The late Bolton Polk had a family recipe for spicy fried chicken and used it to open The Chicken Shack in East Nashville in the 1980s. Bolton’s hot chicken was a hit (and so were his wife's chess pies). But Bolton took ill, and the restaurant closed in the 1990s. Before he passed, Bolton shared his hot chicken recipe with his nephew, Bolton Matthews.
Bolton Matthews and Dolly Ingram both owned janitorial services before getting into the restaurant business. In 1997, armed with his uncle’s spicy chicken recipe and her take on fried fish, Bolton and Dolly opened Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish on Main Street.
In 2007, they converted an old school bus into a mobile kitchen and now take Nashville’s famous hot chicken to the masses.
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This interview is part of our ongoing effort to document Nashville's food culture. Hot chicken, fried pies, meat-n-threes, we've got them all. We're updating our existing Nashville Eats project and adding a bunch of new interviews, all in advance of our upcoming Nashville Stir the Pot on September 16 and 17.
So, if you plan on heading to Music City, make sure to arrive hungry.