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Music City Hot Chicken Is Moving in With TRVE Brewing

No bones about it, TRVE and Music City will make a fine pairing.EXPAND
No bones about it, TRVE and Music City will make a fine pairing.
Kevin Kirchner
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The combination of fried chicken and beer conjures up visions of summer picnics, backyard gatherings — and nights spent beneath occult imagery at a bar dedicated to heavy metal. Well, that last one may not instantly spring to mind, but it soon will. The fried bird in this scenario will be provided by Fort Collins original Music City Hot Chicken, and the beer and metal will come courtesy of TRVE Brewing, at 227 Broadway.

TRVE Brewing moved all of its brewing operations to its west Denver facility — which it calls the Acid Temple — at 2600 West Second Avenue about two years ago, leaving 200 square feet of vacant space at the Broadway taproom, according to founder Nick Nunns. He's been looking to fill the space ever since, and Music City was always the primary candidate. "We've been in talks with Music City for close to two years," Nunns says, "but COVID slowed things down. Now the timing seems right."

Music City Hot Chicken was founded by brothers Jordan and Sam Graf in 2016. They're both graduates of Fort Collins High School and Colorado State University, and their dedication to serving good food in their hometown precluded the possibility of expanding to Denver...until now.

Jordan says that he and his brother didn't want to create a carbon copy of their original restaurant (tucked into a shopping center on South College Avenue that also holds Black Bottle Brewery), but the unique environment inside TRVE felt like a good way to do something new while maintaining the restaurant's core focus. And Nunns says that Music City's "punk-rock focus and tongue-in-cheek approach to their marketing and branding" makes the eatery a good fit.

This is what happens when chicken and metal-themed beers collide.EXPAND
This is what happens when chicken and metal-themed beers collide.
Courtesy of TRVE Brewing and Music City Hot Chicken

The focus of the food will remain on traditional Nashville-style hot chicken with Music City's slight regional variation. "We really wanted to stay true to the original," Sam explains, so the heat is added after the chicken has been fried to prevent the seasonings from burning. But unlike most hot chicken joints, Music City uses different types of fresh and dried chiles found abundantly in the Southwest to achieve varying heat levels while creating flavor. Rather than producing pure burn as a kind of dare food, Jordan says, balance is the key. "We don't think heat and flavor are mutually exclusive," he notes.

So while the Flammable Solid chicken (available in Fort Collins in a sandwich or as bone-in pieces) is what Jordan jokingly calls "a two-day commitment," the flavor of the seasonings still comes through. Along with the Flammable Solid, there are six other levels: Southern, Green Chile, Hot, Nashville Hot, White Hot and Jerk (which falls lower on the heat scale and is described as having "great Caribbean flavor without the burn").

The brothers say they won't be able to offer the entire menu right away, but the favorites — sandwiches, tenders and a selection of sides — will be there. Nunns is looking into creating a beer — possibly a light lager — to commemorate the opening. "It makes a lot of sense to make an adjunct lager that will be perfect to cool you off after some hot chicken," he says, adding that many of the grains he purchases for brewing also come from malters in Fort Collins.

Construction on the new kitchen will get under way in March, and Music City Hot Chicken is expected to open in late May or early June, bringing a tasty combo to Broadway.

This summer could be very hot.

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