New hot spot for Nashville-style chicken


The number two at Dave’s Hot Chicken. Photo by Malvina Policarpova

Malvina Policarpova, Staff Reporter

Starving  after a long day and the only thing on your mind is to get a big, savory meal as fast as possible? Dave’s Hot Chicken has got you covered. Famous for its unique, colorful interior designs of Dave the Chicken all over the walls, the restaurant creates the illusion of being in an art gallery with exclusive illustrations. This is a far cry from its first location in an East Hollywood parking lot in 2017.

Some patrons might be taken aback when entering the restaurant and seeing numerous maskless employees and no social distancing with open table seating.  Illinois had just lifted the mask mandate, so the employees were in compliance.  

Dave’s falls into the category of fast food rather than a formal restaurant.  Orders are placed at the counter, and the service is surprisingly fast, even during the dinner rush hours. The standard menu is limited, providing only three Nashville-style chicken options. Dave’s #1 consists of two tenders with fries which comes with sliced bread, pickles and Dave’s sauce ($11.69). Dave’s #2 consists of two sliders with fries which are served with kale slaw, pickles, and Dave’s sauce ($13.69). Dave’s #3 is a combination of a single tender and a slider with fries including the same toppings ($12.69).

To enhance the flavor, seven levels of heat, from “no spice” to “reaper,” sets Dave’s apart from other chicken sandwich places, like Chick-fil-A or Popeye’s which only provide two options, spicy and not spicy. The Carolina Reaper pepper is considered the hottest pepper on the Scoville scale at 200X hotter than a jalapeno, and the brains of patrons who dare to try it are at first tricked  into thinking that it’s not that bad. But, after a minute, the burn on your tongue slowly makes its way to the back of the throat  and then your eyes will turn into waterfalls.

Each order also comes with a packet of honey, and the combination of sweet and savory is absolutely amazing. Plus, the sweetness cuts through some of the heat. 

The size of chicken is almost twice as big compared to the actual bun holding it, which does get a little messy while eating, especially with Dave’s sauce, so stocking up on napkins is a necessity.  

In addition to the large entree size, the amount of fries you get with each order is more than filling. Not only are they perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but they also remain hot far longer as  compared to other chain restaurants. 

Add-ons are available such as another tender ($4.25) or slider ($6.25), as well as mac and cheese ($3.50), kale slaw ($3.50) or fries ($3.50). 

Milkshakes are also offered in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry in two sizes, small ($3.95) and large ($4.95). 

Dave’s mid-range pricing is a little bit higher than other chicken sandwich restaurants, but the amount of food you get and its quality makes it worth the extra expense. 

Overall, with its fast service and big delicious portions, Dave’s Hot Chicken will not leave you disappointed.


Naperville Crossings

2736 Showplace Dr, Naperville