Food & Drink

How a Brewery Coaxed Prince’s Hot Chicken Out of Nashville for the First Time

The original hot chicken joint is headed to Greenville, South Carolina

photo: Reese Moore Photography

Prince’s Hot Chicken is an institution. And until today, it was a Nashville-only institution, with two beloved spots that serve up the original seriously spicy fried chicken that has become a Music City must-eat for locals and visitors alike (and in 2013, a James Beard Foundation America’s Classics winner). “We date back nearly ninety years,” says owner André Prince Jeffries, who took over the business from her great-uncle in 1980, and now runs it with her daughter Semone. 

photo: courtesy of Yee-Haw Brewing
André Prince Jeffries with her daughter Semone.

But on Thursday, November 12, for the first time ever, Prince’s will expand—to a new location in Greenville, South Carolina, at Yee-Haw Brewing Company downtown. “Being seventy-five years old,” Jeffries says, “I started thinking that I need to leave a future for my children and grandchildren. I’ve been asked to expand all over the world—and I mean all over—but until now, I always refused.” 

Joe Baker, the founder of Yee-Haw—which has roots in Johnson City, Tennessee—had been angling to pair her Nashville hot chicken with his beer for several years. “He was persistent,” Jeffries says with a laugh, “and here we are. We are just blown away and so excited for this opening.” Baker is suitably thrilled. “These ladies have had every opportunity to expand, and I’m humbled to do business with them,” he says. “Their story is the best, their chicken is the best, and their family is the best.” 

photo: Reese Moore Photography
Prince’s Hot Chicken paired with a Yee-Haw beer.

The brewing company has been closed for six months due to the pandemic, and the reopening on Thursday will unveil the hot chicken addition alongside renovations that include a large outdoor seating space set up for basketball, cornhole, and ping-pong. When it’s time for a pour, Baker likes pairing Prince’s with Yee-Haw’s award-winning malty lager, Dunkel, in particular. 

Jeffries and Semone plan to stay as involved as they can with the new location. Their manager and operational trainer Tyreese Lawless, whom they consider family, has been training up the cooks in Greenville to deliver the Prince’s original taste. “He’s done a wonderful job with the kitchen staff, getting them ready to deliver our concept of hot chicken,” Semone says. “And all of us will be back and forth between Nashville and Greenville.” 

As for further expansion? Jeffries and Semone might be swimming in offers, but they’re making no promises. “Oh, this is plenty to keep us busy for now,” Semone says. “Other people and other cities are asking,” Jeffries adds, “but I tell them, ‘Hey, I’m just blowing in the wind!’”