Georgetown newcomer Sisters and Brothers already has lines out the door. Everybody wants some of their Nashville hot chicken. So, what’s the big deal?

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The first time Jake Manny ate Nashville hot chicken, he cried the whole time. He’d just moved to that city with a one-way plane ticket, two duffel bags and a dream of actually opening his own bar instead of just talking about it.

Manny didn’t have a car and was sleeping on the floor in the basement of his bar-to-be. He walked to Bolton’s, a classic place for Nashville’s culinary civic treasure. He rang the bell, they slid the window open, and he ordered the spiciest version possible. The response: “Are you sure, son?”

He was sure.

Sisters and Brothers

Opens 11 a.m. daily, kitchen closes 9 p.m., 1128 S. Albro Place, Seattle (206-762-3767 or sistersandbrothersbar.com).

“They laughed at me,” Manny says. He freely acknowledges, in hindsight, that they were right to do so. “I cried the entire time I was eating … It was delicious, and I loved every second of it. And I went back the next day — I just didn’t get the extra hot.”

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So an obsession was born. He and a friend got The Crying Wolf up and running (the name’s in honor of the boy who cried wolf, which he started to feel like, planning his own spot during years tending bars owned by others in Seattle and Los Angeles). He ate Nashville hot chicken over and over, at Bolton’s, Prince’s and Hattie B’s (mostly at Bolton’s, where he’d buy one fountain drink to be polite and frugally augment with three extra beverages from the gas station next door). He met Olivia Hall, and they fell in love and got engaged.

After four years in Nashville, Manny dreamed of bringing Hall home to Seattle, where his mom and dad, his brother, and his niece and nephew all still lived on Bainbridge Island, with the latter growing up at an alarming rate. And, he says, “If I was going to come back here, I needed to bring that chicken with me.”

Owner Jake Manny (left) and Olivia Hall with chef Chris Barton at Sisters and Brothers. The place’s other chef is Chris Howell (they’re “a team of Chrises,” Manny says). (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)
Owner Jake Manny (left) and Olivia Hall with chef Chris Barton at Sisters and Brothers. The place’s other chef is Chris Howell (they’re “a team of Chrises,” Manny says). (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Manny, Hall and partner Drew Church opened Sisters and Brothers in Georgetown just a month ago. Word of the Nashville hot chicken spread; lines formed that wrapped around the building, snaking toward next-door neighbor Charles Smith’s new winery in the old Dr Pepper plant and the bikini barista stand in the parking lot.

“I was not expecting this whatsoever …” Manny says. “It was supposed to be a bar.”

But he’s not modest about his chicken achievement. He recognizes that his cast-iron doesn’t have the decades of seasoning of Prince’s. He allows that there are differences. But he hints that he believes his ingredients are superior: Draper Valley Farms chicken, for example. And, he asserts, “I don’t think that there’s anybody doing it better … Ours is right up there with the best of the hot chicken.”

Proper Nashville hot chicken isn’t angry orange-red, like a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto. Its color — its flavor — has depth, applied painstakingly, layer by layer. “Usually when people think hot chicken, they think a hot wing,” Manny notes. “This is a completely different animal.”

While it is still technically the same species, Nashville hot chicken is brined, spice-and-lard rubbed, battered, deep-fried in lard in cast-iron Dutch ovens, then brushed with more spices and more lard. A lot of lard is involved. Manny says his chicken, through the multipartite process, makes contact with “probably 25 herbs and spices. The heavy hit’s going to be the cayenne, of course. Each one plays a very specific role.

“You don’t just throw it in the fryer,” Manny says. He’d learned to make regular fried chicken, Ohio-style, from his mother, who’d learned from his grandmother. In Nashville, he hired people who’d worked “in the top chicken shacks” and mined their knowledge. “A lot of late-night talks about chicken” took place.

He’s quick to give credit for Sisters and Brothers’ success to his chefs here, although they’d never had Nashville hot chicken before; they’re “a team of Chrises,” Chris Barton and Chris Howell, both Tom Douglas alums. Other staff come from Sitka & Spruce, Spinasse, Agrodolce — fine-dining dropouts who seem uniformly gratified to find themselves in this little spot with its red walls and easygoing manner. Manny remodeled it himself; it feels like a clubhouse that happens to serve wildly popular chicken. “Free Bird” might happen to be playing.

Sisters and Brothers’ chicken comes in three speeds: mild, hot and “insane” (you can also get it “naked” — none of the spice treatment — but why would you do that?). It might be hyperbolic to say it glows, but once you’re eating it, in any of its incarnations, it certainly feels that way. The druglike effect of intense spicy heat is well-known, and this chicken pulls your consciousness out of your mind and puts it into your mouth, radiating your being outward with a new purity. You might tear up a little bit, your mouth abuzz and your heart filled with an inchoate feeling about how good it is to be alive.

Manny recommends a Tecate Light pairing. (There’s Seattle Soda for the kids; while it looks like a dive bar, Sisters and Brothers is all-ages.) He points out that all the sides — including a stellar iceberg wedge salad and an extremely creamy mac and cheese, both with house-cured bacon lardons — are carefully calibrated as part of the experience, cooling and soothing. Even the bread-and-butter pickles are made with intention. “They’re so fresh and so clean,” Manny says, “much like the Outkast song.”

Manny has only good things to say about Nashville — he still owns a bar there, so he’d better — but he’s clearly overjoyed to be back home. Sitting in a booth at Sisters and Brothers, he marvels at the wide-open view down Boeing Field to Mount Rainier. The mountain isn’t even out today, but the clouds that amass around it are, he insists, just as good.