Tupelo Honey started as a late-night spot for kitchen staff in the know. Its humble beginnings as a breakfast and lunch joint with a late night crowd attracted local chefs, front of house servers, and everyone in between.
“It was a place that every night at two o’clock in the morning there was a line out the door,” says executive chef Brian Sonosku. “As soon as the bars closed, everyone just flocked to Tupelo Honey.”
Fifteen years later, Asheville’s own Tupelo Honey is a regional powerhouse that serves Southern comfort foods with a modern twist at its locations in Raleigh, Charlotte, Knoxville, and many other hot spots throughout the Southeast.
Its menu has evolved with the restaurant’s growing fan base. Late night hours has been replaced with creative dinner fare. Southern favorites like nutty fried chicken now share the menu with small plates of spicy lamb meatballs, house-cured salmon, and pecan-crusted goat cheese.
“If you want to know where a chef’s passion is, try the small plates.” Brian suggests. “You have to put a little more time and more effort into making the small plates special and you have to use a little more finesse with it.”
Brian nurtures Tupelo Honey’s natural life cycle, much like he does in his home garden. After a stint as a blueberry farmer, Brian has settled into growing herbs, flowers, and veggies each summer.
“I like to keep my fingers in the dirt,” Brian explains. “To watch something grow and to know that you planted the seed, you nurtured it, then prepared it and cooked it — it comes full circle.”