Lifelong Restaurateur Dials up the Heat in Horse Shoe

Hot Ones: Hustle Wing Co. brings chicken wings, tenders, and a bevy of sauces to Horse Shoe.

Most 10-year-old girls wish for nothing more than a miniature pony or an iPhone in a glittery pink case. But not Jared Dotson’s daughter, Juliana. 

Earlier this year, the elementary schooler expressed a very specific want: crispy chicken wings served with a side of herbaceous ranch. “‘Daddy, you need to hustle me up some wings,’” Dotson remembers Juliana telling him. 

A lifelong restaurateur with 28 years of experience at local joints like Luella’s Bar-B-Que, 12 Bones Smokehouse, and Juju’s Craft Cookery at Mills River Brewing, Dotson made it his mission to do just that, opening Hustle Wing Co. in The Plaza at Horse Shoe in early fall. 

“The community has been super supportive so far,” says Dotson, who selected the spot for its proximity to his Hendersonville home and the in-progress Ecusta Trail. “The concept has been really well-received.” 

That’s partially because Horse Shoe is somewhat of a food desert, but also because of Dotson’s dedication to quality. Leaning into his BBQ background, Dotson smokes his chicken wings low and slow. Afterward, they go for a swim in the deep fryer and are tossed in one of 24 house-made sauces. 

According to Dotson, the sauces range from mild-mannered marinades like the Nacho Mama (a roasted garlic cheese sauce) to downright spicy dressings like the Poppin’ Cherry, which is made with dark cherries, sriracha, and local honey. 

“I’m big on sauces,” says Dotson, who bottles and sells select sauces from the restaurant. “I love being creative and taking things to the next level.” 

Case in point: The Got Ghost’d Pepper dry rub. Screamingly hot, the seasoning clocks in at about 1 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU). For comparison, the average jalapeño sits at 8,000 SHU. 

“People think they can take the heat, but most can’t,” says Dotson, who has developed a special spicy challenge for the brave: If a customer can eat five Got Ghost’d Pepper wings in five minutes without sipping their drink, their meal is free. They also win $25, a T-shirt, a hat, and eternal bragging rights. 

So far, 12 people have attempted the feat, and only two have succeeded. And no, Dotson isn’t among those victorious. “I can only eat three wings,” he admits sheepishly. 

Of course, Hustle is about way more than piquantly spiced chicken wings. Dotson also serves shareable appetizers (think fried pickles, loaded fries, and crunchy okra), salads, and a long list of non-wing entrees like pulled chicken sandwiches, crispy chicken tenders, and braised tempeh.

Still, Juliana is a purist. Sure, she could order a plate of chicken and waffles drenched in Poppin’ Cherry sauce or a bowl of Big Papa Mac ‘n Cheese studded with pulled chicken, bacon, and jalapeños. But instead, she sticks with the basics. 

“She loves plain wings with a side of ranch,” says Dotson. “That’s her go-to.”

Hustle Wing Co. (3754 Brevard Rd., Suite 117, Horse Shoe) is open Wednesdays through Saturdays 11am-8pm and Sundays 12-7pm. For more information, call 828-435-3055 or see

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