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Wooboi Hot Chicken - Nashville Hot, Free-Range Chicken Fried in Peanut Oil - Herndon


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I'm told this is located where The Weiner's Circle used to be in Herndon. 

Heard about this "Hot Chicken" place through friends. Stopped by before work and got 3 Hot Chicken Sandwiches for my coworkers and myself. We all agreed it was the best chicken sandwich we had ever had.

The chicken is at 5 levels. If you order it at a 4 or 5 you have to sign a release. Don't know if that's real or theatre, but I can tell you that a level 2 heat was pretty damn hot. One of my coworkers was sweating. 

The sandwiches are chicken breast, toasted buns, vinegar based slaw and unbelievably tasty pickles. 

If I read correctly, they have Hot Chicken pieces with an emphasis on wings. They also have fried Okra that I'm going to try next time. 

Open weekdays 11am to 7pm. 

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4 hours ago, buzzy said:

I'm told this is located where The Weiner's Circle used to be in Herndon. 

Heard about this "Hot Chicken" place through friends. Stopped by before work and got 3 Hot Chicken Sandwiches for my coworkers and myself. We all agreed it was the best chicken sandwich we had ever had.

The chicken is at 5 levels. If you order it at a 4 or 5 you have to sign a release. Don't know if that's real or theatre, but I can tell you that a level 2 heat was pretty damn hot. One of my coworkers was sweating. 

The sandwiches are chicken breast, toasted buns, vinegar based slaw and unbelievably tasty pickles. 

If I read correctly, they have Hot Chicken pieces with an emphasis on wings. They also have fried Okra that I'm going to try next time. 

Open weekdays 11am to 7pm. 

So this is Nashville Hot Chicken? Got to try it. On my one and only visit to Nashville, I drove straight from the airport to Prince's Hot Chicken (the inventor). Got there right at opening time, noon on Saturday. A huge crowd formed but the place never opened. No reason given. Closed on Sundays and we left early Monday so I never got to try it. But supposedly you should not order anything above medium hot.

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10 hours ago, buzzy said:

Stopped by before work and got 3 Hot Chicken Sandwiches for my coworkers and myself. We all agreed it was the best chicken sandwich we had ever had.

The pictures I see on Facebook (not Instagram) look mayonnaise-laden - but they're advertising fresh (not frozen), antibiotic-free, and free range, so they're at least thinking about quality.

Nashville Hot Chicken is for men whose girlfriends hate them.

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1 hour ago, Bob Wells said:

I think it's a great name. It looks Korean (like the proprietor) and could be the sound you make after your first bite.

The chef's name is Minwoo (Min Woo?), and it's clearly supposed to be a pun on the sound you make after your first bite.

ktmoomau, I suspect they just might add a banana pudding after reading your post - it's a great idea that will tame the fire.

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3 hours ago, Tweaked said:

New Yorker:  The Family Business That Put Nashville Hot Chicken on the Map

A good read about Prince's in Nashville.

I'll say it's a good read. Sample: "Activities that may not pair well with Nashville hot chicken include a road trip, a long flight, a first date, work, sleep, and your wedding. First-timers have been advised to prepare for hot chicken by putting a roll of toilet paper in the freezer at home."

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Stopped by last night and they were doing a fairly brisk level of business. Place had the normal decor which has become the standard post chipotle style of fast food restaurant style. 

A few things were already off the menu most likely to stream line the production. Generally people were there to test their ability to deal with the Nashville levels of hot chicken.

As some local high school students were dealing with getting the highest level “5” and sweating, I selected the Sando sandwich at level “3”  

“3” was tasty with a little kick but not unmanageable. My wife ate some of mine and she said that it wasn’t hot-hot  

May try the “4” at some point in the future.

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On 2/14/2019 at 5:24 PM, Bob Wells said:

I'll say it's a good read. Sample: "Activities that may not pair well with Nashville hot chicken include a road trip, a long flight, a first date, work, sleep, and your wedding. First-timers have been advised to prepare for hot chicken by putting a roll of toilet paper in the freezer at home."

I ordered Prince's "Hot" level the first time I was in Nashville.  Personally thought it tasted amazing the level of euphoria I experienced from the heat was beyond anything I'd ever felt before... less enjoyable was the rest of the day, I went to a nice restaurant for dinner but didn't really get to enjoy it and was instead busy googling "foods that help with acid reflux".  It's worth it to me provided you are able to clear out a whole day.

