A Greenville Avenue bar that closed during the coronavirus shutdown has re-emerged as a Nashville hot chicken spot. Called Chirps Chicken, it's taking over the old LG Taps spot at 3619 Greenville Ave., where it combines Nashville hot chicken with a full bar which many would agree covers all the important bases.
Chirps is a collaboration between LG Taps founder Jason Caswell and John Sanchez, who masterminded Chirps as a takeout chicken place only. When the duo realized they would each be helping the other, they formed a partnership, Sanchez says.
"I took my concept to him because LG Taps was shut down during the pandemic and I knew that food service would be allowed," he says. "It gives me a place to operate and it's a good deal for the both of us."
Sanchez is that rare person who saw opportunity in the coronavirus.
"I started Chirps a few months ago because the idea of doing pickup and delivery intrigued me," he says. "But my background is in brand development and marketing. I had no experience in operating a restaurant. Jason has a lot of experience in that area."
The concept is Nashville hot chicken, the famed spicy fried chicken that originated in Nashville.
"Many people have tried to do Nashville hot chicken, but very few have been able to maintain it," Sanchez says. "And I feel like none of the recipes here were authentic."
He says the authenticity comes via the spice. "It has to be addictively spicy, where it's so spicy that you can't stop eating it," he says. "You get the crispiness, and also the moist chicken and the brown sugar in the marinade."
The menu features chicken tenders in combos with fries and Texas toast. They're doing the chicken in three heat levels: country, Nashville, and fire.
They also have a trio of sandwiches that includes crispy chicken, Nashville chicken, and a cheeseburger. Sides include crinkle-cut fries, waffle fries, and mac & cheese.
"Our signature item is the Nashville hot chicken strips — we don't do any bone-in," he says. "We have chicken sandwiches as well. It's just sandwiches and tenders, and then the bar."
Sanchez worked with a chef to develop the recipes. For the restaurant, he's hired recent culinary school graduates.
"They have the knowledge and training to become something great," he says. "With the way the virus has affected the restaurant industry, looking for work has become a challenge. Chirps gives them the opportunity to utilize and develop their skills."