The Hot Chicken You Need To Try Is Not In Nashville.

Can you guess where you would find one of the most acclaimed Nashville-style Hot Chicken? Surprisingly, it is not in Tennessee but instead tucked away in a Chinatown plaza in Los Angeles, California.

Image via Howlin' Ray's | Jakob Layman

Howlin’ Ray's originated as a food truck owned by a husband and wife team with perfect backgrounds for a promising fried chicken joint. Chef Johnny, who is originally from LA, has a successful history of working with top chefs that include Nobu Matsuhisa and Gordon Ramsey. His wife, Amanda, grew up with Southern roots in East Texas that she has integrated into their business operations. Chef Johnny fell in love with Nashville-style hot chicken in 2014, so the couple spent some time in Nashville to learn the ins and outs of the entire culture. Their food truck formed as an effort to bring communities together over tasty Hot Chicken.


Image via Howlin' Ray's | Jakob Layman


From Food Truck to Restaurant


Johnny and Amanda closed their food truck at the end of 2015 with big plans for a restaurant. In March 2016, Howlin’ Ray's opened its doors in Chinatown, Los Angeles. The menu gives visitors the option to choose their chicken (1/4, ½, tenders, or wings), and then select their spice (country, mild, medium, hot, X-hot, Howlin’). You can also try their crispy chicken on a sandwich. Classic southern sides are available, such as pickles, shake fries, vinegar slaw and some of the best peach tea around.

Before the opening of the restaurant, Howlin’ Ray's was already building up a strong reputation in the food industry and in Los Angeles with LA Weekly and other local columns. Once the restaurant opened, Howlin’ Ray's popularity continued to rise. In 2017, Chef Johnny won a StarChefs award, and the restaurant was featured on the Today Show. The following year, Howlin’ Ray's was featured on the cover of Los Angeles Magazine. Celebrity foodies began to catch on, with Jon Favreau stopping in for chicken, and Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend ordering catering from the restaurant on more than one occasion.



Image via Howlin' Ray's | Jakob Layman

One of LA’s Best Restaurants



Today, Howlin' Ray's has over 165,000 followers on Instagram, drooling over their hot chicken photos daily. Howlin’ Ray's successfully brought Nashville Hot Chicken to LA, and not only have they brought southern-style to their food, but also to their hospitality. The restaurant has an LA-cool about it, including the staff (AKA @thehowlincrew). Howlin’ Ray's is known today as one of the best restaurants to check out when visiting LA. With the restaurant’s popularity, customers can expect to wait in line for up to two hours, but it is well worth it!


Need a reminder next time you are in LA? Add this 🔥spot to your To Eat List.