Jordan Luckett, general manager of Hattie B’s Hot Chicken Birmingham, takes a break from working the line on a bustling Friday afternoon. He sits at one of the comfort-driven yet modern tables, lifts his red, Hattie B’s hat to wipe a bead of sweat and begins with a welcoming smile. “Birmingham’s got a really good food scene and with all the progress they’re making downtown, the Hattie B’s owners saw the location down here and thought, ‘That’s it!’ Hattie B’s was just the right fit for Lakeview.” Jordan is referring to father-and-son restaurateur duo Nick Bishop and Nick Bishop Jr., who got the idea for Hattie B’s when they added fried chicken to their meat-and-three restaurant, Bishop’s, and were overwhelmed by the love and demand Nashville showed for their crispy chicken. The Bishops thought, “Maybe, we need to start just a fried chicken restaurant.”

Hattie B's is conveniently located in the Lakeview Neighborhood.

Hattie B’s is conveniently located in the Lakeview District.

Hattie B's signature red is just as recognizable as the delicious taste of their hot chicken!

Hattie B’s signature red is just as recognizable as the delicious taste of their hot chicken!

Table sharing is one of the most unique qualities to Hattie B's welcoming atmosphere.

Table sharing is one of the most unique qualities to Hattie B’s welcoming atmosphere.

After finishing culinary school in Louisville, Kentucky, Jordan started out in the original Nashville Hattie B’s just four months after it opened. He was drawn to the personality of both the restaurant and its owners. “They’re very personable and outgoing — and it’s killer food” he recalls of working at the beloved hot chicken mecca. After years of hard work, Jordan was asked to be the general manager of Nashville’s second location and when a Birmingham Hattie B’s began, Jordan was just the right guy to bring the hot-chicken flair that the Nashville locals loved to the Magic City. Most importantly, he wanted to bring the classic Hattie B’s atmosphere to ‘Bama. “Birmingham is like how Nashville was just a few years ago,” Jordan remembers, “Southern charm without the insane population. It’s big enough that you get everything you want out of a city but not too saturated.”

But what really makes Hattie B’s different from the many classic, Southern comfort food restaurants here in Birmingham? Well, the dining experience, for one. Table sharing is a huge part of the Hattie B’s adventure. Jordan recalls when the main communal table at the original Hattie B’s was shared by “teenagers ditching high school for lunch, sitting next to businessmen.” And you are sure to see all walks of life in the long lines at Hattie B’s. The inclusive eatery’s target demographic is family, and the warm, welcoming staff makes sure that the atmosphere reflects that. Its “top-quality food with a great, very friendly atmosphere,” says Jordan.

Hattie B's outside patio continues its comfortable and shared feeling.

Hattie B’s outside patio continues its comfortable and easygoing atmosphere.

Two strapping chickens greet customers upon entrance into Hattie B's.

Two strapping chickens greet customers upon entrance into Hattie B’s.

Upon entrance to Hattie B’s, customers are greeted by a multitude of steel tables accompanied by charming, laid-back seating in Hattie B’s signature red. At each table sits a steel bucket of condiments, as well as the requisite roll of paper towels found on the tables of all drool-worthy soul food joints. This, alone, promotes the familial, comfortable and easygoing atmosphere. A large, black wall showcases a painting of two strapping chickens in slick red and white. Thanks to architect George Israel of Israel & Associates in Homewood, who took his cues from the original Nashville location and second Charlotte location, Birmingham’s Hattie B’s continues the relaxed, at-home-yet-sleek, modern vibe. Jordan explains that people should feel comfortable, safe and welcomed at Hattie B’s, and they have accomplished that from the staff to the design to, most importantly, the food.

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If the atmosphere is not enough to get your attention, the fresh food is. “It’s not often that you find a place that’s not fine dining, where all the dishes are made from scratch. Nothing is ever frozen,” says Jordan. The hot chicken sandwich, topped with a kosher pickle and the delectable Nashville comeback sauce, is one of Hattie B’s most beloved dishes. It’s unique enough to tickle your taste buds yet familiar enough to give the comfort of the classic Southern dish. Paired with the Bishops’ grandmother’s black-eyed pea salad, the two are a perfect match. The vinegar of the salad cuts the tasty heat of the chicken and, when washed down by Hattie B’s own house lemonade (Jordan’s recommendation), you’ve got a lunch made in hot-chicken heaven.

