Table Talk: Deezie’s Hot Chicken doesn’t quite compete in Nashville hot chicken scene

Photo by Connor Burnard / MTSU Sidelines

Widely seen as one of the most defining characteristics of Nashville, hot chicken restaurants are a frequently debated hot topic in Middle Tennessee, and they represent a popular destination for both tourists and locals.

Hot chicken was created by Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, and intense discussions pit Prince’s original recipes against the chicken of popular favorites like Hattie B’s, Bolton’s and Pepperfire. Although everyone has their favorites — even though Prince’s will always reign in my mind — it’s generally accepted that good, Nashville hot chicken should knock your socks off with spice but be too tasty to put down.

In bringing hot chicken to Murfreesboro, Deezie’s Hot Chicken expanded the dish’s range outside its inner-city origins, but attempting to take a feature so intrinsically intertwined with Nashville out of its home only feels unnatural.

Hot chicken is connected to the city, and eating in the rundown, old-fashioned confines of Prince’s on bustling Dickerson Pike or Bolton’s, hidden in plain sight on 8th Avenue South, is just a part of what hot chicken is. Deezie’s interior seems to attempt to replicate Wingstop, which is not a terrible design to imitate, but the feeling of being inside a corporate to-go chicken wing chain in a new, polished strip mall on Medical Center Parkway is not quite conducive to an authentic hot chicken atmosphere.

Deezie’s menu also resembles Wingstop’s more than it does an authentic hot chicken establishment, but a $6 lunch special comprised of three tenders, a drink and a side seemed to be of good value for a meal. Despite being a lover of spice, I was unfamiliar with Deezie’s, and recalling past traumatic experiences of hubris when choosing a spice level for hot chicken, I opted to play it safe with the medium, which was described on the menu as “hot goodness full of flavor.” The medium at touristy staple Hattie B’s is enough to turn one’s face deep red, and it’s described as “warming up.”

However, playing it safe with medium was a poor decision. The tenders, although fresh, scarcely exceeded the heat level of the spicy option at Dipper’s Chicken. The tenders would likely register far below the “Wimpy” option at Bolton’s, and the classic slice of white bread that accompanies hot chicken to help cool off the diner’s mouth felt like an insult when served with such a low level of spiciness. The quality of the chicken itself couldn’t do much to redeem the lack of boldness, either.

It’s clear that Deezie’s does things differently than the classic joints in Nashville, just not very well.

By trying to pass itself off as a Nashville hot chicken restaurant, Deezie’s sets itself up for failure with a poorly thought-out and contrived ambiance and lackluster flavor. If it was marketed as just the regular fast-food chicken spot it actually is, Deezie’s would be slightly less disappointing, but trying to take hot chicken out of Nashville proved to be a mistake, as this Murfreesboro version will never be able to stand up against the classic Nashville establishments that it tries to compare itself to.

Its website self-advertisement that states “some of the best ‘Nashville-style Hot Chicken'” is either a deliberate lie or confused misinformation.

If any Murfreesboro residents are hungry for a failed attempt to replicate Nashville hot chicken, this is the place to be. Deezie’s earns two out of five stars, with those two stars only given for the value of the meal. Even though I felt deceived by the poor imitation of hot chicken, I can always appreciate a meal with a side and a drink for less than $7. The price would be the only reason to ever return, as I predict the “X-Hot” level of spice would hardly overtake a spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A.

Table Talk is a foodie’s paradise where you can find true, honest opinions on the most talked-about places in town. For more Table Talk coverage, click here.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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