Fast casual Nashville hot chicken chain coming to Charlotte

Fast casual Nashville hot chicken chain coming to Charlotte

Photos: Courtesy Dave's Hot Chicken

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LA-based Dave’s Hot Chicken plans to open 12 locations in Charlotte over the next five years.

The big picture: From its beginnings as a popular street food pop-up in a California parking lot, Dave’s Hot Chicken is now in markets around North America, including Dallas, Denver, Toronto and, soon, here in Charlotte.

  • The one place the Nashville-style fast casual restaurant isn’t? Nashville. “Munch at your own risk,” our Axios Nashville colleague Adam Tamburin quips.

Background: Local owners Nick and Nicole Smith have been hooked on Dave’s Hot Chicken since they tried it in Dallas earlier this year. “It’s addicting,” Nick tells me. “We were completely blown away.”

  • The husband-and-wife duo are experienced restaurant owners in Charlotte, owning and operating 12 (going on 14) Jersey Mike’s for 25 years.

[Related Axios guide: Zara, Wegmans, Wawa and 9 other retailers Charlotte wants]

Locations: The Smiths have their sights set on South End for a location, but haven’t yet secured a lease. Other areas they plan to open include Ballantyne, south Charlotte, University and Plaza Midwood.

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  • The spaces will feel hip, Nicole says. “You’ll want to be there.”
  • They’re looking for restaurants that are about 2,000 to 2,500 square feet.

daves hot chicken

Menu: The key to ordering at Dave’s is selecting the right spice level — from the extremely spicy Reaper flavor to no spice at all (why would you do that, though?).

  • There are three combo options to choose from: tenders, sliders or a mix of both. All come with crinkle cut fries.
  • Sides include mac & cheese, kale slaw and cheese fries.
  • Dave’s also sells chocolate, strawberry and vanilla milkshakes.
  • Full menu is included below.

Zoom out: Charlotte is undeniably lacking on Nashville-style hot chicken concepts — despite our relatively close proximity to the Music City — so it’s interesting to see how aggressively this California-based chain is entering the market.

[Related Axios guide: Top 10 fried chicken spots in Charlotte]

Here’s a preview of what to expect:

daves hot chicken

daves hot chicken

daves hot chicken

daves hot chicken

daves hot chicken menu

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