Viral Foods and Where To Find Them In Denver – Hot Chicken Sandwiches

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There’s only one dish that combines savory heat with fried chicken. The notorious hot chicken sandwich has captured the heart of countless spice lovers with a 76-year history originating in Tennessee. According to Mashed.com, the first-ever southern classic is credited to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville. The famously spicy sandwich is usually seen atop a slice of bread with briny sliced pickles and dressed in sauce ranging from mild and medium to hot.

Though this fare has been around for decades, its resurgence has taken the Denver food scene by storm with hot chicken restaurants popping up all over the front range. As the virality of this dish takes over social media, its simplistic ingredients and sweat-inducing spice will last a lifetime.

As more and more hot chicken joints slide onto the scene, this list serves as a passport for a tongue-numbing trip around Denver.

Blazing Bird

Hot Chicken

Photo By Brandon Johnson

Location: Arvada, Fort Collins, Englewood, Denver

The Lowdown: Coined as a “spicylicious” sandwich, Blazing Bird opened its first location in Arvada and quickly branched out across the state. With locations in downtown Denver, Fort Collins and Englewood, the Nashville Hot-filled menu is available to the masses. The fare includes a couple of spicy tender sandwiches with the choice of sizzling sauce from original, mild and medium to hot, extra hot and blazing (signed waiver required). Aside from the classics, the menu puts a twist on burritos, macaroni and cheese, French fries and tacos by adding spicy chicken.

READ MORE: Blazing Bird Heats Up the Arvada Restaurant Scene 

Kickin’ Chicken

Hot Chicken

Photo By Adrienne Thomas

Location: 275 S Union Blvd., Lakewood

The Lowdown: Located in Lakewood, Kickin’ Chicken offers a worldly twist to the traditional hot chicken sandwich with a chicken katsu ($12.25) served over fried rice, macaroni salad and katsu sauce. Rather than a typical side, the menu offers Mexican street corn, fried rice and Vietnamese slaw. Sauces include a jalapeno honey mustard, buffalo ranch, golden garlic blue cheese and sweet chili. If it’s not a trip for the delicious Texas toast and spicy chicken, then the team’s strong sense of community is worth the support!

READ MORE: Brother and Sister Duo Open Chicken Joint in Lakewood Featuring Styles From Across The World 

Lou’s Food Bar

Hot Chicken

Photo Courtesy of Lou’s Food Bar on Facebook

Location: 701 Grant St., Denver

The Lowdown: Lou’s is a Nashville-style hot chicken joint from Chef Frank Bonanno. Some familiar Bonanno concepts in Denver include Luca, Green Russell, Osteria Marco, French 75 and more. Lou’s offers various cuts of chicken dressed three different ways — hot, medium or naked. While this chicken joint offers an eclectic menu set up like a family reunion, the classic Lou’s chicken sandwich ($7.50) has distant relatives joining the fun. An avocado ranch chicken sandwich, buffalo chicken, Russel’s barbecue chicken and Lou’s Cubano also grace the menu.

Chicken Rebel

Hot Chicken

Photo by Alden Bonecutter

Location: 3618 Tejon St., Denver

The Lowdown: Chicken Rebel is known for its Rancher sandwich ($10.50) complete with bacon, avocado and buttermilk ranch, but the Firebird ($9.75) is a highly underrated Nashville Hot chicken sandwich. It’s simply dressed in slaw and crunchy pickles but that’s what it’s all about — letting the spicy Nashville Hot drenched chicken soak up the limelight. As a bonus, this chicken joint has loaded tots in five different styles from green chile and buffalo to honey hot, lemon zest and parmesan.

READ MORE: Chicken Rebel Grows its Flock With Westminster Store 

Birdcall

Hot Chicken

Photo courtesy of Stephan Werk for Birdcall

Location: DU, Five Points, Union Station, Cherry Hills, Boulder and Colorado Springs

The Lowdown: With a menu dedicated to the chicken sandwich, it’s only right to have the classic Nashville Hot ($7.50). Bird Call takes a mild approach by topping the chicken with sweet butter pickles, but it perfectly complements the heat. With a fast-casual concept, Bird Call is perfect for a quick bite to-go or pit stop for lunch. Most recently, the Cherry Hills Village location opened with a full tequila bar and boozy margaritas.

Music City Hot Chicken

Hot Chicken

Photo by Kori Hazel

Location: Fort Collins and Denver

The Lowdown: The Denver satellite location is out of the TRVE Brewing Company taproom on South Broadway. Music City offers a no-nonsense menu with an insane heat level ranging from Nashville Hot and Jamaican jerk to green chili blend and flammable solid ($1). With a sauce name like flammable solid, you’re sure to start leaking out of every pore.

Dave’s Hot Chicken

Photo by Adrienne Thomas

Location: 1615 Platte St., Denver

The Lowdown: Another chicken joint blessing Denver is Dave’s Hot Chicken. Originally from East Hollywood, this famous restaurant branched into Denver with chicken blazing. The intimate menu offers three different meals — two tenders and French fries, two tender sliders and French fries and lastly a combination of both tender and slider with French fries. Dave’s has really mastered a full balanced flavor profile when it comes to the sauce — there’s a slight sweetness to cut the heat and avoid an abundance of saltiness.

Native Foods

Photo Courtesy of Native Foods on Facebook

Location: 680 S. Colorado Blvd., Glendale

The Lowdown: Native Foods is a vegan eatery featuring takeout, delivery and dine-in options. Though hot chicken sandwiches aren’t vegan, this restaurant adapted the familiar flavors to provide the same experience. The Hot Honee sandwich ($13.25) is a crispy plant-based chicken in hot honey sauce topped with a southern slaw, jalapeno slices and plant-based mayonnaise.

Whether it’s vegan, fiery or traditional, these Denver hot chicken joints are pushing the envelope and truly making the Nashville hot chicken legends proud.

Check out more in the “Viral Foods and Where To Find Them In Denver” series here