Certainly interested in trying this place out (and ordering something around whatever medium is).

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3 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Uh, oh - did you get hosed?

It was my fault for not checking the hours of operation, but it wasn't a wasted trip because I was on my way to the Galleria. A nice noodle dish at Sen Khao save the day. 🙂

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16 hours ago, reedm said:

It was my fault for not checking the hours of operation, but it wasn't a wasted trip because I was on my way to the Galleria. A nice noodle dish at Sen Khao save the day. 🙂

They are definitely working out the kinks in the operation. Sorry should have mentioned that in addition to several items on the menu already being taken off permanently. 

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A wall of fame or shame...another article on the Nashville Hot chicken in Herndon.

Hot Opening: Wooboi Chicken in Herndon by STEFANIE GANS, NoVa Magazine

“We don’t mess around here,” is what the man behind counter said to the customer who just ordered the hottest of the hot: level Cold Blue for a chicken sandwich. It’s described as super extra hot and also includes an extra warning: waiver required.

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3 hours ago, Ferris Bueller said:

A wall of fame or shame...another article on the Nashville Hot chicken in Herndon.

Hot Opening: Wooboi Chicken in Herndon by STEFANIE GANS, NoVa Magazine

“We don’t mess around here,” is what the man behind counter said to the customer who just ordered the hottest of the hot: level Cold Blue for a chicken sandwich. It’s described as super extra hot and also includes an extra warning: waiver required.

I laughed out loud when I read this:

"I didn’t feel like expiring in a Herndon strip mall, so I went with a level two chicken sandwich and a level three chicken wing."

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Stopped by last Friday to see what the excitement was all about. It was 1:30, and the place was still busy.

Ordered a Sando Level 3 (hot), and it was great. The chicken was perfectly cooked, juicy, and the crispy exterior was just the right thickness. The slaw was a nice match, and the pickles provided a nice contrast to the spiciness of the chicken. I couldn't make out the spices, but the sandwich was very aromatic as well.

For my tastes, level 3 was perfect--just enough heat to make my scalp sweat a little, but not too much to make it too painful to eat. I can see how hotter levels may induce significant discomfort. (Wash hands afterwards, at a minimum!)

I hope they plan to extend their opening hours to weekends so I can visit more often.

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Had some business in the Reston/Herndon area and decided to set aside some time to try this place.

Wooboi, did they underestimate demand.  Even at ~11:15am, fifteen minutes after they opened, the line was already quite long (but not out the door).  The good news is, despite having just one register, the line moves pretty quickly.  The *bad* news is, seating inside the place is quite limited, and invariably with lunch crowds, you're going to get large(r) parties corralling tables together and making the problem worse.  If you feel like chancing it, the to-go boxes are nice enough that eating in your car would be doable.

As for the chicken - I liked it.  It's pretty clear they brine their breasts/tenders, since the chicken has the internal look of a CFA breast - no stringiness here.  I had a Level 2 sandwich and a Level 3 tender (to taste), and I'm glad I went that way, even though I'm sure I could've handled a Level 3 sandwich just fine.

The strip mall/general vicinity this place is in is an unholy grouping of a lot of diet-killing eateries.  There's a Gelato shop/cafe within spitting distance, a vegetarian Indian restaurant right next door, an Amphora Bakery next to that...

...too bad they only keep M-F hours, but they're going to do plenty of business from the businesses within walking distance.  They'll have another location open in no time, most likely.

Oh, and one other thing to keep in mind.  On the glass in front of the prep area, they mention that their chicken is prepared with pork products (they don't elaborate as to how), so it's decidedly *not* Halal or Kosher.

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Wooboi Chicken’s Chef Talks Secret Menu, Spiciest Nashville Hot Chicken Waiver by Catherine Douglas Moran, RestoNow

One month after Wooboi Chicken’s opening, Chef Minwoo says that the Herndon eatery still has lines out of the door in the mornings and even one diner who came down from New Jersey for a taste of the Nashville Hot Chicken.

Other secret menu items to ask for include The Kracken, which is a double chicken sandwich inspired by Paul from Weird Brothers Coffee, and the Choi Fries, which are fries with D.C. mumbo sauce, chicken, cheddar cheese and mustard.

