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Nashville Hot Chicken Royalty Kim Prince to Open South LA Restaurant

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The Prince’s hot chicken scion will open Hotville Chicken in late 2019

Fried chicken from Hotville Chicken in Baldwin Hills
Hotville Chicken
Leslie Rodriguez Photography

It’s the hot chicken era in Los Angeles. It’s hard to believe the mega-popular Howlin’ Rays only launched in 2016, along with a steady stream of similar restaurants frying up vats of Nashville-style fried chicken. But now LA prepares for a permanent spot from an actual member of the Prince family, which started the hot chicken craze in Nashville 85 years ago. Hotville Chicken plans to open in November at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, adjacent to Post & Beam.

Owner Kim Prince is related to James Thornton Prince, who launched Nashville’s Hot Chicken Shack back in 1945. Kim Prince took over the shuttered Michelle’s Country Diner two weeks ago, making a few minor cosmetic changes. Kim Prince says the 2,760 square foot restaurant should be open in less than 90 days.

Prince also partnered with her mentor Gregory Dulan, owner of the legendary Dulan’s Soul Food, to help run the business. “In a sense, it’s been a homecoming to have that whole little corner of the mall as black-owned businesses. There’s something special about that. We wanted to bring Hotville to this particular community to showcase it.”

Prince’s 2017 Chinatown pop-up was popular, with lines that rivaled Howlin’ Rays. Hotville made short-term appearances around Southern California for three years as Prince searched for a permanent space. Prince compared this nomadic operation to her family’s original shop in Nashville.

“The Prince family moved their hot chicken business around,” says Prince. “Sometimes (the space) wasn’t adequate or condemned, so they had five or six different addresses. I feel like I’m following in their footsteps. When I turn the key and push that lock, I’m guided by the winds that pushed them.”

Hotville’s menu will keep things simple. Think hot fried chicken, fish, and sides like baked mac and cheese, potato salad, kale slaw, and barbecue baked beans. Prince is exploring some vegan options as well.

The dessert lineup is designed to bring the essence of Nashville, with Goo Goo Clusters and banana pudding. Prince will take a similar approach with the music. “We’re planning on bringing the sounds of Nashville, so when you walk though that door, we’re gonna be bumping a lot of things, like the juke joint sound of what Nashville truly is.” says Prince.

Hotville Chicken. 4070 Marlton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

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