King Daddy’s Chicken & Waffles is like heaven if heaven’s filled with delicious fried chicken and golden waffles. (Please say heaven is filled with King Daddy’s food.) Last year in April, we had the pleasure of dining at John and Julie Stehling’s second restaurant, King Daddy’s, located at 444 Haywood Road Asheville, NC 28806.
From the front door, you realize that King Daddy’s is a special place and you are going to love this food joyride. Julie greeted us with a smile that reflects her super kind personality. You know when you meet someone and you can tell they have a heart of Gold? Well, that’s how I felt when I saw Julie for the first time. King Daddy’s staff also reflects Julie’s welcoming spirit, noticeable as soon as we entered the restaurant.
King Daddy’s specializes in their namesake chicken and waffles and unique soulful dishes, which we loved—soul food with a twist. Chicken and Waffles, but with an option of Korean style chicken with ginger soy sauce. Fruit waffles, but not just simple waffles—they add an option of ice cream for a dessert. Nothing is without surprises at King Daddy’s. This restaurant shocked me in every way, from the decor to the menu to the hospitality.
Trip Out highly recommends putting Asheville, North Carolina on your bucket list of places to visits. When you come, you have to try King Daddy’s. We promise that you will not regret it. We guarantee a priceless experience!
A Little Chat With the Owners:
Are you born and raised in Asheville, NC? If not, what made you come to Asheville, NC?
I was not born and raised in Asheville. John is a native North Carolinian. He grew up hiking in the mountains and canoeing the rivers. We met at the beach in Charleston but knew that we wanted to raise our children in the mountains. When we were certain we wanted to open a restaurant, Asheville was the perfect fit because of the agricultural community so many small farms to source from!
Where did the concept of opening a restaurant like King Daddy’s come from?
It is John’s love of fried chicken that helped us birth King Daddy’s.
Asheville has over 250 restaurants. How do you keep so innovative that your restaurant stays on top?
The only way to stay competitive is to stay true to what you love and what you do well (Ideally, they intersect :)!) Also, it is
important to hire well, stay present and be open to the ways in which your business morphs and grows with your guests’ needs.
With Early Girl, do you feel your customers are mostly tourists or Asheville residents?
On the weekends, Early Girl’s clientele is very tourist heavy. During the week breakfast skew towards locals and lunches are
about 50/50. This is a purely anecdotal analysis by the way.
Without giving away any secrets, what do you feel is a must do for the perfect fried chicken? Dipping in
The secret to the best fried chicken is whatever Momma told you it was because it is the memories of your childhood that resonate while you are eating; that’s the magic.
King Daddy’s has a family feel that we love. What are the most popular item on the children’s menu?
Children, of course, love getting waffles with sweet toppings for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
About the Owners:
John and Julie Stehling met in Charleston, South Carolina where they both worked for John’s brother at the Hominy Grill. From Charleston, they traveled extensively both across the country and throughout Asia. Thoughts of settling down always brought them back to Asheville and back to the dream of owning their own restaurant.
John does the cooking. He grew up a proud North Carolinian with a big garden and a mom whose cookies were killer lunchtime barter. Julie does the talking. She grew up in a tight-knit community where food, conversation and supporting your neighbors mattered.
They opened their first restaurant, Early Girl Eatery, in 2001. Early Girl has been lucky enough to find a loyal following from locals and tourists alike and to have been praised nationally and regionally… (To learn more about Early Girl see www.earlygirleatery.com) The incredible staff at has been invaluable in giving John and Julie the ability and the confidence to move forward with new dreams and endeavors.
After the growth of their family, Hank was born in 2004, and Milo in 2006, King Daddy’s was tops on their dream list. In 2012, they began to look for the right space to fit their vision of happy guests meeting friends and family over a plate of soul satisfying fried chicken and waffles. The dream became reality when they opened the doors to King Daddy’s chicken and waffle at 444 Haywood Road in the spring of 2014.
Learn more about King Daddy’s at www.ashevillekingdaddy.com
Social Media: Facebook