The secret menu isn’t the only surprise. The recipes change a little bit every day, Minwoo adds.

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Went back for round 2 and they told us that the spice levels had been jacked up. Level 3 which I had before was roughly double what it was previously. 

It was still edible but not tasty as before. Definitely drank milk afterwards and could feel it it the digestion system. 

Heads up people if you are trying it! 

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Went yesterday for early lunch, second visit. first was back in February. Ate in and line was mostly to the door for most of the time, however staffing was better and service was fast. prob waited only 5 minutes for our order. first visit i had a level 3 sando, this time i tried the code red. flavor still great despite the burn being beyond my comfort level. got classic-level tenders for my 2yr old, which were crunchy tasty.

i'm pretty sure for my first visit in february everything was made to order. this time noticed they were using the warming oven, however didn't notice any drop in quality. 

sign on menu says chicken & waffles are monday and tuesday only now

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On 4/20/2019 at 12:16 AM, funkyfood said:

Why is this place not open on weekends? 

I believe a lot of their business is from the lunchtime work crowd, which is typical for that area.  It may not make sense for them to be open on weekends, though feedback from people who'd visit could change their minds.

 

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OK so I finally did try Wooboi in late June but never reported back. Not one to shirk from a challenge, I ordered a Code Blue sandwich. (The waiver wall was completely filled up so I didn't sign).

OMFG this was an experience. The heat level was as advertised. As I posted on instagram, I think my eyes were bleeding. Thank god for the delicious potatoes I had to eat between bites. Independent of the heat, the chicken was excellent -- a big fat juicy breast.

Will go back for sure, when my schedule allows, but will be dropping the heat several levels. That was a one-and-done for me.

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45 minutes ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

I can't believe I've lived my entire life without trying "Spam Fries"....

The first time in my many years that I ever tried Spam anything was Spam Musubi at a now-closed but very good Hawaiian place in Arbutus, Maryland, called Taste of Aloha.

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Last time I visited Wooboi, about 2 months ago the sandwich was good. I went yesterday at 3pm and it was otherworldly. I've never had a chicken breast as crispy & spicy on the outside and moist on the inside (sorry for those of you who hate the word "moist"). The pickles were sweet, the slaw acidic, the sauce creamy. The fried okra was amazing, as was the portion...seemed more like Five Guys Fries, overflowing onto the aluminum tray.  On social media they were teasing a 2nd location, but haven't heard anything else about that. Anyone?

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4 hours ago, buzzy said:

Last time I visited Wooboi, about 2 months ago the sandwich was good. I went yesterday at 3pm and it was otherworldly. I've never had a chicken breast as crispy & spicy on the outside and moist on the inside (sorry for those of you who hate the word "moist"). The pickles were sweet, the slaw acidic, the sauce creamy. The fried okra was amazing, as was the portion...seemed more like Five Guys Fries, overflowing onto the aluminum tray.  On social media they were teasing a 2nd location, but haven't heard anything else about that. Anyone?

Right now I would settle for weekend hours!

Think I will check out that fried okra on my next visit.

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On 3/27/2020 at 4:22 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Thought it might give each other ideas based on where and what you're ordering for take-out or delivery.  

I happened to be near Wooboi earlier today, so I picked up a "level 2 sando" for lunch. I placed an order online, and it was ready within 10 minutes. The place was always packed during my previous visits, so it was nice to get a sandwich with only a nominal wait.

IMG_9844.thumb.jpeg.a0b2f0b88c6f961ee77c2dc7e945118c.jpeg

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There is now a Wooboi in Alexandria, located behind Oak Steakhouse on Montgomery Street. They take online orders for pick-up so there's a minimal wait. I've tried the level 1 and level 2 sando's so far. I don't mind spicy food, but I think the level 1 is a better sandwich. I believe the level 1 is flavored with jalapeno rather than cayenne, and the level 2 is just a bit grittier. But both are delicious, and incredibly moist due to the use of chicken thighs. There is something sweet in their sauce too which makes it highly addictive.

My kids ordered the chicken fingers which are huge. They included 4 per order, and I'd say each 'finger' is about the size of a whole breast. 

Very happy to have this in Alexandria. 

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Thanks for the info Jim!

And thanks to everyone else in this discussion.  The menu on their website is quite sparse and there's no mention of different levels of heat or a Code Blue waiver or a anything that would suggest there's anything weird/special going on here.

