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7 Spots for Exceptional Takeout in Asheville

From saimin noodles to fried chicken

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With North Carolina’s restaurant dining rooms still open at only 50% capacity, a 10 p.m. curfew in effect and frosty weather in the mountains putting a chill on outdoor seating, takeout may be the most reliable way to enjoy Asheville’s food scene this winter. And the city’s restaurants are up to the task.

Asheville eateries have been impressively creative and resourceful in developing enticing take-away menus for the pandemic age. From high-end, date-night Hawaiian fare to ramped-up rotisserie chicken, here are seven spots to satisfy a range of cravings.

A number of North Carolina restaurants have resumed dine-in service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit here. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. King Daddy's Chicken

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1020 Merrimon Ave suite 106
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 595-4648
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When the original King Daddy’s Chicken & Waffle in West Asheville, owned then by Early Girl Eatery founders John and Julie Stehling, announced it was closing in late 2018, Asheville carb lovers let out a collective wail of anguish. The reinvented King Daddy’s Chicken, launched this fall by new Early Girl Eatery owners Cristina and Jesson Gil with executive chef Howard Pickrel, retains many of the OG restaurant’s beloved menu items, with a few changes. Replacing the bone-in chicken is boneless breasts and tenders, and the breading is now gluten-free, as are the selection of day-leavened, small-batch waffles.

There are bone-in wings, however, with a choice of eight house-made sauces as well as poutine, chicken sandwiches, salads, and an array of sides, including rice with gravy, sesame tofu in Korean sauce and bourbon macaroni and cheese. To ensure that the food would hold up to the rigors of a carry-out format, the Gils spent two months testing the entire menu repeatedly — from the first bite to the last — in all kinds of packaging. “It’s taken years to get the recipes where we want them, and I just didn’t see me changing that for packaging,” says Jesson. “I told everyone I wouldn’t open if we couldn’t get it right. Ordering is available by phone or via the website’s online menu.

2. Nani's Rotisserie Chicken

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1 Page Ave Suite 147
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 515-1900
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Chef Meherwan Irani, the mastermind behind the Chai Pani and Botiwalla concepts, took his enthusiasm for bold Indian flavors in an American comfort-food direction with the recent opening of Nani’s Rotisserie Chicken in downtown’s Grove Arcade. Open for both lunch and dinner, the linchpin of the straightforward, takeout-only menu is sustainably raised chicken sourced from Joyce Farms in Winston-Salem. The birds are rubbed with a choice of a delightfully complex and spicy piri-piri rub or herb de provence and served by the quarter (choice of light or dark meat), half or whole along with drippings and flatbread.

The selection of six sides feels reassuringly familiar but is definitely not your average coleslaw and mashed potatoes. There’s herb-roasted potatoes and a simple corn pudding with poblanos and red peppers. But braised winter greens get an elegant lift from red wine, sultanas and pine nuts, and a hearty chilled grains dish dresses up black rice and farro with candied winter squash, greens and Champagne vinaigrette. There’s a green salad and pulled-chicken sandwich on the menu, too, as well as non-alcoholic beverages. Order online through the website for pickup at the restaurant, or opt for delivery via locally owned company KickbackAVL

3. Baba Nahm

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1 Page Ave #139
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 575-2075
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Middle Eastern street food joint Baba Nahm is where chefs Brian and Laura Smith have focused their significant culinary energies since COVID-19 pressures forced the closure of their Biltmore Village restaurant Rezaz. A pre-pandemic downtown lunch staple, Laura pivoted the concept by switching to takeout only and turning the small seating area into a bakery where she puts her pastry chef background to good use creating the menu’s house-made pita and laffa breads, cookies, granola, and other items. 

A simple option that serves a pair or groups of four or eight is Baba’s Feast, a par-cooked take-home meal of roasted Cornish game hen stuffed with ground lamb, caramelized onions, and basmati rice accompanied by grilled broccolini with horseradish-herb zhoug, Persian chopped salad, and rich muhammara dip with vegetable crudite. But the regular menu’s choices are generous, tempting and affordable with lamb, beef or chicken shawarma, tabrizi meatballs or fava falafel setting you back only $8-$10 and the addictive, house-cut Israeli fries a mere $2.75 for a giant serving. Order from the website for pickup at the downtown location.

