Asheville, North Carolina-based Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar is set to open its first Columbus location – and its 20th overall – on Wednesday, Oct. 26! The popular Southern-cooking spot is known for their lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
The eatery is located at 1678 W. Lane Ave. in Upper Arlington, in a new development directly across from Whole Foods. We got a preview tasting of their dinner menu and drinks!
The long corner space features windows wrapped halfway around, greenery, balled lights, plus a large, backlit bar.
During the preview night, Chef Eric Gabrynowicz was on hand to chat with customers and discuss their dishes, including the rollout of new fall menu items. The Columbus store will open with Tupelo’s fall menu.
We started with the a Blue Ridge mimosa and a pair of their Biscuits for a Cause.
The fluffy and cakey cathead buttermilk biscuits are served with blueberry jam, whipped butter, and honey. They explained that, because real tupelo honey is so difficult to come by, they use a different honey with a similar flavor profile.
The dish is called Biscuits With a Cause because proceeds from the sales go to their Relief & Development Funds that aid Tupelo employees in need. To date they’ve awarded over $500,000.
Next up was the warm and zesty Chicken Tortilla Soup, filled with shredded chicken, black beans, jalapeño, cheddar, cilantro, lime, and tortilla strips.
Their Cast Iron Pimento Cheese Dip is a must-order, served in a hot cast iron dish and featuring melted house-made pimento cheese dip with seasoned tortilla chips. The chips use their house “bee dust,” a signature seasoning that’s zesty and salty.
It would be true Southern cooking without the appearance of Fried Green Tomatoes, and Tupelo Honey does the dish justice. They’re dusted in panko and served with basil over heirloom grits with goat cheese and a roasted red pepper sauce.
One of the more interesting beverage offerings was the Hopped Sweet Tea. It takes fresh-brewed sweet tea, dry hops it with Citra hops, then serves it on nitro draft. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it really does.
Tupelo also doesn’t shy away from going big with the greens. The delightful Lemon Garden Party features arugula and mixed greens with a lemon herb dressing, topped with shaved cucumbers and radishes, crumbled feta, and toasted and sliced almonds.
One of my favorites of the meal was the Country Fried Cauliflower. A big head of cauliflower gets the country fried chicken treatment, fried with their bee-dusted buttermilk breading and served with a rich dijonnaise. A full serving comes with a choice of two sides.
Meanwhile, the Boozy Turkey arrived at the table. It’s a solidly done boozy Old Fashioned made with Wild Turkey 101 and an ice cube with the Tupelo Honey logo.
We tasted a few more of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. On the left is the Debutante, made with Tito’s Vodka and house-made lavender lemonade, decorated with lemon and lavender buds.
On the right is the non-alcoholic Turmeric Ginger Tonic with fresh ginger, turmeric, lime, and honey.
As if we weren’t stuffed already, a full load of entrees came out!
Kudos to the sides like the Baked Mac and Cheese and the Collard Greens finished with a little bacon and brown sugar.
The Shrimp and Grits are a real winner, a rich concoction of wild-caught white gulf shrimp, chorizo pork sausage, peperonata, creole sauce, scallions, served over heirloom grits with goat cheese.
One of the new fall menu items picks up on a New Orleans classic: Roast Beef Debris. It takes tender braised beef and serves it with gravy over heirloom goat cheese grits, then tops it with braised green beans, green tomato salsa, crispy fried onions, and fresh cilantro.
They go all-in with their Mac-N-Cheese Waffles with Asheville Hot Fried Chicken. The mac and cheese is pressed into the waffle, then topped with a Nashville-style-adjacent hot chicken, drizzled with garlic buttermilk ranch, and topped with pickles and chives.
Finally, you can’t visit Tupelo Honey without a taste of their their brined, Bone-In Fried Chicken. It’s crispy, tender, and generously coated with their bee dust.
With dessert we got a taste of their Tipsy Hen red blend made exclusively for Tupelo Honey in California.
Probably their signature dessert is their rich and creamy Banana Pudding. The recipe hasn’t changed since the first Tupelo Honey opened 20 years ago.
The equally rich Brown Butter Pecan Pie arrives with a light chocolate drizzle.
And it’s hard not to love a towering slice of their Chocolate Lovin’ Spoon Cake.
Overall, we were thoroughly impressed with the dishes and the service. I think Tupelo Honey will be a great addition to the Columbus dining scene.
Tupelo Honey is set to open on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Hours are:
- Mon-Thurs: 11a – 9p
- Fri: 11a – 10p
- Sat: 10a – 10p
- Sun: 10a – 9p
Brunch will be served Saturday and Sunday from 10a to 4p. Happy hour is Monday-Friday, 3-6p.