I’m a vegetarian, I live in the South, surrounded by carnivores. This is a challenge. But I’m comforted that Asheville is emerging as a leader among Green Dining Destinations.
Tupelo Honey Café, located in Asheville deserves mention. With two locations in Asheville, they can also be found in Greenville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and will soon have a sixth outpost in Johnson City, TN.
If your idea of Southern cooking is the faux-Southern food dished up by Cracker Barrel, seek out Tupelo Honey if you happen to be in one of these fair cities in search of fall color.
No Vegetarian Here
A word of warning to all you vegetarians: Tupelo Honey Café is not a vegetarian restaurant. But they do emphasize locally sourced foods and have interesting alternatives for those of us who don’t eat meat.
In particular I noted these menu items when I was in Knoxville recently:
- Tupelo Tofu Wings (similar to their Chipolte Chicken Wings but without the bird)
- Grateful Dead Black Bean Burger
- Venerated Veggie Bowl (which consists of goat cheese grits, topped with salsa, black-eyed peas, sautéed greens, and crispy fried okra)
- Sweet Potato Pancakes
- Tupelo’s Encore Cheesy Grit Cakes
Being the adventurous type, I chose to create my own vegetable plate from among their 17 different sides – as did three other meat-eaters in our party, to my surprise!
And since we’re a sharing crowd, I got to sample the Brown Butter Brussel Sprouts, Fried Okra (AKA Southern Popcorn), New South Sautéed Greens, Fried Parmesan Corn on the Cob, Benne Coated Asparagus, Goat Cheese Grits, Fried Green Tomatoes with Basil, and Marinated Grilled Tofu.
Experiencing the thrill of fried food, something I normally don’t do at home, I indulged in the guilty pleasure of the addictive okra and savored the corn on the cob.
One Lonely Disappointment
Of all the menu items I tasted, only the New South Sautéed Greens were overly salted and a minor disappointment.
Gluten-Free or Vegan?
Is gluten-free more your type? Tupelo has a separate menu, as well as designating vegan and soy-free items.
Tupelo Will Not Disappoint
Attentive service, reasonable prices, locally sourced food, and a family-friendly atmosphere gives this restaurant a competitive edge that will allow it to continue to grow beyond the Carolinas and Tennessee.