After a long hiatus, Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack is back, serving what many claim to be the most addictive fried chicken in town.
Rocky’s gained an underground following for serving mercilessly hot, sometimes ghost chili pepper-spiked bird to all who dared to venture into an aesthetically challenged squat building on the side of Highway 25 in Arden. The Shack was shuttered earlier this year under rather vague circumstances.
To owner Rocky Lindsley, it was rather simple. He was tired, his wife was sick of it, and his landlord was thinking about charging him more.
It also turns out that Lindsley was blissfully unaware of exactly how popular his product had become. “I was constantly running into people who were so upset, and it was very flattering,” Lindsley says. “I was sort of surprised at the reaction.” A few chicken-addicted potential investors even approached him about reopening the Shack.
“It blew me away,” says Lindsley, who says that all of the attention was “a catalyst for me to partner up with these investors and get back into it.”
Ready for mind-blowingly hot chicken? Yes, yes you are. — photo by Jonathan Welch
Lindsley says he’s all warmed up ready to dive back into the business of selling his secret-recipe bird, modeled after fried chicken from Nashville hole-in-the-wall, Prince’s. “I made a test run for myself and kicked my own ass in my own kitchen, so I’ve still got it,” he says.
Lindsley reports the Shack will reopen in West Asheville in mid-spring. “We’ve got a location and it looks like it’s a done deal, but there’s some hoops we’ve got to jump through before it’s settled, so I don’t want to jinx anything by giving the location away.”
Lindsley also reports that fans of Rocky’s will be happy to note that very little will change, save the addition of a few side dishes. “We’re going to keep the chicken exactly the same way — simple, to the point and hot enough to melt glass. Because the investors got why it worked in the first place, they want to keep it soulful and they want to keep it honest,” he says.
Look for the full story in next week’s Xpress.