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First Look: Nashville hot chicken favorite Hattie B’s debuts in Atlanta

On July 12, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken officially made its Atlanta debut on Moreland Avenue in Little Five Points.

Fans of the wildly popular Southern-style restaurants had been waiting through months of construction delays for opening day. And the immediate response was long lines, mimicking the lively scenes since the first Hattie B’s opened in 2012 in Midtown Nashville, Tenn.

Family-owned and operated by a father-and-son team, Nick Bishop Sr. and Nick Bishop Jr., Hattie B’s has expanded to three Nashville locations, plus outposts in Memphis, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala.

Father-and-son team Nick Bishop Jr., left, and Nick Bishop Sr. man the counter at the Hattie B’s Hot Chicken that opened last week in Little Five Points. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.

The mainstay of the menu, made-to-order Nashville hot fried chicken, is offered on a scale of six heat levels — Southern (no heat), mild, medium, hot, damn hot and Shut the Cluck Up. Hot chicken sandwiches come with one side. Plates with a choice of white or dark pieces in a variety of sizes come with two sides.

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Favorite sides include pimento mac and cheese, collard greens and black-eyed pea salad, with peach cobbler and banana pudding for dessert. Drinks range from iced tea, lemonade and soft drinks to draft, canned and bottled beer.

There’s a notable selection from local craft breweries, with Arches, Creature Comforts, Gate City, Orpheus, SweetWater, Scofflaw, Terrapin, Wild Heaven and Wrecking Bar on the list, though the beer license hasn’t been received, so those aren’t pouring, yet.

As they’ve done with previous Hattie B’s, the Bishops searched for a location with some history, in a neighborhood with some energy.

Little Five Points, and a building that was originally a Phillips 66 gas station from the 1950s, fit the bill. The red-and-white-branded, retro-modern build-out boasts 80 seats inside and an additional 56 seats under a covered patio.

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is at 299 Moreland Ave., NE, in Little Five Points. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.

And behind everything, there’s also a deep connection to the city of Atlanta. Bishop Sr.’s father, Ernest Eugene “Gene” Bishop, rose through the ranks to become president, CEO and chairman of the Morrison’s Cafeteria chain. During part of that time, the family lived in the Atlanta suburbs.

Later, Bishop Sr. followed in his father’s footsteps and worked for Morrison’s for some 29 years, until he retired. The idea for Hattie B’s began at Bishop’s Meat & Three, a 40-seat Southern cafeteria Bishop Sr. opened in Franklin, Tenn., in 2007.

Last week, Bishop Sr. and Bishop Jr. — who regularly refer to each other as “Senior” and “Junior” — sat down at a table at Hattie B’s in Little Five Points and talked about how their restaurants evolved from their family roots.

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken’s father-and-son team, also its co-owners and operators: Nick Bishop Jr., left, and Nick Bishop Sr. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.

“I come from a large background of restaurateurs,” Bishop Sr. said. “My father started back in the mid-’40s with the old Morrison’s Cafeteria company. We lived in Atlanta for 13 years, and he had an office down in Forest Park.

“My dad is 88 now. And the first thing I do when he comes to my restaurants is give him a pen and a pad. He comes back after an hour or so with a page and a half of things I’ve done wrong.”

Bishop Sr. likes to tell the story of how he opened Bishop’s next door to a Chick-fil-A.

“Everybody in the Chick-fil-A drive-through was looking into my dining room,” he said. “So what I did was replicate a kind of mini cafeteria, or a meat-and-three, if you will. We built a pretty good team there, and really, the joy in this business is the people.”

When Bishop Jr. joined the team, continuing the family tradition, he hoped his father would finally take more time off from the business. Instead, they started experimenting with Nashville hot chicken recipes.

“Living in Nashville, we had eaten at Prince’s and Bolton’s and 400 Degrees, and all of the hot chicken places, and we just started thinking about what we could do with that,” Bishop Sr. said.

“Figuring out that people do hot chicken a lot of different ways, and it’s not just this one thing was pretty eye-opening for us,” Bishop Jr. said. “And that gave us a little more freedom to make it what we wanted.

“But we’ve kept it pretty simple. That’s kind of part of the charm. We know what we do well and we stick to it. We knew that we made great fried chicken, we had a handful of sides that we thought we could really nail, and it all just came together.”

299 Moreland Ave. NE, Atlanta. 678-888-4884, hattieb.com.

Scroll down for more images from a First Look at Hattie’s B’s Hot Chicken

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken sandwich with fried chicken breast, cole slaw, Nashville comeback sauce, kosher pickle, with red skin potato salad. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
Hattie B's Hot Chicken Red Skin Potato Salad side (sides also pictured include Black Eyed Pea Salad, Pimento Mac and Cheese, and Baked Beans). Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
Hattie B's Hot Chicken 1/2 Bird Plate served with two sides, bread, and pickles. Pictured are Pimento Mac and Cheese and Southern Greens sides with a draft beer. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
Hattie B's Banana Pudding dessert. Photo credit- Mia Yakel
Hattie B's Peach Cobbler dessert. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.

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The Food & Dining Team offers reviews, previews, food news and fun bites food trends for metro Atlanta’s vast food and dining scene.

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