Hot Chicken Takeover A Memorable Date Spot In Ohio

Men's Dating

Hot Chicken Takeover™ Turns Up the Heat & Serves a Memorable Meal for Dating & Married Couples in Ohio

Amber Brooks
Amber Brooks Posted:

The Short Version: Hot Chicken Takeover has caused a sensation in the Columbus dating scene by bringing Nashville flavors to Central Ohio. Its plates of spicy fried chicken have gotten rave reviews from couples and families looking for a special dining experience. The local restaurant has temporarily closed its indoor dining due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it still offers to-go plates that can perfectly accompany a picnic lunch or dinner at home.

In the spring of 2014, Hot Chicken Takeover opened a small pick-up window in Olde Towne East, a historic neighborhood in Columbus. The pop-up restaurant served hot plates of chicken inspired by the owner’s trip to Nashville — and people ate it up.

The business grew from word of mouth, and this weekend-only service soon expanded into a chain of full-blown casual restaurants.

Photo of an HTC fried chicken meal

Since April 2014, Hot Fried Chicken has tantalized the taste buds with its down-home cooking.

Couples, friends, and families gather at Hot Chicken Takeover to treat themselves to something special. Its mouthwatering meals have gotten many five-star reviews, and the restaurant’s four locations have become landmarks in Central Ohio.

In honor of Valentine’s Day in 2020, the Hot Chicken Takeover team asked customers to share their HCT love stories. Over 140 couples gave testimonials. One touching story came from Autumn and Frank, who had Hot Chicken Takeover for the first time three years ago on a memorable date night.

The couple had only been dating for a month when they learned Frank had to transfer to North Carolina for work. The night before she would drive him to the airport, Autumn ordered HCT to-go and the couple ate it on the floor of her 420-square-foot apartment.

“We both cried before the night was up, but I am so grateful for that special last moment we shared together,” Autumn wrote. After spending a year long distance, she and Frank now live together in Columbus. “We love nights that we can stay in (our slightly larger apartment now) and order HCT and relax,” she said. “It will always hold a special place in our hearts and stomachs.”

Diners Can’t Get Enough of the Nashville-Style Fried Chicken

The Hot Chicken Takeover menu is simple and classic. It offers five different cuts of fried chicken with four levels of heat ranging from mild to extremely spicy. The chicken is made Nashville-style, which means it is seasoned with cayenne pepper and topped with pickles.

Couples can order the Drumsticks flight, which includes four drums with four heat levels, to put their spice tolerance to the test at this fun dating spot.

HCT logo

Hot Chicken Takeover’s delectable fried chicken recipe has spiced up the Columbus food scene.

Hot Chicken Takeover has three side options: Ma’s Mac, Ma’s Slaw, and Baked Beans. These homemade dishes offer a taste of Southern cooking, and the recipes have been in the owner’s family for generations.

“Ma’s Slaw is a vinegar-based coleslaw, which is different than the traditional mayo-based slaws,” said Liz Dickey, Marketing Director at HCT. “Our mac and cheese is made fresh every day and baked in the oven to produce a crispy, cheesy top. The entire process truly is a labor of love.”

For dessert, sweethearts can indulge in a sweet treat known as Miss B’s Banana Pudding. This fan favorite can cool the palate after a hot chicken meal, and it can offer a scrumptious end to a night out.

If you’re visiting Hot Chicken Takeover on the weekend, you can enjoy its specialty waffles, which have been deep fried and smothered in powdered sugar.

Hot Chicken Takeover aims to please foodies of all ages and backgrounds, and its menu has recently added some gluten-free options to better serve those with dietary restrictions.  Every Tuesday, all HCT locations offer a gluten-free version of the boneless breast, chicken sandwich and banana pudding.

The Love of Good Food Brings a Community Together

Inclusivity is a core value of Hot Chicken Takeover, and the team prides itself on bringing an eclectic mix of people together at its long, shared tables. The restaurant cultivates a family-friendly atmosphere where everyone feels welcome and heard.

“Pre-COVID, our restaurant felt much more like a family reunion than a fast casual restaurant,” Liz told us. “You were likely to leave HCT making a new friend or two.”

Photo of a HCT takeout meal

Hot Chicken Takeover has outdoor seating options available for couples picking up to-go orders.

Since March 2020, Hot Chicken Takeover has had to change its open-table policy. The restaurant does not currently offer dine-in seating at any of its locations, but it has outdoor patio tables where people can enjoy their meal with proper social distancing.

Hot Chicken Takeover became famous for its comfort food, and it’s been a bright spot in the community during the global pandemic. Local couples have taken to ordering HCT to-go and going on a picnic in the park or having a casual dating experience at home.

Liz said she has seen many Columbus residents rally around local restaurants and show their support for Hot Chicken Takeover.

“Our customers are highly invested in our success and the success of entrepreneurs and business owners who have built something here,” Liz told us. “It’s a mindset that has always been present, but heightened with the recent closures and cutbacks.”

Hot Chicken Takeover recently launched an Indiegogo campaign with a goal of raising $125k to feed 20,000 at-risk residents of Columbus. Within five days, it had reached 100% of its goal. The campaign had nearly 2,000 backers and raised over $155,000, which is a testament to the generosity and resilience of the Columbus community.

“The results really reinforced the title of the campaign — we are all in this together,” Liz said. “We might be biased, but our community is incredibly special. They’ve made our brand what it is today.”

A High-Integrity Team Supports Personal Growth

Hot Chicken Takeover takes pride in being a great place to eat and a great place to work. The Founder Joe DeLoss built the restaurant on five core values — Growth, Respect, Initiative, Integrity, and Team (GRIIT). Every employee from the kitchen to the restaurant support center is expected to uphold these values.

The HCT team fosters growth by continually looking for ways to improve, learn, and expand. Any team member can recommend new processes, policies, or strategies to better serve the community, and the Founder weighs feedback from all team members equally.

Photo of the HCT Clintonville location

Hot Chicken Takeout provides supportive jobs and professional development opportunities.

“We are focused on strengthening areas within our roles,” Liz said. “Growth is something very personal to each member of our team and is tailored to the path they have created for themselves.”

As an equal-opportunity employer, Hot Chicken Takeover has fostered a diverse team. The restaurant’s HR model focuses on creating supportive jobs for people who have faced one or more barriers to employment, including homelessness, previous incarceration, or addiction.

Hot Chicken Takeover gives people a chance to make an honest living, take on new responsibilities, and gain professional development skills, and it has been a stepping stone to a better life for many marginalized members of the Columbus community.

Every new hire starts out washing dishes, but HCT offers quick advancement for team members with GRIIT. Hot Chicken Takeover is a welcoming place where employees can start over and gain a support system. The restaurant even offers its employees emergency cash assistance and 0% interest loans to help them during a personal crisis.

Hot Chicken Takeover is the Hottest Date Spot in Central Ohio

Hot Chicken Takeover offers a good old-fashioned indulgence that everyone can afford. Its hot fried chicken plates delight customers looking for a quick lunch, an intimate takeout meal, or a family-style dinner. From the crunchy breading to the juicy innards, this Nashville-style chicken offers a mouthwatering experience with every bite.

Over the last few years, Hot Chicken Takeover has become a hot spot in the Columbus dating scene, and it’s a great place to spice up your romantic evenings with someone special.

“Since day one, our mission has remained the same: to create extraordinary experiences for extraordinary people,” said Liz. “This statement encompasses all of our key stakeholders — our team, our guests, our partners and our neighbors.”