Tupelo Honey Cafe Asheville, North Carolina
After an afternoon of craft beer hoping, our reservation time was approaching so we wrapped up our tasting and headed back into town. We had not eaten since breakfast this morning- that Biscuit Heads meal really kept us full just about an entire 12 hour period. Dinner at Tupelo Honey would continue our southern food journey with the one and only, fried chicken.
The restaurant was packed with people so we were happy to have a reservation – I do not even want to know what the wait times can reach here. This spot repeatedly comes up when searching for places to eat in Asheville so it is definitely a popular dining destination.
The menu was divided up into sections, including breakfast all day. We knew we all wanted fried chicken and a few appetizers so we went in with the intention of splitting a bunch of items instead of each ordering a separate dish. In looking around us, the portions were enormous so I knew we would not starve if we shared.
Since they were out of brussel sprouts the night before at Curate, we were very excited to see them on this menu. We decided on two appetizers to start with:
- Famous Fried Green Tomatoes : panko-crusted fried green tomatoes, basil, roasted red pepper sauce, served over stone-ground goat cheese grits
- Crispy Brussels : topped with fresh herbs, lemon zest & chopped bacon, served with garlic buttermilk ranch dipping sauce
Both of these were excellent. The fried green tomatoes were thick cuts with great hearty breading. They were served on top of goat cheese grits and a spicy tomato sauce – the grits were so tasty and creamy, the goat cheese is a great addition. And then we had the mound of brussel sprouts that were completely addictive. But the thing that blew everyone’s mind was the garlic buttermilk ranch dipping sauce. We could not get enough of it, asking for several more servings for the brussel sprouts and the future chicken. The sprouts were so crispy and bursting with flavor. I think we could eat these every day.
The bread service is worth a mention. A basket of freshly baked biscuits accompanied by blueberry jam – this was so delightful!
Our entree select was a bit of a negotiation. We all wanted fried chicken but one plate of fried chicken was not going to be enough for all four of us (one order had a breast, thigh, wing, and drumstick). So that put us up to two orders of the chicken, which also afforded us to get a total of four sides to try. It was unclear if we still needed an additional plate of food past this or if that would do us in. After some conversation, we ended up with three plates of food:
- Honey Dusted Fried Chicken our famous 24-hour brined & fried half-bird, sprinkled with our signature ‘bee dust’, served with choice of two farm fresh sides (two orders)
- Sides for the chicken: Baked Mac-n-Cheese (two of the four sides), Collards with Bacon, and Stone-Ground Goat Cheese Grits
- Roasted Carolina Mountain Trout sustainable trout, grilled lemon, served with choice of two farm fresh sides
The hype for the fried chicken was definitely worthy. The chicken was super moist and not dried out at all. The batter was perfectly cripsy with every bite- not just the ends. And finally, the honey dusting on top – what a brilliant additional subtly balancing with the saltiness of the batter. I know I was a happy camper working my way through the thighs – my favorite part. This was definitely up there in the fried chicken realm. The trout dish was spicy so I did not try it but the rest of the table seemed to enjoy it. The seasoning on the outside was slightly blacken giving it a depth of flavor.
I was most excited for all the dessert offerings:
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with chocolate ganache and salted pretzel crumbles
- Heavenly Banana Pudding
- Brown Butter Pecan Pie with dark chocolate sauce
I went in with the intention we would order all of them and then split it. But we were done in, incredibly full from all the food. The thought of dessert made everyone cringe and sadly we had to depart without dessert. I honestly do not even know which one I would have got if I could only chose one (probably the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie but I love Banana Pudding!). I am sure you cannot go wrong with any of these dessert choices.
We loved our meal here immensely. It was very affordable, especially for the portion sizes. We even got 10% off for reviewing on Yelp so that is a nice tip. The large portions made this a great place to share dishes – I can’t imagine us all getting a separate entrees! A definite must hit spot while bouncing around Asheville enjoying all that craft beer!