It’s a way of life in Nashville and a burgeoning North American trend. Since April, pastry chef Holly Laham has been bringing the Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich to the capital in a series of pop-ups at local breweries and restaurants.
She has already wowed chicken and beer lovers at spring pop-ups at Dominion City Brewery and Bicycle Craft Brewery. Now she’s headed to Buchipop HQ, for a summer pop-up that pairs her sandwiches with kombucha slushies.
What is a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, you ask? — Take the perfect piece of fried chicken, dip it in an oil bath of seven carefully blended spices, and throw it on a classic white bun. Add iceberg lettuce, bread and butter pickles, and homemade ranch dressing to cut the heat.
Vegetarians will be thrilled to hear that Laham also makes a deep-fried buffalo cauliflower version of her sandwich, while those with a sweet-tooth should save room for dessert — she’s been experimenting with a recipe for deep-fried strawberry cheesecake ahead of the event.
Date: Saturday, June 23
Time: Noon – 3pm
Address: Buchipop, 50 Beech St.
The Holly’s Hot Chicken Backstory
When her former employer, Holland’s Cake and Shake, closed up shop a few months ago, Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef Holly Laham was at loose ends. With some time on her hands, she began experimenting with Nashville hot chicken. The rest, as they say, is history.
“It was really good, so I went with it,” says Laham, who perfected her own hot chicken recipe before heading down to Nashville to do some eating and to make sure she was on the right track. (For the record, she highly recommends Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, a family-run business since 1945.)
The Hype So Far
Laham launched her pop-up brewery kitchen series in April with a one-night stint at Dominion City Brewery. Nashville hot chicken lover Alan Neal of CBC’s All in A Day was intrigued, raising Laham’s profile with an afternoon interview.
She was at it again on June 1 with a well-attended event at Bicycle Craft Brewery. The Buchipop pop-up makes event Number 3.
Looking to the Future
Hauling around a “portable” deep fryer is not the most convenient way to cook your specialty. Though Laham is committed to running pop-ups throughout the summer and fall, her long-term dream is to open her own hot chicken restaurant. Stay tuned.
Though she’s passionate about hot chicken, Laham is at heart a pastry chef. She promises that desserts will also play a key role in her future plans.