By Paul Squire |

You’ll need a waiver to eat this fried chicken.

Hot Chicken Mama, a new takeout spot coming to Blue Point next month, will serve up fried chicken dunked in face-melting spices — including one option featuring the Carolina Reaper, the hottest pepper in the world.

But even those who can’t take the heat are sure to find something to their liking on the menu, including non-spicy chicken and even kids’ meals, said co-owner Nick Petro.

“We wanted to be cool, but we want it to be accessible for families,” said Petro, the general manager at South Shore Dive in West Sayville.

Hot Chicken Mama — which will feature a drive-thru option —was dreamed up during quarantine by Petro and fellow owners Bobby Gulinello (he also owns The Cortland in Bay Shore) and Joe Esposito after indoor dining restaurant shutdowns pushed them to think about new ways to grow.

“We probably wouldn’t be here with this point in the game if we hadn’t been forced into it,” said Petro, noting that the ownership team is planning to open Jan. 15.

Petro explained that he had been kicking around the idea of a Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant for years. The fried chicken dish — dunked in hot spiced chili oil, coated with spices and traditionally served as a drumstick and thigh with bread and pickles — became a favorite after a trip to Nashville two years ago.

“It’s just such a distinct different spicy chicken,” he said. “Nowhere outside of Nashville was doing it justice.”

Over the summer during a lull in the quarantine restrictions, the owners of Hot Chicken Mama and executive chef Steve Esposito of Swallow East in Montauk took a trip to Nashville to sample the famed fried dishes.

“It was just kind of like a pipe dream,” Petro said. “On a whim, we started looking for open places and there was this place down in Blue Point. It just kind of all happened.”

Hot Chicken Mama is located at 168 Montauk Highway, taking over the spot Beyond Philly left behind when it closed in October.

The new joint will feature six levels of spiciness to test your tastebuds: homestyle (a non-spicy version), easy (a mild spice), medium, hot, loud and finally, extra loud, that waiver-inducing combination of habanero, ghost pepper and Carolina Reaper for the adventurous to try.

Hot Chicken Mama may be a love letter to traditional Nashville-style hot chicken, but the fast-casual restaurant will also serve up a fried chicken sandwich, tenders and nuggets — and a kids’ meal featuring a custom toy.

All of the chicken will be cage-free, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free, Petro said.

“We do want people to feel good about what they’re eating,” he said.

Inside, the restaurant is drawing on local inspiration to spice up its old-school charm. The space was completely overhauled and features works of art from local creators. Signs in the restaurant are displayed on vinyl records and custom chicken art adorns the eatery. 

There’s also a really cool counter top that stretches from the front all the way to the back of the eatery. It’s polished finish and rock-face, jagged edge looks like something Queen Daenerys Targaryen sat at in her “Game of Thrones” castle. It’s a major eye-catcher.

Petro said the team is looking forward to branching out beyond the usual bar crowd with Hot Chicken Mama. But for Petro, who grew up in Babylon and moved to Blue Point three years ago, this new takeout joint is even more special. It’s a chance to connect with a thriving restaurant scene in Patchogue that’s close to home.

“It’s kind of near and dear to me,” he said. “We’re literally right on the border of Patchogue… It’s one of the new cool towns on Long Island. We’re really excited to get to know that area.”

Scroll down for photos (courtesy.)

Hot on the inside

Cool on the outside

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