Baba Nahm/Facebook

4. Cucina 24

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24 Wall St
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 254-6170
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Always known for his colorful, beautifully crafted interpretations of Italian classics, Cucina 24 chef and owner Brian Canipelli responded to the COVID-19 crisis by building a reputation for creating bright and inventive takeout menus that have helped ease many a diner’s pandemic malaise. The menus change daily based on available locally grown and foraged ingredients but always offer a selection of prix fixe meals for two paired with a bottle of wine. There’s also a generous assortment of a la carte antipasti, house-made pasta, wood-fired pizzas, entrées and sweets along with a nicely curated list of Italian wines and local beers and ciders. 

Pasta selections range from cacio e pepe and other tried-and-true Italian favorites to Southern-tinged riffs like gnocchetti with black-eyed peas and spinach pesto. Four-cheese and pepperoni are, of course, menu pizza staples, but more adventurous pie lovers can opt for toppings like satina potato with rosemary, fontina, and ‘nduja. Each day’s menu is posted to the restaurant’s website with a link for online ordering, and meals can be picked up after about 30 minutes outside Cucina 24’s quaint Wall Street storefront.

Cucina 24/Facebook

5. Leo's House of Thirst

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1055 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 505-8017
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The latest from Drew Wallace, the restaurateur who helped lay the foundation of Asheville’s food scene with The Admiral and Bull & Beggar, is West Asheville wine garden and restaurant Leo’s House of Thirst. There’s limited indoor seating and a definite appeal to cozying up around a picnic table in the charming outdoor space, but the regularly changing takeout menu from chef Austin Inselmann is exciting enough on its own. 

Prix-fixe dinners for two can skew either slightly fancy with house-made pasta (recently featured was beef ragout and squash agnolotti) and apple galette or simple and wholesome with grilled cheese sandwiches and s’mores. The a la carte menu is fairly concise but still manages to cover a lot of ground with snacky options like smoked yellowfin tuna dip, fondue, and deviled eggs with smoked honey, bacon and chives, as well as salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. The wine list is fairly extensive but not overwhelming and includes several varieties of orange wine as well as beer and cider. The ordering platform on the website is easy to navigate and allows customers to pre-order well in advance.

6. RosaBees

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27 Foundy St #20
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 417-7212
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A trip to Hawaii piqued pastry chef and Cakes by Gray owner Melissa Gray’s interest in Polynesian cuisine and resulted in the 2019 launch of RosaBees in the River Arts District. Working with executive chef Cookie Hadley, Gray has created a playful menu of pu-pu (appetizers), haukai (salads), maniko (entrees) and, of course, ono (dessert) that they’ve managed to transition beautifully to a to-go model. 

Savory items like musubi with teriyaki-glazed house-made Spam or tofu, green-papaya salad, braised octopus sashimi, saimin noodle soup, and mochi fried chicken can (and should) be followed up with one of Gray’s numerous sweet offerings. This winter, look for cinnamon-sugar banana lumpia with coconut syrup and chocolate sauce as well as the adorable s’mores, which feature hexagon-shaped, house-made honey graham crackers, and marshmallows in a rotating selection of flavors with smoked chocolate. The full menu is available on the website, and orders can be called in for pickup at the restaurant. Delivery is also available from Kickback AVL.

RosaBees/Facebook

7. Griff's Kitchen & Bar

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1390 Sand Hill Rd Suite 6
Candler, NC 28715
(828) 633-2153
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Griff’s Kitchen and Bar debuted this fall with a relatively expansive takeout menu ranging from shrimp and grits to grain bowls. But the most popular dish by far, says chef and co-owner Ian Griffin, is the Griff’s burger, a blend of house-ground, locally sourced chuck, short rib, and brisket topped with caramelized onions, slow-cooked tomatoes, arugula, and roasted garlic aioli served with hand-cut fries. “I knew that if we were going to put a burger on the menu, it had to be good,” he says. 

