the spot: Tumble 22 7211 Burnett road Austin TX 78757
the eats: The OG Classic Hot Chicken Sandwich
the bucks: $8.50
the full nelson: a perfect fried chicken experience captured in a bun
Austin really isn’t a fried chicken joint town and that’s OK because these days it’s all about Hot Chicken, or should I say Nashville Hot Chicken. Now I’m sure of you saw Cheap Eats Nashville and know that I did indeed try some real deal Nashville Hot Chicken at Pepperfire, our spot for dinner. While Austin can’t compete with Nashville’s sheer number of fiery Hot Chicken joints, Tumble 22 serves up some hot chicken on a bun that makes me think twice about taking a trip back to Nashvegas. And they do it for a little over $8.
Tumble 22 is a homegrown Austin Hot Chicken joint with local roots in reputable places. The full team here is behind some of the more successful places in town like Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Z’Tejas and Eddie Vs. But what got my mouth watering was learning that Chef Harold Marmulstein, who worked the stoves at Salty Sow, was also part of the project. While I have yet to dine at Salty Sow, picture a gastropub with chicken liver mousse, collard greens with ham hocks and a blackened red fish with quinoa, lentils, smoked tomatoes and a chipotle Tabasco lemon butter. That kind of menu at once boasts fine dining and food for the soul. And that kind of menu also comes with prices better suited for date night versus a casual lunch. Well, Cheap Eaters, the OG Classic from Tumble 22 covers the latter and after one visit . . . I can’t wait for my second.
A hefty brioche bun comes loaded with a well seasoned crunchy fried chicken breast, pickles, slaw and Duke’s Mayo. Being Hot Chicken you have to be wondering how hot I went. Well, being a more seasoned foodie, I declined the “Clucking Hot” and went for the “Dang Hot”, which is the second hottest. There is also a “Hot” and “Wimpy” level as well. As far as the heat experience went, I felt a legit tingle in my scalp but I was not guzzling water either. Heat wise I was extremely satisfied but still mused on the idea of going all the way with the Clucking Hot. But why mess with perfection? And yes this was truly fried chicken perfection on a bun. Tumble 22 is hardly the first restaurant to introduce a chicken on a bun that garners a cult like following but I have tried Fly Rite and Chik-fil-A and never saw what the fuss was about. But Tumble 22 . . . that is a chicken on a bun worth making a fuss about.
I’ve not lived in true Fried Chicken Mecca’s like in the deep South but I know what I like about good fried chicken: seasoning and heat. Tumble 22 delivers both. For just under $9 you will get a sandwich that needs no side and really satisfies the hot chicken/fried chicken itch. And you might break a sweat or two. Tumble 22 is the real deal when you are craving fried chicken, hot or otherwise. These guys just ain’t clucking around.