Nashville Eats: 400 Degrees

By  |  29 Comments

I know it’s Valentine’s Day and I should be writing about something love related…alas, I am not.  Unless, of course, you consider my love of food appropriate.  In my attempt to show off all the great things that Nashville – and the surrounding areas – has to offer, I’ll be showcasing a lot more local restaurants, places to be, and things to do.

Nashville isn’t in shortage of hot chicken.  In fact, we even have the Music City Hot Chicken Festival every 4th of July.  My family and I have become hot  chicken connoisseurs over the years after going to the annual festival and trying the different varities that Nashville has to offer.

NASHVILLE FOOD 400 DEGREES

One of the more famous hot chicken joints is 400 degrees.  While owner Aqui Simpson is looking at franchise options, there is only one location at the moment.

What I love about this place is the no frills, just good chicken atmosphere behind it.

Aqui does all of the cooking and usually has a couple people helping customers and getting orders ready.  Don’t be fooled though, it’s not that they aren’t busy.  We’ve gotten it down to a science-order ahead.  Always order ahead.  If you place your order there, don’t be surprised if you have to wait 30-45 minutes for your order.  Some may get angry about this, but this is precisely how you know that you found a good place to eat.  And, I’ve found it is pretty common practice for hot chicken establishments.

Aside from doing all the cooking, Aqui is one of the friendliest, down-to-earth owners I’ve ever come across.  Let’s just say she knows my dad so well that when he calls he doesn’t even have to say who he is or what his order is.

The menu is pretty basic.  Different heat levels available in breasts, wings, legs, pork chops and chicken tenders, a few sides and drinks.  I always get the breast and vary between 200 & 400 degrees.  I suggest getting the 200 unless you’re going to be eating it at home and then brave the 400!  The fries are the only side I’ve had and they are pretty good too as she puts a paprika mix over them.

Tips for eating hot chicken:

Go for the water, not tea or coke. (Some say milk is even better for it)

Don’t touch your eyes or any other part of your body for that matter.

Wash your hands thoroughly immediately after.

Cost: $7 for one breast (includes bread and pickles).  Cash only.
Degrees: 0 (no heat), 100 (mild), 200 (hot), 400 (hottest).
My usual: 2 breasts of the 200 variety.
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday. Tuesday-Friday 11-7.  Saturday 12-5.
Cons: Parking & Wait Time.  If you call ahead, then the only con is parking.
Pros: Absolutely amazing hot chicken.

Location: 319 Peabody St – corner of 4th and Peabdoy.  Inside building with Quiznos and several other food establishments.



Ashley is the mastermind behind A Southern Gypsy, a travel blog focused adventure, outdoors, wildlife and Vegan food! In between bigger trips, she is delivering the best of her hometown, Nashville. Hates mustard & pickles. Needs coffee to function. Other passions | activism, minimalism, zero waste, books + writing.

29 Comments

  1. Sammi

    February 14, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    I *love* chicken.

    If I ever get to Nashville, you’re totally taking me there 🙂

  2. Kara

    February 14, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    You make 400 Degrees sound like a great place to eat, even for a “not” hot chicken person! I could give the 0 degree a try and bet I’d love it! Thanks for the awesome info! You ought to see if Aqui would get you a couple 200 degree breasts for being such a great fan and letting all of us know! 🙂

  3. Adelina @ PackMeTo

    February 14, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Drool – that looks so good. I’ve never heard of hot chicken – is it fried chicken with a hot sauce on it? Either way it looks delicious. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try the 400!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      February 14, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      Adelina, it’s pan fried or deep fried (I believe at 400 Degrees the only ones that are deep fried are the 400 level, but could be wrong) and is a powder coating–she uses a cayenne/paprika/whatever else mixture. It’s amazing!

  4. Cory Lee

    February 14, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Next time I’m in Nashville I need to give this place a try. I’m a hot foods connoisseur so I’d love to try the 400!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      February 14, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      The 400 is good too! When you come up, let me know and I’ll tell you the other hot chicken places I go 🙂

  5. Lance | Trips By Lance

    February 14, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    I’ll look this up next time we’re in Nashville, which is often considering we live in Memphis.

    • Ashley Hubbard

      February 14, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      I’ll be coming to Memphis in May–my first time, pretty bad considering I’m from middle TN.

  6. Vanessa

    February 14, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    How good does this look? I will definitely try this when I’m next in the area!

  7. anna parker

    February 15, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    you are correct – milk is best with hot food. I read somewhere that if you have a spicy curry then you should always have it with milk – water and beer don’t work at all apparently, to reduce the spice impact or the full tummy!

  8. Gabor Kovacs

    February 15, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    That chicken looks really delicious! I have never been to Nashville, one more reason for visiting then! It is also nice that you can choose the degrees, I have never seen that before.

  9. Chris Boothman

    February 15, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    Given the number of times we have visited Nashville, I can’t believe I have never visited this place! We love trying hot, spicy chicken – one of our favorite spots is Buffalo Wild Wings so 400 Degrees looks like just the spot we would love! Not sure which I would sample but I figure based on your review that the sensible choice would be to opt for 200 degrees first, see how that is and then maybe next time go for something a little hotter.

    This is the beauty of reading reviews like this because you learn about spots that you may never have known about otherwise. Thanks for sharing this with us and the next time we are in Nashville, we will be sure to check this out for ourselves and let you know what we think!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      February 15, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      Chris, Buffalo Wild Wings is one of my all time favorite restaurants…but hot chicken in this sense, Buffalo’s has nothing on it haha. Just completely different. When y’all come this way again, let me know and I’ll give you the name of some others 🙂

  10. Samantha @mytanfeet

    February 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    Yum!! I LOVE spicy chicken so this look like it’d be a great place to go for me. Do they have any challenges or competitions? We have a 7 wing challenge at a chicken place in Seattle (wingdom or wingstop can’t remember) and my friend cried lol. I am craving chicken wings now…yum!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      February 16, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      Nope, no challenges. It’s a really simple place, but so good. I really want some wings now too after talking about it so much haha

  11. Anastasia Sofia

    February 15, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    As a vego this post is a little wasted on me, but it looks amazing and I love hot food! 😀

  12. Raphael Alexander Zoren

    February 15, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Posts like this always make me really hungry! That looks amazingly delicious! 😀

    • Ashley Hubbard

      February 16, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      Thanks Raphael, glad Icould make you hungry!

  13. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary

    February 15, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    Sounds absolutely delicious! I love hot wings so this place would be a great place for me to dine!!

  14. frankaboutcroatia

    February 16, 2014 at 1:24 AM

    I love spicy chicken. We’ve been selling a Louisiana chicken sandwich back in Quebec, and it was our signature sandwich 🙂 – we used to have a small sandwich bar. That chicken on the first photo looks delicious!

  15. Lindsay

    February 18, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Yes, please!! I love hot chicken and have never had it before moving to Nashville! 400 degrees- consider yourself added to my NashNosh bucket lis!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      February 19, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      Lindsay, you live here – you have no excuse. Go…now!

  16. Jessica

    February 18, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    I know so little about hot chicken that I thought you were talking about heated chicken until the end. But, you mean hot as in spicy. Sounds delicious, if not a little extreme.

    • Ashley Hubbard

      February 19, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      Thanks Jessica! I’m not certain if other places do this, but it’s very common in Nashville.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge