A Bang for Your Cluck

Dave’s Hot Chicken Has The Best of Both Worlds

The Cali-based hot chicken sensation has become a huge hit in the Bayou City.

By Shelby Stewart November 30, 2021

 

Dave's Hot Chicken sandwiches and tenders. 

The Nashville Hot Chicken craze has polarized the nation, with individual cities and regions making their own unparalleled variations of the Tennesse staple. The latest franchise to join the spicy chicken furor is Dave’s Hot Chicken, the California-founded late-night pop-up turned hot chicken sensation. 

Houston has its fair share of hot chicken spots, so the new out-of-towner surely raised the question of uniqueness. Having been financially backed by the likes of Drake, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Strahan, it inevitably piqued my interest. Celebrities will often back restaurants and establishments for good publicity, but Dave’s Hot Chicken’s grassroots approach to food shows that it’s different from the rest. The hot chicken business began as a parking lot pop-up in 2017, quickly taking off and developing its brick-and-mortar restaurant in East Hollywood, and expanding the concept throughout the U.S. 

The fast-casual chicken concept originally built its first Houston outpost off Westheimer, and the high demand for the delicious chicken made it no question for the brand to build its second location in Downtown Houston, at 614 Dennis Street. 

But once I walked inside, I could see for myself the originality of the “born in the streets” rooted franchise. While not Houston-based, the restaurant certainly paid homage to the city’s unabashed car culture, with a mural of a slab with neon lights that read, “that’s why ya chick missin,” modeled after local slab holder Kandy Red Bred’s storied vehicle. 

But it was going to take more than vibrant walls to win over my tastebuds. Just looking at the menu, it fared much better than most, and the super-friendly staff gave me a full rundown of the menu. As opposed to simply serving chicken sandwiches, Dave’s Hot Chicken’s offerings included a choice of sliders and chicken tenders, with sides of mac & cheese, kale slaw, and a delectable accompaniment of cheese fries. 

Spicy chicken tenders and sliders offered at Dave's Hot Chicken two Houston locations. 

The chicken is made to order and offered at seven different spice levels, ranging from No Spice at all, to Reaper, which requires a waiver to those who want to make an attempt at the fiery meat. I chose the Combo No. 3 at medium, the unassuming heat level that shows I'm down for the cause, (but also didn’t want to have a glass of milk to cool off). Plated in a chicken basket, the sandwich and tender were served with a side of well-seasoned fries, along with their special sauce and packets of honey. The honey packets add the perfect touch一the sweetness from the honey elevates what would be a regular hot chicken sandwich to the next level. The honey adds just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the spicy and savory flavor of the chicken. 

Dave’s Hot Chicken leans on the pricey side, but once you see the amount of food you’re given, you’ll begin to understand why. The scrappy chicken joint takes the meaning of “everything is bigger in Texas” to the next level, as you’ll surely get a bang for your buck. 

Dave’s Hot Chicken is now open at two Houston area locations, 614 Dennis Street, and 12161 Westheimer Rd Suite 100. For more information, visit their website.



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