Mack's Hot Chicken

Mack’s Hot Chicken, in Smyrna, is the scorching and spicy creation of Raychelle Lowe, but her family working together is what makes it successful. Her son makes their very popular sweet tea, and her mother makes old-style chess pies. Her husband, Walter “Trey” Lowe, lends a hand. And Dad stops by to give suggestions from time to time.

“The restaurant is named after my father, Mack Holt,” said Raychelle Lowe, owner of Mack’s Hot Chicken. “When I was growing up he would go to Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville three times a week. He got to know the family that owned it. My sister and I wanted to see if we could come up with a recipe that would keep him out of Prince’s.”

Lowe’s father was a fireman for 38 years in Davidson County. When he retired, she wanted to do something to honor him and all the years he put into the job, rising to Assistant Chief. Their logo is a chicken in a firemen’s suit, a perfect way to reference her father’s profession, and let people know that her chicken has some heat.

“We have six different levels of heat,” said Lowe, “plain, mild, medium, hot, Mack Attack, and Mack’s Revenge. Most get mild or medium, except on the weekend. We sell more hot then.”

In 2016, Lowe started her hot chicken journey by catering on Fridays to the foodservice at Franke, where she worked. Then she started to cater to other companies, like Nissan. Her first restaurant was a trailer stationed in LaVergne, which she opened in 2017. She opened her current location this year, and she’s already looking to open another location, maybe in another state where they don’t have hot chicken.

It’s About the Food

Like’s it’s inspiration, Prince’s Hot Chicken, the focus here is on the food — except for a picture of a fireman putting out a fire. The atmosphere is friendly, many customers greeting Lowe with gentle banter. Or compliments on the food as they take their order home after work, showing that they are regulars.

While jumbo chicken tenders are their number one seller, Mack’s also offers jumbo wings, quarter, and whole chickens, as well as catfish and whiting. Sides include French fries, coleslaw, collard greens, mac and cheese, fried pickles, baked beans, and potato salad.

“Our number one dessert is the Oooh Daddy’s banana pudding,” said Lowe, “which he makes on site, but we also carry Boro Town Cake desserts in a cup.”

Before moving to the new location, Lowe was catering and she plans to return to catering the first of the year.

Also, next year she has plans to have a Hot Chicken Challenge. She is working on the details as she experiments with an even hotter flavor option. The event will offer team competitions and tastings to see who can eat the hottest chicken.

Whoever wins the tasting contest will have to love eating fire, because one longtime customer once advised a rookie to not get the hottest because, he said, “it will rip you a new a——!”

Mack’s Hot Chicken
12978 Old Nashville Pike
Smyrna, TN
615-768-5477
https://macks-hot-chicken.business.site/
Hours: 11:00 am until 8:00 pm, Tuesday through Friday
12:00 pm until 8:00 pm Saturday
Closed Sunday and Monday
Family-friendly

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