From a fried chicken BLT to sweet and spicy pork, an independent spirit infuses the dishes at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Greenville. Executive Chef Brian Sonoskus eschews the latest food trends in favor of his own style of cooking at this regional chain based in Asheville, N.C.
This translates to a menu that offers something for every member of the family. The likes of a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich on Texas toast and honey-glazed fruit salad will please the young ones in your party, while adults may gravitate toward fried green tomatoes and Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf, made with local, hormone-free, grass-fed beef, with a little bacon thrown in to make it extra moist.
Fried chicken BLT at Tupelo Honey Cafe — Photo courtesy of Tupelo Honey Cafe
You’ll want to sample some of the sides, too, which include the more predictable sweet potato fries and homemade mac and cheese, as well as contemporary choices such as benne-coated asparagus and a honey pickled-beet salad.
Vegetarians will appreciate the black bean burger and the Venerated Veggie Bowl, layered with goat cheese grits, salsa verde, black-eyed peas, sautéed greens and fried okra. And there’s even a special – and lengthy – gluten-free menu for those who have that sensitivity.
The bright yellow space bustles day and night with a boisterous crowd of diners. Fashioning a contemporary ambience distinguished with country touches, the décor displays honey-colored wood booths overhung with metal light fixtures and separated by weathered stained-glass window panels suspended from the ceiling.
There’s an exhibition kitchen on one side of the room, and, at the back, a separate bar area.
If you end up having to wait for a table (The cafe only accepts reservations for parties of eight or more.), then grab a seat in the bar and order a cocktail (perhaps a Lohito, crafted with house-made lemongrass-infused moonshine, Tupelo honey, fresh lemon, muddled mint and soda water) or one of the selections on the list of local craft beers.
Fluffy as a cloud, the cafe’s signature biscuits are one of the best things about a meal here. It’s worth the trip for these airy Southern treats alone.
Biscuits come with any breakfast item (And breakfast is served all day.), as well as accompanying entrées at lunch or in the evening.
The biscuits come with the cafe’s namesake honey, a nectar produced from the blossoms of white Ogeechee Tupelo trees, which are found only in river basins in certain parts of the Southeast.
A prized regional product, Tupelo honey is known for its buttery taste and mellow sweetness. It makes the perfect sweet foil for those ethereal biscuits.