Choose Your Spice Level

Appears in the July 2023 issue.

By Peter Gianopulos

Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken brings the heat to match

Chicken and waffles at Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken

The mascot for Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken in Naperville—a chafed-looking chicken boasting a fireball hairdo and flames for feathers—would’ve made an excellent addition to the Angry Bird franchise. And it’s an apt symbol for the Virginia-based chain’s unabashedly spicy chicken. At the newly opened Naperville location (760 Rte. 59), operated by Gulam Fatani and his extended family, you’re invited to select your chicken configuration (sandwich, nuggets, fingers) and your desired level of spice. Each tick on the heat spectrum leans on a different pepper, from mild (jalapeño) and medium (cayenne) all way up to a waiver-required Angry Hot (ghost pepper). For those who aren’t interested in popping Prevacid after their meals, there’s a no-heat option as well as plenty of heat-quenching sides, from waffle fries and breakfast waffles to fried okra and a stellar cider slaw. “The slaw at Popeyes takes five minutes to make,” says Fatani, who offers halal products and is debuting wings this summer. “Ours takes four hours. We not only make everything fresh; we make it all from scratch.”


Photo: Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken