Hot Chicken Takeover (North Market, Columbus, Ohio)

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I have visited Columbus, Ohio’s North Market a number of times since I was a youth, and for the longest time all that the second floor of the facilities were used for was to break free of the hubbub downstairs. It came as a surprise when we went upstairs and saw the rustic-cum-timeless layout of Hot Chicken Takeover, including eye-popping floor tile, communal tables, and a pretty lengthy line a few minutes before noon. Our first surprise was the quickness by which orders were taken, food was served, and crowds came and left.12170689_10153785012004673_370003483_n

The restaurant offers each cut of chicken (wings, drumsticks, thigh/leg, breast) in four spice levels; cold, warm, hot, and holy intensities; we both sat down with warm entrees. The warm level comes dosed with cayenne pepper to the degree that one will need to calm the burn with the bread or Ma’s mac. The breast ($7.50 for just the chicken, $12 for the meal) was one of the largest we’ve seen, while the connected thigh and leg ($6.50 for chicken, $10.50 for the meal) kept each piece more juicy than if they were separated. Meals come jam-packed with a few slices of white bread, pickles, and a generous helping of Ma’s slaw.  The restaurant offers free refills on sweet tea and the house ranch, along with stocking their cooler full of Boylan’s Cane Sugar Soda and Cheerwine ($2.50).12167912_10153785012379673_1287512017_n

Ma’s Mac is quite possibly the first mac and cheese that I actually liked. There is a variety of textures that one will experience here, whether it is the firmness of the noodles or the density of the cheese. When paired with the chicken, slaw, or sweet tea, the depth of flavors that one will experience from the side is considerable. Ma’s Slaw ($4 regular size / $10 large) is a vinegar-based slaw that has decently-sized chunks of lettuce, carrots, and cabbage. The tart and tangy slaw is robust and straddles the line between salad and accompaniment. 12167306_10153785011719673_1391759558_n

One is given more of the creamy side with the Ma’s Mac and more of the acerbic side with the Slaw. The chorus of flavors that exist in a HCT meal ensure that one will be just as eager completing the meal as they began it. For those that want to add or modify their Hot Chicken Takeover experience, extra meat ($5.50 for dark, wings, and drumsticks, $6.50 for white and boneless), sides (double Mac, no slaw for $1.50 and waffles for $2) are also available.12167115_10153785011649673_1473252009_n

There are a number of additions that one can purchase during a visit to Hot Chicken Takeover, key of which has to be Miss B’s Banana Pudding ($2.50). There is a creaminess and richness that permeates this dessert, providing one with a different set of flavors than experienced during the main entrée.  12166700_10153785011579673_774027696_n

Hot Chicken Takeover is open from Wednesdays-Sundays 11AM-3PM; the restaurant can close early due to the lunch demand. The restaurant goes mobile to a variety of events in the Columbus, Ohio area; visit their Facebook to see up-to-date news about current chicken stocks or where HCT will be in the days to come.

Hot Chicken Takeover (59 Spruce Street, North Market Second Floor, Columbus, Ohio; 614-800-4538)

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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