Communal paper towels are the mark of any drool-worthy barbecue or Southern soul food restaurant and Hattie B's definitely fits the bill!

Communal paper towels are the mark of any drool-worthy barbecue or Southern soul food restaurant, and Hattie B’s definitely fits the bill!

Any card-carrying, die-hard hot-chicken fan needs some Hattie B's swag like this sweet red trucker cap!

Any card-carrying, die-hard, hot-chicken fan needs some Hattie B’s swag like this sweet red trucker cap!

Grab a t-shirt, cup or koozie with your lunch!

Grab a t-shirt, cup or koozie with your lunch!

The famous sandwich is not the only star of the menu, though. Jordan’s favorite is the “Shut The Cluck Up” dark meat plate but he’ll be the first to admit that “the ‘Shut the Cluck Up’ heat level is not something you can do every day.” It is the hottest of the heat options followed by ‘Damn Hot,’ ‘Hot,’ ‘Mild’ or ‘Medium’ and ‘Southern’ for those who simply love traditional Southern fried chicken. Hattie B’s provides dark meat and white meat plates with tasty sides, such as Southern greens, baked beans, French fries, cole slaw, red skin potato salad and the fan favorite: pimento mac-n-cheese. The wings are a close second to the tenders, which tend to be the most popular with both Nashville and Birmingham customers. Wash your meal down with a domestic or imported beer or join Hattie B’s for brunch on Sunday mornings for the classic hot chicken dishes, as well as cheese grits and chicken and waffles. It is essentially impossible to order a meal from Hattie B’s that does not satisfy every taste bud, including the sweet tooth.

Hattie B’s does not miss the mark when it comes to dessert. They make their own banana pudding and offer root beer or Coke floats or a simple scoop of ice cream as the perfect sweet ending to your spicy meal. Most popular, though, is the cobbler. In Nashville, Hattie B’s rotates cobbler on a seasonal basis, but when introduced to Birmingham residents, peach was most often ordered and, in classic Hattie B’s fashion, “If the people want peach cobbler, they’re gonna get peach cobbler,” says Jordan with a loving laugh, noting that when Iron City residents “ask if we have cobbler, they don’t ask about seasonal. They ask if we have peach cobbler.” And Hattie B’s is always tweaking their menu to fit the local market and to ensure the happiness of their customers.

Hattie B's Hot Chicken Plate with french fries and Southern Greens is the perfect comfort meal.

Hattie B’s hot chicken plate of small dark meat with French fries and Southern greens is the perfect comfort meal.

"Shut the Cluck up!" is Hattie B's poignantly named hottest chicken option.

“Shut the Cluck up!” is Hattie B’s poignantly named hottest chicken option.

The Hattie B's hot chicken mouthwatering sandwich pairs perfectly with the house potato salad.

The Hattie B’s hot chicken mouthwatering sandwich pairs perfectly with the house potato salad.

There are so many insanely delicious options offered at Hattie B's!

There are so many insanely delicious options offered at Hattie B’s!

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Hattie B's offers the most charming selection of tea and lemonade to wash down their infamous hot chicken.

Hattie B’s offers the most charming selection of tea and lemonade to wash down their infamous hot chicken.

To take that local commitment to the next level, Hattie B’s also gives back to the Birmingham community. During their opening week, 10 percent of all proceeds went to the Jones Valley Teaching Farm and, each quarter, one manager volunteers at the teaching farm to learn from and engage with the community on a deeper level. The most rewarding thing, according to Jordan, about bringing Hattie B’s to Birmingham is the immense amount of support and excitement surrounding the new Lakeview location. “Hattie B’s is motivated by successfully providing good food and a family friendly atmosphere to the Magic City,” says Jordan, who has enjoyed exploring and mountain biking through the parks of his new Birmingham home, but finds his greatest joy in the Hattie B’s kitchen where making mouthwatering Southern fried hot chicken for new Birmingham hot chicken fans is a labor of love.

There really is nothing better than an amazing hot chicken restaurant that gives back to the community!

There really is nothing better than an amazing hot chicken restaurant that gives back to the community!

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is located at the ground level of 29 Seven Apartments at 2808 Seventh Ave. S in Lakeview. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to midnight; Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more, call (205) 578-6018 or visit Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.

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