Nashville-Style Hot Chicken Has Arrived In Sarasota – Sarasota

Sarasota Magazine
1255 N. Gulfstream Avenue, Suite 101, Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 487-1100
By Lauren Jackson October 19, 2022
Nashville-style chicken sandwich at Hot Chikn Kitchn.
Image: Lauren Jackson
A new chicken sandwich joint has joined the Sarasota scene. Hot Chikn Kitchn, which opened this weekend on Bahia Vista near U.S. 41, serves up Nashville-style hot chicken in the form of sandwiches, tenders, and even chicken and waffles.
Owner Jon O’Driscoll knew it was fate when he was referred to the franchise.
“I’m a chicken guy and eat it five to six days a week,” he says.
O’Driscoll, a longtime food service professional, moved to the area eight years ago to open the Cheesecake Factory at the Mall at University Town Centre and subsequently managed Tommy Bahama on St. Armands Circle before breaking out on his own.
“If I’m going to work long hours, I want to work for myself,” he says.
O’Driscoll’s corporate restaurant experience has helped him develop a philosophy of hospitality that is evident upon walking into this quick-service restaurant.
“Service is available everywhere,” he says, “but hospitality is like you’re having a cookout at your house. You’ve got your friend’s favorite beer in the fridge and you’re happy to serve them. Anything they want, you’re going to provide your best for them.”
At Hot Chikn Kitchn, you’re treated as if you are that friend at the cookout. The team is all smiles and a few giggles. They’re knowledgeable and guide me through the menu so that I can settle on the right spice level for my Nashville-style chicken sandwich. I opt for the “after burner,” the second-lowest spice level. I’ve had Nashville hot chicken before and been too adventurous with my spice choice, so this time I’m playing it safe.
The sandwich is served on a potato roll with a generous addition of coleslaw on top to cut through the heat. The hot sauce is slightly sweet and I realize I could have been gone a little hotter with my spice choice. It’s served with a side of seasoned crinkle-cut fries that are crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. A side of the restaurant’s “Good Sauce” accompanies the fries. It’s reminiscent of Chick-fil-A sauce, but somehow better. I didn’t know that was possible.
I enjoy my meal at the front of the restaurant so I can watch the workers buzzing around and making recommendations to their guests. O’Driscoll’s  hospitality philosophy permeates the mood of the restaurant.
“I want to offer a full-service dining experience in a quick-service environment, specifically by connecting with the guests,” he says. 
Goal achieved.
Hot Chikn Kitchn is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at 2045 Bahia Vista Street, Sarasota. For more information visit their website.
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