Aaron Turner brings Nashville hot fried chicken to Melbourne

Nashville-style hot fried chicken and chips.
Nashville-style hot fried chicken and chips. Photo: Veda Gilbert

He's spent time in the Noma kitchen, and closed his award-winning regional restaurant Loam, but for his next move, Aaron Turner is coming right back down to earth with Belle's Hot Chicken, due to open on Gertrude Street next month.

Having lived in Nashville, Tennessee, for the past year, Turner and his business partner, Kiwi-born Morgan McGlone, decided to bring Nashville-style hot chicken to Australia – not because they wanted to ride the Americana food trend, but because, well, it's fun.

"You eat at a hot chicken shack in Nashville and you'll see everyone trying the hot and they're laughing and
crying because it's so hot," Turner says. "Yes, it's fried chicken, but it's the best fried chicken you'll ever have."

Aaron Turner in Nashville this week.
Aaron Turner in Nashville this week. Photo: Veda Gilbert

Belle's Hot Chicken (currently Belle's Diner) will serve chicken with different spice levels, ranging from mild Southern fried through to incendiary. Sides will include Nashville staples such as vinegar-based slaw and
crinkle-cut chips, with house-fermented pickles, and home-made hot sauces in production. On Sundays, they'll serve hot chicken and waffles for brunch.

To complement the food, Turner and McGlone – who has been in Nashville helping open Sean Brock's second Husk restaurant – will pour local "smashable" beers and a selection of natural Australian, American and European wines.

"We're looking to do fast food properly and in a really nice environment," Turner says. "You can take it away or you can sit and enjoy it with a quality bottle of wine."

Belle's Diner will close in mid-July. Belle's Hot Chicken will open in August at 150 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy and will trade Monday and Wednesday to Saturday 11am-11pm, and Sunday 11am-5pm.