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Royals Hot Chicken shakes down with week of soft openings

The new year promises to see the opening of several long-announced and long-awaited restaurant openings. One of the most anticipated is Louisville’s second entry into the Nashville-style hot chicken movement, Royals Hot Chicken, the brainchild of Ryan Rogers, of Feast barbecue renown. (Joella’s was the first hot chicken emporium to enter the market, opened by Tony Palombino last fall). Royals will end its soft opening trial run today, 5-9 p.m., at 736 E. Market St., in the location that most recently was Taco Punk.

Insider Louisville made a full report on the new NuLu restaurant recently, describing its crisp white interior decor with communal tables. In that story Rogers discussed the complications of running a fried chicken place, which includes getting the coating of the meat just right, and trying to gauge correctly how much chicken will need to go into the fryer when to meet demand.

Royals brines its chicken at least 12 hours, then carefully coats it in seasoned flour to get a crisp and airy exterior. There are several layers of heat available, the hottest, Gonzo, made with Ghost, Carolina Reaper and Trinidad Scorpion peppers, three of the hottest available. Diners also must choose white or dark meat, plates or sandwiches and between the various side dishes, such as spicy potato wedges, mac and cheese, broccoli and bacon salad and whole baked sweet potato with sorghum butter.

Rogers is awaiting his liquor license. In the meantime, he recommends milkshakes to ease the burn of a too-hot decision on the spice level (the fats in milk bind with capsaicin, easing the heat perception; water and carbonated beverages have to appreciable lessening effect).