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400 Degrees

319 Peabody, Nashville, TN - (615) 244-4467
Posted By Michael Stern on October 19, 2012 6:33 AM
Go to 319 Peabody in Nashville, Tennessee, and you will see a free-standing Quizno's-anchored food court. Inside, it is possible to go to the main counter and order a Tuna Torpedo or Flatbread Sammie. On the other hand, if you want something good to eat, make a 90 degree turn and step up to the 400 Degrees counter along the side of the room. Here you will find soulful leg quarter sandwiches, quartets of wings, and pork chops sided by sweet baked beans. How such strange mallfellows came together (along with another formulaic eatery called Apollo's Grill) in the same location, I do not know. But I can say that if you want to eat Nashville hot chicken at its best, 400 Degrees should be on the short list of essential destinations.

The name of the place refers to its hottest chicken, which is taken from the fry basket and painted with a dark pepper impasto. 200 degrees is brighter red, less hot, but still sinus-clearing – somewhere between Prince's hot and medium.

Proprietor Aqui Simpson, who reminded me that regular customers call ahead so their chicken is ready when they arrive (hot chicken demands a 20 minute wait), said that she has a local police chief who comes in five times a week for 400 degree breasts and legs. "He came in the other day with a cut on his lip and ordered 200. But I was so used to giving him 400, that is what I did. He ate it, and he liked it, but I felt so sorry for his lip."
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Breast Quarter
Leg Quarter
Pork Chops

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Posted By Lauzon on September 12, 2013 7:10 PM
I love spicy hot food. This restaurant is likely the king of all that is hot and spicy. A friend recommended 400 Degrees as a "must try", this being my first visit to Nashville. The fact that it was also listed on cinched it.

When I placed my order for a 400 degree quarter chicken breast the woman behind the counter asked if I had eaten here before. I explained that although I had not, hot food was not new to me. I told her I was here by way of recommendation, and it's listing on roadfood. Another woman, who turned out to be the owner, offered me a small cup of french fries coated with the 400 degree sauce. I sampled them, and although quite spicy, I figured they were within my tolerance of actually enjoying what I was eating. The order went in.

Twenty minutes later I received my meal, which honestly is not the most appealing looking chicken I've ever eaten. It's a VERY deep dark red which leaves it a bit devoid of detail. I started in cautiously, knowing I would be testing my boundaries of hot. I was not disappointed. It's VERY hot. It took me a good 5-10 minutes to allow my tongue to acclimate to the heat, so I could actually taste the flavor, which when it came through, was quite amazing.

I was in tears throughout the meal. Fortunately I had a side order of cole slaw, and a Mountain Dew, to help cool things down when necessary. The owner came to my table, sat down and asked how it was going. By this point I was enjoying the sensations, but it was still slow going.

In retrospect, I believe I should have started with either the 100 degree or 200 degree offerings, despite my pension for hot. The 400 degree is definitely an acquired taste, and should likely be worked up to, if you happen to live locally. My innards were not particularly pleased with my decision to go for it.

Definitely try this place if you are in the area, but start low on the heat...
3 star rating
Overall Rating
Breast Quarter

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Posted By loren soeiro on February 4, 2013 3:34 PM
This is not only the best hot chicken I've ever had, but it's probably the best fried chicken, too, hot or not. The crust seals in some amazing, juicy, tender meat. I had the 200 degree chicken, which was very spicy, but definitely not too spicy to appreciate the sweetness of the crust and the flavor of the sauce. Highly, highly recommended. The owner wants to franchise this place; I told her she would go over big in Brooklyn, NYC.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Breast Quarter

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