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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More than two dozen people lined up Wednesday for a taste of Nashville-style hot chicken at the opening of Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in Midtown. Michelle Wooden of Memphis showed up at 6 a.m. to be the first in line to try the much-hyped chicken. “Everybody says it’s really good chicken. There is always a line in their Nashville location so I’m hoping it’s really good,” Wooden said. Jack Eastep, who fancies himself a “chilihead,” says he drives for Lyft and often works in Nashville, where he was introduced to the restaurant. “I actually spent some time driving up and down the road trying to figure out where it was going to be before they even started construction,” Eastep said.
Eastep loves Hattie B’s “Shut the Cluck Up” chicken sandwich, and he emailed the company a few weeks ago to confirm the date and time of their opening. Of course, Memphis has its own spicy fried chicken chain with a national reputation. “Gus’s is good, but people that have that spicy food addiction. This is more of the thing for them,” Eastep said. Erik Houston, who recently moved to Memphis from Nashville, says he is just happy to have Nashville spicy chicken again. Houston explains the difference in the two is all in the coating. “The difference is they put a dredge on top of the Nashville hot chicken,” Houston said. “It’s not just fried chicken with some spice on it they put a coating on top of it as well. So it adds an extra dimension of flavor.” Owner Nick Bishop says the family-owned company also makes all their sides, like the banana pudding. Hattie B’s is located at 596 Cooper St.