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1 hour ago, Bart said:

Thanks for the info Jim!

And thanks to everyone else in this discussion.  The menu on their website is quite sparse and there's no mention of different levels of heat or a Code Blue waiver or a anything that would suggest there's anything weird/special going on here.

You're right. Their website could use a better explainer. FWIW, I found Tim Carman's review of their Herndon location to be a very helpful backgrounder before I ordered there the first time.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/restaurants/wooboi-thats-a-hot-and-tasty-chicken-sandwich/2020/03/09/56f1f278-6177-11ea-b3fc-7841686c5c57_story.html

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Thanks for the article Jim!  I wonder if things have changed heat-wise since it was written or if the Alexandria location is still getting some things worked out?  I say that based on Tim's comments and the sandwich I ate.  Here's what Tim Carman said in the article above:

To me, the level-two Sando is everything you could possibly want from a hot chicken sandwich, save perhaps for the insane amount of Scoville units necessary to prove your alpha-male indifference to pain — and your complete disregard for flavor. 

I ordered the Level III Sando sandwich and while it was hot, it wasn't that hot.  My eyes didn't water, I didn't break out in a sweat, and didn't need any liquid at all for relief.  Based on my one sandwich, I would never go below Level III. It was a good sandwich, but if I didn't know that the heat was the thing here, I would have had no idea it was anything other than a spicy chicken sandwich.

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1 hour ago, Bart said:

Thanks for the article Jim!  I wonder if things have changed heat-wise since it was written or if the Alexandria location is still getting some things worked out?  I say that based on Tim's comments and the sandwich I ate.  Here's what Tim Carman said in the article above:

To me, the level-two Sando is everything you could possibly want from a hot chicken sandwich, save perhaps for the insane amount of Scoville units necessary to prove your alpha-male indifference to pain — and your complete disregard for flavor. 

I ordered the Level III Sando sandwich and while it was hot, it wasn't that hot.  My eyes didn't water, I didn't break out in a sweat, and didn't need any liquid at all for relief.  Based on my one sandwich, I would never go below Level III. It was a good sandwich, but if I didn't know that the heat was the thing here, I would have had no idea it was anything other than a spicy chicken sandwich.

The one interesting thing with their levels is the seasoning is actually completely different each one, rather than the same base with more chili added.  I think this actually makes the level II worth trying for what it's worth even though I'd normally tend to go hotter.

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33 minutes ago, FranklinDubya said:

The one interesting thing with their levels is the seasoning is actually completely different each one, rather than the same base with more chili added.  I think this actually makes the level II worth trying for what it's worth even though I'd normally tend to go hotter.

I wonder if they have a secret, off-menu, ordering protocol - like you can order "level 2 heat" combined with "level 4 spices."

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10 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

I wonder if they have a secret, off-menu, ordering protocol - like you can order "level 2 heat" combined with "level 4 spices."

I don't think that would be possible -- the spice mixes are each in a big shaker or something like that, so level 2 is level 2, code red is code red, etc. Now maybe you could order a sando with half level two, half code red. That might be worth a try if they'd let you.

On my last visit I dropped down considerably from Code Blue to Level 2 and still found Level 2 to be quite hot. Same delicious, massive, juicy breast. 

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On 11/24/2020 at 8:50 AM, JimCo said:

You're right. Their website could use a better explainer. FWIW, I found Tim Carman's review of their Herndon location to be a very helpful backgrounder before I ordered there the first time.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/restaurants/wooboi-thats-a-hot-and-tasty-chicken-sandwich/2020/03/09/56f1f278-6177-11ea-b3fc-7841686c5c57_story.html

Great article--I could never quite figure out the flavor profiles. 

In my youth, I may have wanted to try the hottest offerings, but those days are gone. I learned that level 3 is too much for me now. I wish I had learned that before I ordered the Level 3 chicken and waffles! lol

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22 hours ago, FranklinDubya said:

The one interesting thing with their levels is the seasoning is actually completely different each one, rather than the same base with more chili added.  I think this actually makes the level II worth trying for what it's worth even though I'd normally tend to go hotter.

Exactly. So while I generally prefer spicier things, I actually liked the jalapeno flavoring of the Level 1 more than the spicier cayenne flavoring of Level 2. (And I'm now wondering if I'm going to have to try the unique seasoning of Level 3.)

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