Hattie's Chicken Shack

Our Roots

Since its establishment in 1938, the words, “Hattie’s” and “Saratoga Springs” are often mentioned in the same breath. Serving fine Southern home cooking in a friendly, down-home atmosphere to legions of fans, Hattie’s™ is an institution in Saratoga and well beyond. Born to Harry and Lydia Gray, Hattie was raised in Saint Francisville, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge. Although her mother died during childbirth, with no actual record of her birth date, Hattie estimates she was born in 1900. As a young woman, Hattie left Saint Francisville for New Orleans where she went to school and lived for several years. From New Orleans, Hattie went to visit her sister in Chicago. It was there she met and worked for the A.E. Staley family “The Starch King”. With them, she traveled to Miami in the winters and Saratoga in the summers. Hattie went back and forth for many years, saved her money and opened Hattie’s™ Chicken Shack in 1938. In describing Saratoga in the late 30’s and 40’s, Hattie said “Saratoga was fast, man; it was real fast. It was up all night long.” Hattie’s™ was open 24 hours a day in those days of gambling, speakeasies, and smoky jazz clubs. Thriving in her Federal Street location for 30 years, she moved to 45 Phila Street in 1968 when urban renewal came to the Congress Street section of town. Because of its proximity to the Saratoga Racetrack, Phila Street has been an eating spot of choice for many generations of Saratogians and tourists. It wasn’t just serving good food and fun that has made Hattie so well loved. It was also what Hattie did in the community. In addition to donating to many local charities throughout the years, Hattie also helped many young people, giving them work when no one else would, helping them through school and even taking them into her own home and nurturing them like family. In addition to her famous generosity and inability to let anyone go hungry, Hattie was known for her sense of humor and her special quality of treating royalty and the downtrodden exactly alike. Everyone felt welcome. Hattie’s™ is legendary and continues to thrive and carry on in the tradition of great food, ambience and wonderful hospitality. Please pass on the legend of Hattie’s™ and come back to see us.

design by lis design | development by kernel creative media | photography by heather bohm-tallman