From working as a cook at age 12 in New York to becoming a nationally known chef in Tennessee, Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish owner Shawn Davis said he has spent the last 40 years thinking outside the box with his cooking. ••When Davis and his wife and business partner, Robin, moved to Tennessee, starting a chicken restaurant seemed like a natural next step, but Davis’ unique take on hot chicken is what set Big Shake’s apart from other popular Nashville institutions.

“First of all, I’m a fried chicken fanatic—I’m addicted to fried chicken,” Davis said. “I didn’t want to compete, per se, or try to emulate or try to copy somebody else’s recipe; ours tastes a little different. So, I kind of created my own style of hot chicken.”

The couple opened the first location of Big Shake’s in downtown Franklin in 2013 before moving to their location on Murfreesboro Road in 2014.

Davis said the eatery’s jumbo tenders are the most popular menu item, and as with all the chicken dishes, diners can customize their heat levels. While heat levels range from the original, no-heat option to Death Row, Davis said he recommends first-time diners start with a lower heat level and work their way up.

“I try to tell people, you know, do it in moderation,” he said. “You don’t want to ruin your whole meal the first time out the gate just because you want to show off.”


Th eatery also offers fish and signature sides, such as macaroni and cheese, white beans, turnip greens and cole slaw.

Additionally, Big Shake’s Shrimp Burgers, which were created as a beef alternative for the Davis’ daughter, have also helped the restaurant gain popularity. In 2011, Davis appeared on the ABC television show “Shark Tank” and has since been featured on multiple other media outlets.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur; I’d always try to look for ideas and ways to get my ideas to come to fruition,” Davis said.

During the early weeks of the pandemic, Davis said the eatery was able to quickly pivot to online ordering to stay open, a concept many of Big Shake’s regulars were already familiar with. The restaurant also operates www.shopbigshakes.com, which allows customers to order food and products to be shipped nationwide.


However, Davis said he has been glad to see regulars return to dine at the restaurant after months of ordering in.

“It’s been awesome. We’ve seen customers we haven’t seen in over a year; it’s fantastic,” he said.

Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish

1203 Murfreesboro Road, Franklin


615-988-9335

www.bigshakeshotchicken.com

Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.