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Hot Chicken Comes to Columbus

Ayana Wilson Ayana Wilson Hot Chicken Comes to ColumbusPhotos by Ayana Wilson.
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If you’ve ever traveled to one of the southern states, and you like spicy food, then chances are you’ve had hot chicken before. And, even greater odds, you loved it. Hot Chicken is a simple, yet delicious, take on classic fried chicken, originated in Nashville, and now coming to Columbus.

Joe DeLoss and his wife, Lisa, on a trip to Nashville, waited an hour and a half for what folks told them was the can’t-miss experience of a trip to Tennessee. Hot Chicken, traditionally, is made by marinating pieces in buttermilk, breading and saucing them using a cayenne-heavy paste, and frying till perfect.

It’s usually served with sliced white bread and pickles. DeLoss’ version is very similar to the original, his spicy paste both flavorful and hot. He also serves mayonnaise-free coleslaw and the creamiest, cheesiest, most satisfying, old school mac ‘n’ cheese. Complete meals at Hot Chicken Takeover cost roughly $10.

DeLoss learned most of what he knows from his grandmother, Virginia Luft, to whom he attributes the recipes for the sides and the sweet tea that has to round out every meal. Eating at Hot Chicken Takeover is like having a sassy southern grandma cook you a meal, which is exactly what DeLoss hopes to simulate.

See, the most important thing the DeLosses took away from their Tennessee experience is how food forces worlds to collide, and they want to recreate that same energy here in the home of the Buckeyes. DeLoss’ talent in the kitchen is surpassed only by his passion for strengthening human connections.

“Waiting in line that day, I loved how every walk of life was represented,” shares DeLoss on his decision to import Hot Chicken. “Chicken was the ultimate uniter of people, every crosswalk of life finding common ground. It was so awesome I knew I had to bring this home.”

DeLoss, who also founded Freshbox Catering for Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio, eventually wants a brick-and-mortar, a place where the community can come together for the most basic of human interaction: sharing a meal. For now, Hot Chicken Takeover is hosting pop-up dinners.

Their first was on March 9th at the Near East Side Cooperative Market, 1117 Oak Street. The Co-op works under the umbrella of the Columbus Food Hub, which offers food incubator and truck services, as well as supports local food start-ups.

This kind of partnership is what you can expect to see more of in the future as Hot Chicken Takeover plans their invasion. This Spring, they will hold even more dinners and occupy several semi-permanent spots around the city in order to build the brand and spread the word.

“Besides a rich community of customers, Hot Chicken Takeover has a rich community of employees,” adds DeLoss. “As a partner to several community organizations, we’ll provide supportive and transformative employment to folks getting back to work.”

For more on Hot Chicken Takeover, and to learn where next they’ll pop up, follow them at www.facebook.com/hotchickentakeover.

Photos by Ayana Wilson.

 

 

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