Spicy Chicken Sandwiches are more than just a tasty trend, with sizzling sauces and tantalizing toppings Toronto’s newest hot chicken sammie might just be the best yet. Dave’s Hot Chicken has landed, with locations in Parkdale, midtown on Yonge Street south of Eglinton and a third yet to come in Leslieville. An import from LA, Dave’s Hot Chicken found their way to Toronto by way of Blair Bitove, who was studying in California at the time. With one foot back in Toronto, and one foot still heavy on the food scene in LA, Blair discovered Dave’s popup on social media and went to work on importing this tasty Nashville-style sammie up north. Good job Blair!

daves hot chicken

Hard to miss with neon lights and a wrap-around patio flanked by a funky mural, Dave’s Hot Chicken brings some spice to this Yonge Street corridor, and maybe a little ruffled feathers to St. Louis Chicken Wings which sits directly across the street. Running an intense app-delivery game with a handy takeout window, DHC is built for COVID, with a separate entrance and exit, handy signage and an auto-hand sanitizer on the way in.

daves hot chicken midtown

The menu is tight and trim, with no plant-based options or random burgers to upset the streamlined chicken coop. Three combos to satisfy all, #1- two tenders + fries, #2- two sliders + fries or #3- one slider + one tender + fries. I love this approach of ‘do one thing and do it right’, Dave’s Hot Chicken laser-beam focus on brined and spiced chicken is the hallmark of a good franchise, and while a few sides offer a reprieve from the spice, chicken is the main draw here.

daves hot chicken combo

Selecting the combo is only the start, next up sides! Fries are crinkly and perfect, slightly salty-spicy and supremely crispy. Kale slaw, mac n’ cheese and cheesy fries are also perfect partners. But the real question is what is your spice level? From 1 (light spice) to 7 (reaper, where they actually assume no personal responsibility to your insides) are on the menu, and happily, you can switch it up and mix and match. We sampled the Extra Hot, Hot and Mild, not brave enough for Reaper, but next time I may be. Pickles cut the heat and the slightly sweet dip sauce buys you some time between sips. But the chicken! So perfectly tender, crispy and hot. Only let down was the bun, and only because I’m a brioche snob.

auburnlaneeats daves hot chicken

Check out Dave’s Hot Chicken at 1582 Queen Street West and 2066 Yonge Street and check out their Instagram for news updates!

All images by Libby Roach, except the photo of Libby, which was by the amazing Sonya Davidson.