The Unofficial Homepage of St. Matthews: Joella's Hot Chicken is GOOD

Joella's Hot Chicken is GOOD

Joella's Hot Chicken Louisville KY Frankfort Ave

Louisville's busy restaurant scene is nearly impossible to keep up with.  It's absurd the number of quality options that continue to populate our city's culinary culture. 

A cousin of mine who lives in Nashville has been bragging about the "hot chicken" craze for quite some time.  He swears by hot chicken, he tweets photos of its deliciousness, he rates the very best that Nashville has to offer, etc.  So I was glad to tweet him a picture of my introduction to hot chicken yesterday after eating at Louisville's first hot chicken joint, Joella's Hot Chicken in Crescent Hill on Frankfort Avenue.  It sits in the former Tony Boombozz space.  The space has been revamped, opened up, and the patio is still a good spot to hang.

I don't know much about all of the very successful restaurant industry cross-polination that is happening in our city, but I do know it's happening.  It's all happening, and this hot chicken business is just what the doctor ordered even in a restaurant climate as competitive as ours.  I've said it a hundred times:  The days of taking over a space and selling food out of it without any thought regarding the concept and the applicability of the atmosphere IS OVER.  You can't just show up to a restaurant space that's been an old school steak house, and open an Italian restaurant without rethinking the real estate, the layout, decor, etc.  If it still feels like a steak house, people might give it a shot, but atmosphere is crucial, so I always give place like that just a few months before they die.  Luckily, lots of restauranteurs here in the food Mecca of Louisville, have figured this out. 

Joella's is captained by Tony Palombino, who understands this concept well, as can be witnessed by his newest Tony Boombozz spot in the old 60 West Martini Bar in St. Matthews.  I actually think 60 West is a good example of "just opening a bar & grille and hoping people will spend money there".  Anyway, back to Joella's:  It's good.  The atmosphere is well done also.  The garage door windows which can be opened easily on a nice day like yesterday are a great call, and the taller ceiling opens up the order counter area and gives the place a familiar but modernized "lunch counter" feel.  We sat on the covered patio which is always a great option on a gorgeous day.

I got there with a friend at about 11:40 a.m.  No parking available at that point so I parked a couple blocks over on Weisser Ave which gave me a good pre-hot chicken walk.  The line was out the door, but it was handled efficiently.  The staff is very friendly, and seems to "get" that this is a "new" (is anything really new?) way to grub on chicken, and they aren't afraid to ask you what you know about "hot chicken".  I was impressed.  I ordered the "Jumbo Chicken Tenders" which come with 2 sides (!).  There are several options from which to choose when it comes to flavor/spice/heat of chicken, and these can be applied whether you order tenders, leg/thigh, or wings.  I went with "Ella's Favorite" which I took to be a safer but still spicy option.  It was very tasty.  I think I'll step up to "hot" next time, however, but I won't be venturing to try the "Fire in da Hole" style.  I'm all for spice, but I don't see it as a badge of honor to eliminate my tastebuds.  For my two sides, I went with blackeyed pea salad and fries.  The portion size was perfect for lunch, and the bill was under $10. 

So overall, it was very good food, and the price is actually a surprising asset in the equation particularly given the novelty/trendiness of the fare.  I'd have expected it to be a bit more expensive, but I hope Mr. Palombino doesn't read this.  One final note:  There is a good looking craft beer list and taps, but no beer as of yet.  I'm guessing they're working on their license, and once that's obtained, the coldies will provide wonderful refreshment to all that hot chicken!  Go eat at Joella's today.  You'll dig it.

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502-509-9278

chris@metrolouisvillemls.net

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Comment balloon 2 commentsChris Thomas • September 18 2015 08:29AM

Comments

Chris,

 

If hot chicken has made it here to Colorado Springs I haven’t seen it or heard of it yet. Sounds interesting.

Posted by David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation, Relo, Commercial, Luxury & Lifestyle, Residential (Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC ) about 2 years ago

Thanks for stopping by David.  I hope Colorado Springs gets a hot chicken joint soon.  Hope all is well.

Posted by Chris Thomas (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East) about 2 years ago

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