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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Dolly Ingram

Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish

The late Bolton Polk had a family recipe for spicy fried chicken and used it to open The Chicken Shack in East Nashville in the 1980s. Bolton’s chicken—and his wife’s chess pies—was a hit. But Bolton took ill, and the restaurant closed in the 1990s. Before he passed, Bolton shared his hot chicken recipe with his nephew, Bolton Matthews.

Bolton Matthews and Dolly Ingram both owned janitorial services before getting into the restaurant business. In 1997, armed with his uncle’s spicy chicken recipe and Dolly’s take on fried fish, they opened Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish on Main Street.

In 2007, they converted an old school bus into a mobile kitchen and now take Nashville’s famous hot chicken to the masses.

Date of interview:
2008-05-31 00:00

Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans, 2008, and Jennifer Justus, 2012

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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