If you’re looking for fried chicken that’s finger-licking good, there’s no better place than a local restaurant that knows its stuff. Many mountain restaurants keep their recipes close to the vest— and their breasts and thighs even closer!—releasing the savory comfort dish only as a weekly special or for weekend brunch. But when a fried chicken craving hits, there’s no time to cross check your calendar with weekly restaurant specials—you need your fix right away!
We’re sure this list of restaurant suggestions may ruffle some feathers. We’ve left off restaurants that don’t offer fried chicken as part of their daily menu. We’re also choosing to ignore spots that only offer boneless chicken in the form of sandwiches, fingers, or salad toppings. We’re trying to cut down to the bone, readers, and present you with the real meat of the matter—classic Southern fried chicken.
This is our list of the best fried chicken in Asheville. But we’d love to hear which restaurants get your mouth watering in the comments below.
Photo King Daddy’s Chicken and Waffle
Circle B Ranch BBQ
You know a barbeque restaurant is the real deal when it’s 2018 and they don’t have a website or Facebook page. Located across the street from the Asheville Regional Airport, they’re sure to get their fair share of famished travelers, but it’s the locals who really flock to their door. Circle B makes their fried chicken to order, which means two important things: 1. You have to plan ahead for the 30-minute wait time. And 2. That chicken is worth the wait!
655 New Airport Road, Fletcher | (828) 687-2323
See the reviews on Yelp: yelp.com/biz/circle-b-ranch-bbq-fletcher
Early Girl Eatery
Early Girl bills themselves as a farm-to-table Southern comfort food experience, and they do not disappoint! Since 2001, they’ve been delighting downtown restaurant goers with breakfast all day, “meat and two” lunch and dinner options, and scratch-made daily desserts. Their pan-fried free range chicken is available as an entree with two sides and a biscuit, or you can cheat and order it atop the fried chicken and bacon salad.
8 Wall Street, Asheville | (828) 259-9292
Located off busy Merrimon Avenue in north Asheville, HomeGrown is committed to living up to their name. The restaurant uses fresh, local ingredients every day, sourcing many from farms within a tight radius. In addition to denoting the freshness of their fare, what that means is that you need to get there early to enjoy their buttermilk fried (or grilled) chicken with mushroom gravy! Warning: You’ll want to come back again tomorrow.
371 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville | (828) 232-4340
King Daddy’s Chicken and Waffle
Take a guess at what King Daddy’s specialty dish is? They offer many different chicken and waffle options to tailor your plate, including a gluten-less chicken made with a gluten-less dredge and fried in a separate frier. If you’re looking for a true Southern recipe, their heirloom chicken is cooked in a cast iron skillet for half an hour until it’s the perfect golden brown. Pair with a pork cracklin waffle for a true mountain treat.
444 Haywood Road, Asheville | (828) 785-1690
The Moose Cafe is a long-time Asheville staple for traditional Southern eatin’. Try their Southern fried chicken with two farm-fresh famous fixin’s or as half of the Blue Ridge Sampler. Or dive straight into their buttermilk fried chicken, the house favorite. This juicy chicken breast is soaked in buttermilk, tossed in a Southern-style breading, and fried to perfection. Enjoy it in a sampler with the country fried steak or on its own with white peppered gravy.
570 Brevard Road, Asheville | (828) 255-0920
Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack
They’re masters of the “Tennessee-style” hot chicken, but Rocky’s has quickly become one of North Carolina’s top restaurants. Their dry-rub style is different from the typical battered chicken, but you certainly won’t complain one you savor its juicy taste. Make it as spicy as you want—their scale goes from mild to XX hot. Ink-heavy patrons can visit the Patton Avenue location on Tattoosday for 10% off their meal.
1455 Patton Avenue, Asheville | (828) 575-2260
3749 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville | (828) 676-3222
Once a local staple among downtown Asheville eateries, Tupelo Honey has exploded in recent years to 15 locations around the nation. Their scratch-made Southern food fills bellies at breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner throughout the week. Many people go just for their biscuits, but you can’t miss their buttermilk fried chicken with a creamy milk gravy. Don’t forget to save room for one of their delicious desserts!
12 College Street, Asheville | (828) 255-4863
1829 Hendersonville Road, Asheville | (828) 505-7676
Photo Tupelo Honey
Where is the best fried chicken you’ve had in Western North Carolina? Let us know in the comments: