If you’ve spent any time down at the racetrack, you’ll know that there’s a longstanding favorite amongst the locals: Hattie’s Chicken Shack. Though the tiny shack has grown since the days that it first opened in 1938, it is without doubt that Hattie’s Chicken Shack holds a strong piece of Saratoga Springs history.
Hattie’s Chicken Shack was opened just before WWII by Hattie Gray-- a Louisiana native with a big heart and a love for Southern cooking. The Hattie’s Chicken Shack website quotes Hattie saying “Saratoga was fast, man; it was real fast. It was up all night long,” when asked about life in Saratoga during the 30s and 40s. You see, during this time, gambling, speakeasies, and jazz clubs all thrived around the racetrack—making Hattie’s a one-stop shop for the most delicious chicken in town.
Hattie stayed in her primary location alongside the Saratoga Springs Racetrack (aptly named Hattie’s Track Shack) for 38 years before moving to the well-known Phila Street location in 1968.
Since then, Hattie’s legacy has lived on, offering residents and visitors of Saratoga Springs a historic, all-American eating experience. Hattie was a very sweet woman, known for donating to charities with all of her earnings and helping the local economy by giving those without jobs the ability to work in her kitchen. She was also know for her great hospitality, and doing her best to not let anyone in the neighborhood go hungry.
The restaurant operates today under the gastronomic expertise of Chef Jasper Alexander. (You may recognize this name from when Jasper competed-- and won-- in a Food Channel Throwdown against Bobby Flay!) At Hattie's, you will be able to find Hattie’s same famous Fried Chicken and Fried Chicken Sandwich, along with some newer menu items. You can still catch them at their historic Phila Street or Racetrack locations-- or even their newest satellite location at 3057 Route 50 in Saratoga Springs’ Wilton Plaza.
Next time you are at the track, don’t forget to stop by Hattie’s Chicken Shack to get a little taste of homegrown Americana. Let us know how you liked it below!
Image via HattiesChickenShacks.com