institution with a royal name, marries a southern classic with a hit of tongue-tingling heat.”

Mashed explains that a historical Nashville establishment named Prince’s Hot Chicken can be pointed to for serving up one of the first memorable of these spicy fried chicken sandwiches.

The Massachusetts establishments that have mastered the craft of this sandwich have a few things in common. First, they don’t overdo it with the toppings. That can take away from the mixed spice flavor. Next, they pair the sandwich with a side, but not one that takes the attention of the main act. Lastly, they include an option to make it unique. That can be a spicy mayo, ketchup aioli, or fried pickles.

Here are four great places in Massachusetts you need to know about, to get a great Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich.

  • The Buckley Kitchen - Framingham

    I’ll start with the most recent one I’ve had. The Buckley Kitchen keeps it perfectly basic. There’s a significant crunch, but the chicken is not overly fried. The only challenge is whether you pick the seasoned fries or homemade tater tots to pair with it. The Buckley also has an extensive beer and wine list. The Maine Lunch IPA sounded the part, as a pint that would pair perfectly with their Nashville Hot, and it did not disappoint.

  • Buttermilk & Bourbon - Watertown or Boston

    This restaurant now has two locations for you to pick from to grab their mouth-watering Nashville Hot. You have to search for it on the menu. The Buttermilk Fried Chicken “House Special” comes with the option to add Nashville Hot. Then, if you have room, throw in a baked mac and cheese to share, and thank me later for a meal you will be burning to return for. Buttermilk & Bourbon has two restaurant locations in Massachusetts. There’s the Boston spot, at 160 Comm. Ave. Then, in Watertown, you can find this establishment in the Arsenal Mall (100 Arsenal Yard Blvd.) Both are open seven days per week.

  • Flanders Field - Hanover

    This establishment is only about two years old, but they have already made quite a name for themselves. Flanders Field not only serves an authentic Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, they also have 100 beers on tap. Each of them is served in the glass or mug that it is meant to pair with. Furthermore, Flanders Field often holds beer pairing events where they take you through some of their items on tap and what they pair well with in the given the season.  They describe their style as, “Farm fresh, locally sourced, in-house prepared food with a Northern European and American influence.”

     

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  • Lily P's - Cambridge

    There’s a Nashville Hot all over the menu at Lily P’s. The “Lower Broadway” is the most traditional Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich item. However, there’s also the “Hot N’ Honey” which simply adds black pepper honey to the party. Then, you can order your tenders, fried chicken pieces or an entire bucket in a Nashville style. Equally as interesting here, is that Lily P’s is also well known for their Oysters. They offer traditional Wellfleet Oysters, or a Roasted and Fried style. Lastly, while you are waiting for your main course, grab their cheddar popcorn app to hold you over.  The only catch here is that in late September they will not be open on the weekends.

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