Also a customer favorite, he adds, are the house-made pecan sticky buns. But those looking for something lighter can opt for a different kind of bun — orange-glazed pork shoulder steamed buns that Griffin describes as “like a sandwich, but better.” Also on the lighter side is the grain bowl, featuring Farm and Sparrow farro with sweet potato hoisin, dinosaur kale, charred apples, purple sweet potatoes, goat cheese, sweet and salty pecans and a honey-apple cider syrup. Griff’s is currently open for takeout only with ordering by phone or via the website

1. King Daddy's Chicken

1020 Merrimon Ave suite 106, Asheville, NC 28806

When the original King Daddy’s Chicken & Waffle in West Asheville, owned then by Early Girl Eatery founders John and Julie Stehling, announced it was closing in late 2018, Asheville carb lovers let out a collective wail of anguish. The reinvented King Daddy’s Chicken, launched this fall by new Early Girl Eatery owners Cristina and Jesson Gil with executive chef Howard Pickrel, retains many of the OG restaurant’s beloved menu items, with a few changes. Replacing the bone-in chicken is boneless breasts and tenders, and the breading is now gluten-free, as are the selection of day-leavened, small-batch waffles.

There are bone-in wings, however, with a choice of eight house-made sauces as well as poutine, chicken sandwiches, salads, and an array of sides, including rice with gravy, sesame tofu in Korean sauce and bourbon macaroni and cheese. To ensure that the food would hold up to the rigors of a carry-out format, the Gils spent two months testing the entire menu repeatedly — from the first bite to the last — in all kinds of packaging. “It’s taken years to get the recipes where we want them, and I just didn’t see me changing that for packaging,” says Jesson. “I told everyone I wouldn’t open if we couldn’t get it right. Ordering is available by phone or via the website’s online menu.

1020 Merrimon Ave suite 106
Asheville, NC 28806

2. Nani's Rotisserie Chicken

1 Page Ave Suite 147, Asheville, NC 28801

Chef Meherwan Irani, the mastermind behind the Chai Pani and Botiwalla concepts, took his enthusiasm for bold Indian flavors in an American comfort-food direction with the recent opening of Nani’s Rotisserie Chicken in downtown’s Grove Arcade. Open for both lunch and dinner, the linchpin of the straightforward, takeout-only menu is sustainably raised chicken sourced from Joyce Farms in Winston-Salem. The birds are rubbed with a choice of a delightfully complex and spicy piri-piri rub or herb de provence and served by the quarter (choice of light or dark meat), half or whole along with drippings and flatbread.

The selection of six sides feels reassuringly familiar but is definitely not your average coleslaw and mashed potatoes. There’s herb-roasted potatoes and a simple corn pudding with poblanos and red peppers. But braised winter greens get an elegant lift from red wine, sultanas and pine nuts, and a hearty chilled grains dish dresses up black rice and farro with candied winter squash, greens and Champagne vinaigrette. There’s a green salad and pulled-chicken sandwich on the menu, too, as well as non-alcoholic beverages. Order online through the website for pickup at the restaurant, or opt for delivery via locally owned company KickbackAVL

1 Page Ave Suite 147
Asheville, NC 28801

3. Baba Nahm

1 Page Ave #139, Asheville, NC 28801
Baba Nahm/Facebook

Middle Eastern street food joint Baba Nahm is where chefs Brian and Laura Smith have focused their significant culinary energies since COVID-19 pressures forced the closure of their Biltmore Village restaurant Rezaz. A pre-pandemic downtown lunch staple, Laura pivoted the concept by switching to takeout only and turning the small seating area into a bakery where she puts her pastry chef background to good use creating the menu’s house-made pita and laffa breads, cookies, granola, and other items. 

A simple option that serves a pair or groups of four or eight is Baba’s Feast, a par-cooked take-home meal of roasted Cornish game hen stuffed with ground lamb, caramelized onions, and basmati rice accompanied by grilled broccolini with horseradish-herb zhoug, Persian chopped salad, and rich muhammara dip with vegetable crudite. But the regular menu’s choices are generous, tempting and affordable with lamb, beef or chicken shawarma, tabrizi meatballs or fava falafel setting you back only $8-$10 and the addictive, house-cut Israeli fries a mere $2.75 for a giant serving. Order from the website for pickup at the downtown location.

