I now have a different understanding of the word “hot.” New to Walnut Creek, Hot Boys is a hot chicken joint in the old Mel’s Diner space on the corner of Main and Cypress. It is a restaurant where California meets Tennessee, taking a nod from Nashville’s penchant for hot chicken.

You can order a fried chicken plate or their “Sando” (a chicken sandwich) in varying degrees of heat. I like hot and spicy food, just not so hot that I can’t taste what I’m eating. I ordered a Sando (medium hot) and the manager asked me what my tolerance level was. After I told him, he recommended mild-plus instead.

I wish I had ordered mild or “training wheels.” Oh my goodness, was it hot! I ordered a hard cider with my meal, so I got a side of fries instead of the meal combo and it was a LOT of fries (good to feed 2-3 people). When I asked to try the “special sauce,” he gave me two fries with the sauce. It definitely helps with the spice level, along with the coleslaw and pickles that are on the Sando.

I am not used to eating this kind of food (super spicy and deep-fried), so after only being able to eat half the Sando, my stomach was a little upset. It was really good, but I’m not sure I can eat it again. Maybe when my sons come to visit, I’ll try the mild version and see how I feel. My sons, of course, will likely want to show off and order a hot version that they’ll regret after one bite!

I liked the multi-colored scheme inside and the art on the outside of the building. They incorporate it all through their booths and hang flags from the ceiling, which takes you back to a youth of a distant past. There are also a couple of video games in the back. There are a few other sides, like collard greens, mac and cheese, swamp fries, loaded fries, and something called “Donuts,” along with a revolving list of beer.

For what it’s worth, I have a writer on my team who used to live in Walnut Creek and then moved to Nashville for a few years (and now lives in North Carolina), and he says he won’t believe Hot Boys lives up to real Nashville hot chicken until he tries it for himself!

(Featured image from Beyond the Creek)

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