What started as a vision for Cecil Rhodes has quickly transformed into one of Sacramento's hottest food commodities.
Rhodes is the founder, co-owner and executive chef of Nash & Proper, a fried chicken restaurant, food truck and catering business based in the heart of the state's capital. Since opening its doors in 2018, Nash & Proper's take on Nashville-style hot chicken has led to vast success, expanding into a new location on K street in Midtown, Sacramento, along with three food trucks.
For Rhodes, Nash & Proper is all about connecting his culture, while also showing his children the value of his hard work.
"The way food is for Black folks, especially where I come from, it's a way of life. It warms you up," he said. "I can always remember my grandma making her fried chicken and her fried pork chops in the same cast-iron skillet that she still has to this day."
Rhodes, a lifelong Sacramento resident, had always envisioned creating a "chicken shack" or "trailer" when picturing his future.
"I wanted it to be modern at the same time," he said. "Chicken shack-chic."
Now, his vision is coming to life.
Rhodes and co-founder Jake Bombard began to tweak a Nashville-style hot chicken recipe one night in 2017 and eventually struck gold. Since then, Nash & Proper has been featured at Bottlerock, a popular Northern California music festival in Napa, and was voted Best Fried Chicken, Best Spicy Food and Best Food Truck in Sacramento by Sacramento Magazine in 2020.
Nash & Proper's most popular item is the "Sammich," a hot chicken sandwich that pays homage to its Nashville roots, but also adds a California twist. Its vast success led to Rhodes and Bombard launching their first brick and mortar restaurant last year, even in the midst of COVID-19.
"My personal thing is I want to show my son and my daughter that this is hard work, but it's mine," Rhodes said. "Black excellence to me is to show your kids how to work and be their excellent selves."
Nash & Proper is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, check out their website.