1 Page Ave #139
Asheville, NC 28801

4. Cucina 24

24 Wall St, Asheville, NC 28801
Cucina 24/Facebook

Always known for his colorful, beautifully crafted interpretations of Italian classics, Cucina 24 chef and owner Brian Canipelli responded to the COVID-19 crisis by building a reputation for creating bright and inventive takeout menus that have helped ease many a diner’s pandemic malaise. The menus change daily based on available locally grown and foraged ingredients but always offer a selection of prix fixe meals for two paired with a bottle of wine. There’s also a generous assortment of a la carte antipasti, house-made pasta, wood-fired pizzas, entrées and sweets along with a nicely curated list of Italian wines and local beers and ciders. 

Pasta selections range from cacio e pepe and other tried-and-true Italian favorites to Southern-tinged riffs like gnocchetti with black-eyed peas and spinach pesto. Four-cheese and pepperoni are, of course, menu pizza staples, but more adventurous pie lovers can opt for toppings like satina potato with rosemary, fontina, and ‘nduja. Each day’s menu is posted to the restaurant’s website with a link for online ordering, and meals can be picked up after about 30 minutes outside Cucina 24’s quaint Wall Street storefront.

24 Wall St
Asheville, NC 28801

5. Leo's House of Thirst

1055 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806

The latest from Drew Wallace, the restaurateur who helped lay the foundation of Asheville’s food scene with The Admiral and Bull & Beggar, is West Asheville wine garden and restaurant Leo’s House of Thirst. There’s limited indoor seating and a definite appeal to cozying up around a picnic table in the charming outdoor space, but the regularly changing takeout menu from chef Austin Inselmann is exciting enough on its own. 

Prix-fixe dinners for two can skew either slightly fancy with house-made pasta (recently featured was beef ragout and squash agnolotti) and apple galette or simple and wholesome with grilled cheese sandwiches and s’mores. The a la carte menu is fairly concise but still manages to cover a lot of ground with snacky options like smoked yellowfin tuna dip, fondue, and deviled eggs with smoked honey, bacon and chives, as well as salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. The wine list is fairly extensive but not overwhelming and includes several varieties of orange wine as well as beer and cider. The ordering platform on the website is easy to navigate and allows customers to pre-order well in advance.

1055 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806

6. RosaBees

27 Foundy St #20, Asheville, NC 28801
RosaBees/Facebook

A trip to Hawaii piqued pastry chef and Cakes by Gray owner Melissa Gray’s interest in Polynesian cuisine and resulted in the 2019 launch of RosaBees in the River Arts District. Working with executive chef Cookie Hadley, Gray has created a playful menu of pu-pu (appetizers), haukai (salads), maniko (entrees) and, of course, ono (dessert) that they’ve managed to transition beautifully to a to-go model. 

Savory items like musubi with teriyaki-glazed house-made Spam or tofu, green-papaya salad, braised octopus sashimi, saimin noodle soup, and mochi fried chicken can (and should) be followed up with one of Gray’s numerous sweet offerings. This winter, look for cinnamon-sugar banana lumpia with coconut syrup and chocolate sauce as well as the adorable s’mores, which feature hexagon-shaped, house-made honey graham crackers, and marshmallows in a rotating selection of flavors with smoked chocolate. The full menu is available on the website, and orders can be called in for pickup at the restaurant. Delivery is also available from Kickback AVL.

27 Foundy St #20
Asheville, NC 28801

7. Griff's Kitchen & Bar

1390 Sand Hill Rd Suite 6, Candler, NC 28715

Griff’s Kitchen and Bar debuted this fall with a relatively expansive takeout menu ranging from shrimp and grits to grain bowls. But the most popular dish by far, says chef and co-owner Ian Griffin, is the Griff’s burger, a blend of house-ground, locally sourced chuck, short rib, and brisket topped with caramelized onions, slow-cooked tomatoes, arugula, and roasted garlic aioli served with hand-cut fries. “I knew that if we were going to put a burger on the menu, it had to be good,” he says. 

Also a customer favorite, he adds, are the house-made pecan sticky buns. But those looking for something lighter can opt for a different kind of bun — orange-glazed pork shoulder steamed buns that Griffin describes as “like a sandwich, but better.” Also on the lighter side is the grain bowl, featuring Farm and Sparrow farro with sweet potato hoisin, dinosaur kale, charred apples, purple sweet potatoes, goat cheese, sweet and salty pecans and a honey-apple cider syrup. Griff’s is currently open for takeout only with ordering by phone or via the website

1390 Sand Hill Rd Suite 6
Candler, NC 28715

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