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Adventure in Spices? Houston TX Hot Chicken Latest Fresno Offering

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When visiting the new Houston TX Hot Chicken in north Fresno, I was told tasting the spiciest offering could ruin my day.

The latest entry into the quick serve chicken restaurant game — which opened earlier this month at 8482 N. Friant Road #107 — rubs spices into their chicken, as opposed to providing a hot sauce.

The Original Hot Chicken sandwich ($9.99) is the top seller, coming in a variety of spices — from none, to spicy (150,000 SHU) to its top level is “Houston, We Have a Problem.” It is rated at 2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Adventurous eaters are required to sign a waiver.

The “Houston”-level spice is a combination of Carolina Reaper and Scorpion powder.

For comparison, a jalapeno is 8,000 SHU.

“You need to be pretty brave,” said store general manager Andrew Tauscher. “It’s a little bit of pain, a little bit of suffering. And then at the end, you kind of get to say, I did it. It’s pretty intense, though.”

Dairy is recommended to combat extreme spiciness. Too bad HHC doesn’t offer a simple glass of milk. They do offer 21-ounce shakes ($4.99) in five flavors, including waffle. It tastes like maple syrup, with waffle bits included.

The waffle milkshake at Houston TX Hot Chicken. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Why do eaters love spicy foods?

“There’s something visceral by eating something really spicy. You know, it gets you sweating, it gets you kind of moving in your seat a little bit,” Tauscher said.

HHC also offers chicken tenders, paired with waffles ($13.99 for two tenders, a waffle, and fries).

“Chicken and waffles is our shtick for our chicken sandwiches here. So we cover them with syrup,” Tauscher said.

Although not on the menu, you can order the sandwich with a waffle instead of the brioche bun.

Houston TX Hot Chicken is now open at 8482 N. Friant Road in Fresno. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Houston By Way of Las Vegas

Fresno has seen several hot chicken restaurants open up lately — Fluckers Nashville Hot Chicken, Angry Chickz, and Al’s Hot Chicken to name a few.

Tauscher says HHC’s specialty equipment puts them over the top.

“We use a $40,000 pressure fryer to be able to create a nice, consistent, crispy outside that holds up and keeps all the juices in, creates a very, very flavorful chicken product,” he said.

The “Houston” name is more marketing than an indicator of the restaurant’s background. HHC is based in Las Vegas, and was founded in 2020 by Houston Crosta and Edmond Barseghian. There is one location in Houston, however.

And, despite the Houston name, HHC serves the Nashville spicy style.

“After we dunk it in our housemade honey butter, we dunk it in our housemade spiced oils and then we do our spice blends depending on what level and how brave you are that day,” Tauscher said.

Tauscher said HHC plans to expand up to five Fresno locations, although he did not provide details.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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