Interview puts the spice in the hot chicken community

A few days ago, George Embiricos wrote a piece about Hattie B’s, the relatively new-to-the-game hot chicken joint.  He stirred up a few embers, though, with some cultural appropriation, however unintentional it may have been:

Lengthy lines — packed with locals, tourists and celebrities alike — regularly stretch down the block during peak times. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack may have created hot chicken in the 1930s, and institutions like Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish may have helped preserve the tradition over the years, but Hattie B’s has made hot chicken cool.

The drama has been unfolding over a few days.  First, commenters on a Facebook group raised heck about it, but moved on.  Betsy Phillips of the Nashville Scene, though, was not having it:

We’ve lived through white people “inventing” rock & roll so they could sell it to white people and then half a century of people — black and white — pointing out that it’s an older art form than that. We’ve lived through a century of “vulgar” “exotic” “indecent” dances done by black kids becoming “fun” and “energetic” and “cool” when white kids do it — see everything from the hop straight through breakdancing through whatever kids are doing today. Graffiti, when black kids were doing it, was criminal and fed into gang culture. Banksy does it and now it’s worth preserving and spending money to collect it. There’s not a black art form, food included, that by this point hasn’t been popularized by white people and then the popularized version celebrated by white media like white people invented it, or at least, perfected it.

Then just today, Phillips’ colleague, Chris Chamberlain, waded into the fray to sort-of defend Embiricos:

In my opinion, Embiricos’ piece is not a bad piece; it has a bad headline and a few awkward phrases in it that I imagine Embiricos wishes he could rework.

And he added a few good points about the whole situation:

It’s probably worth mentioning, as well, that a Nashville editor might have raised some of these issues [of racism], while Embiricos’ editor, working out of Manhattan for a national food site, didn’t see some of the landmines here.

Regular tourists flock to both Nashville locations, because … if you’re on a Pedal Tavern, it’s a long-ass trip up Dickerson Pike [to Prince’s].

All three pieces are worth a read, in order, when you’ve got a little free time.

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Nashville to get second Whole Foods store

Whole Foods, the grocery store that’s known for its $6 asparagus water, plans to open up shop in a new development downtown at the intersection of Broadway and I-40.  Or, as Jill Romano puts it:

There’s currently a Mazda dealership there, but Endeavor Real Estate Group plans to put up a 27-story building with a full-sized Whole Foods downstairs.  This will also be the only full-sized grocery store downtown, where there are currently none.

The Nashville Business Journal has the complete picture.

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New option for omnivorous kosher keepers

A Vanderbilt student plans to open a kosher meat food truck on his own campus.

Aryeh’s Kitchen, as it will be called, is actually a trailer: the back will be a cutoff where the food is ordered.  And since it’ll be set up on Greek row, it’s probably good that they’ll serve something called the “Hangover Burger.”

Currently, Grins Cafe, just steps away from the future food trailer, serves vegetarian kosher meals.  “We are not going to be selling food that is similar to Grins, we are focused on providing kosher meat to Vanderbilt,” Rabbi Shlomo, of the Chabad House, said.

The Vanderbilt Hustler reports.

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Nashville Mobile Market to shut down unless new organization steps up to the plate

The Nashville Mobile Market, a healthy grocery store on wheels that travels to food deserts around town, is in danger of shutting down in a month and a half.  The organization that runs it, Community Food Advocates, is ceasing operations at the end of April.

The non-profit is hoping that another organization will take the reigns of the Mobile Market, which sells fresh produce and other healthy food to Nashvillians who don’t have access to a quality grocery store in their neighborhood.  Nearly 500 people across the city are served by the market in a trailer.  Jilah Kalil, Executive Director of CFA, told the Nashville Banner,

“The need has never been greater.  We are hoping another non-profit or community agency is willing to take on the Mobile Market, including staff and grants, so it can continue the work it is doing.”

The brainchild of Vanderbilt Medical School student Ravi Patel, the market was started with the help of some of his classmates in 2010.  The initiative was taken over by Community Food Advocates in 2014.

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Local Grub

A lunchtime sampling of some of the delicacies offered by local restaurants.

First up, Pepperfire in East Nashville was just recognized by Food Network for its hot chicken:

Local burger featuring lamb from a local butcher:

Finally, the Franklin/Nashville Fun Times Guide reviewed food truck-turned-brick and mortar restaurant Smokin’ Thighs:

They’ve definitely given me (someone who always chooses the white meat / breast meat when eating from a whole chicken or turkey) a reason to love the dark meat / thigh meat from a bird.

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