Nashville Series: Big Shake's Hot Chicken & Fish

June 27, 2018 0 Comments

Big Shake's Hot Chicken and Fish in Franklin, TN

    Now before you say, “He’s writing about another chicken place?! Does he think that chicken is the only cuisine Music City has to offer?!” take a deep breath. I do, in fact, realize that there is more to Nashville’s food culture than chicken places, but in my defense, I had to include Big Shake’s in this series. That is all I have been hearing about since my Nashville vs. Memphis article premiered in June earlier this year. In that article, I chose Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken as the face of Memphis chicken and Hattie B’s Hot Chicken as the face of Nashville chicken. Memphis agreed with me, but numerous citizens of Nashville claimed that Hattie B’s chicken shouldn’t be the representative for Nashville chicken. Some even went as far to say that Hattie B’s chicken pales in comparison to Big Shake’s chicken. That claim was enough to convince me to try this place out for myself.

    There are only two Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish residing in the Nashville area and both are in the suburb of Franklin. The original is on West Main Street and the newer one is off of Highway 96. Although both establishments share the same name and menu, they are separately owned and managed. At the West Main Street location, I ordered the best-selling chicken plate, as well as the best-selling fish plate, since the restaurant’s name encompasses both entrees. Both plates come with one side of your choice, and the meats are served with a slice of bread on the bottom and a few pickles on top. My Jumbo Chicken Tenders plate was accompanied by seasoned fries, and my Catfish Platter came with turnip greens. The manager, Ellie, checked in on me throughout the meal, asking me what I thought of each item I ordered. I was beyond pleased with all of the food, especially the chicken and the greens. At one point, Ellie told me that although she does not like turnip greens, she loves Big Shake’s turnip greens, and that is the kind of testimony needed to sell a food to a customer. Similar to her story, I do not care for fries, and I never really have, yet the seasoned fries were delicious. I would eat fries more often if they all tasted like Big Shake’s.

    The catfish was prepared perfectly, crispy on the outside but tender and steaming on the inside. I chose the “Original” seasoning but there are different heat levels. For the chicken, I selected the customer-favorite, “Cry Baby,” which is their medium-level heat and the customer-favorite for good reason. If I am being honest with you, I have not stopped craving their chicken since I had it yesterday. My mouth is watering as I write this article.

    If I am going to respond to Big Shake’s versus Hattie B’s, let me say this- I would rather eat Big Shake’s chicken than Hattie B’s chicken, but I would be remiss not to mention the atmosphere. Atmosphere plays a crucial part in the experience of a meal, and Big Shake’s feels more like Los Pollos Hermanos from Breaking Bad than it does a sit-down restaurant. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it also isn’t the lively, contemporary, downtown environment that Hattie B’s offers.

    Overall, my experience at Big Shake’s was an easy ten out of ten. How do I gauge my experience at a restaurant? I ask myself, “Would I take a girl on a date there?” If my answer is “Yes!” then that is a restaurant I would definitely revisit. Let’s just say I am planning a date at Big Shake’s when my lady friend comes to visit me in Nashville!