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 skipping spots that only offer boneless chicken in the form of 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 in all its juicy glory!
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.
Early Girl Eatery
Early Girl bills themselves as a farm-to-table Southern comfort food experience, and they do not disappoint! Since 2001, downtown restaurant goers have been clucking about the 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. Not into the downtown crowds? Now you can enjoy Early Girl in West Asheville and North Asheville, too.
8 Wall Street, Asheville | (828) 259-9292
444 Haywood Road #101, Asheville | (828) 820-2323
1020 Merrimon Avenue #106, Asheville | (828) 505-2325
HomeGrown has a flagship location off of busy Merrimon Avenue in North Asheville, as well as in walking distance to Carrier Park on the west side. What both locations have in common is a commitment to living up to their name. The restaurants use 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—it can run out! Warning: You’ll want to come back again tomorrow.
371 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville | (828) 232-4340
219 Amboy Road, Asheville | (828) 793-0031
The Moose Cafe is a long-time Asheville staple for traditional Southern eatin’. You’ll want to do more than peck at their Southern fried chicken, served 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
Everyone is crowing about 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 plain traditional to extra hot (think: ghost peppers!). 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
Sand Hill Kitchen
Looking for great food in an unexpected location? Sand Hill Kitchen is the spring chicken among restaurants in Enka. Located in the Roadrunner/BP Market, at the base of Sand Hill Road, this location serves everything from scratch in creative combinations. Best of all, you can get your fried chicken in different forms over the course of the day. Come in before 11:00AM for a fried chicken biscuit (or on toast). Or come by for lunch or dinner and enjoy the award-winning fried chicken sandwich! Sand Hill Kitchen’s buttermilk soaked, crispy fried chicken is served with homemade dilly pickles, cheddar cheese, and herbed Duke’s mayo.
491 Sardis Road, Asheville | (828) 633-6868
Once a local staple among downtown Asheville eateries, Tupelo Honey has expanded their flock in recent years to 14 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