#50 of 23 Asheville Restaurants

Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack (Sweeten Location)

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Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack South (Sweeten Creek Road): Hot Chicken and Cool Bluegrass Music
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

At Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack, the prevailing philosophy is "the hotter, the better." Head to the Sweeten location for Tennessee-style wings with a side of local Bluegrass music.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

If you crave hot chicken (with extra emphasis on the word ‘hot‘), drop everything right now and head for Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack. The local joint boasts two locations: the other location on Patton Avenue and this one on Sweeten Creek Road. Food quality is similar from one location to the next, but the Sweeten Creek Road location has a slightly different look and a lot more live music.

It’s no secret that chicken is the main attraction. While spice-averse visitors can opt for plain or honey style, the restaurant’s claim to fame is intolerably spicy chicken. An easy-to-see sign posted near the counter offers plenty of guidance, as do friendly staff members. Newbies often remark that the chicken is spicier than anticipated, so consider ordering your wings milder than usual.

Like many Asheville restaurants, Rocky’s emphasizes locally-sourced ingredients. Management and staff members believe that chicken tastes best when birds are raised in natural environments. This is not a vegetarian-friendly restaurant, but meat eaters can take solace in knowing that the chickens raised for Rocky’s purposes have been treated well.

The ordering process at Rocky’s is simple. Stop by the counter to order and pay for your meal. Grab a number and wait as your meal is prepared.

When the weather cooperates, the patio is the place to be. The Sweeten venue has an especially large patio where you and your loved ones can enjoy a leisurely meal. The view isn’t exactly spectacular, but it’s a pleasant spot nonetheless. Dogs are welcome — and encouraged — on the patio. In fact, Rocky’s regularly posts photos of canine visitors on its official Facebook page.

In addition to chicken, you’re welcome to order your favorite beer. Several Asheville favorites are available on tap. Make the most of Beer City USA by downing a local brew.

A few of our favorite menu items include:

Fried Chicken Plate
At the heart of Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, lies the fried chicken plate. This versatile meal places all options right at your fingertips. Choose your favorite type of chicken (thighs, wings, tender, etc.), desired level of spice, and two sides (options include pimento cheese grits, corn pudding, and sweet potato casserole, among others).

Rocky’s Way Chicken Sandwich
If you’re craving a sandwich, make it this one, which includes perfectly fried chicken tenders, cheese, lettuce, and mayonnaise. Served on toasted white bread, the sandwich comes with your favorite side.

Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Plate
It may only be offered on Saturdays, but this popular plate is worth a special trip to Rocky’s. Crafted in honor of the local band Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty, the plate includes a fried breast, a fried leg, and a fried wing, plus your choice of two sides.

Banana Pudding
If, somehow, you still have room for more after eating an entire chicken plate, order the house-made banana pudding. This cream dessert includes bourbon vanilla beans, a vanilla wafer crust, and whipped cream.

No matter your spice tolerance, you’ll come to crave Rocky’s mouthwatering chicken. Don’t be afraid to sample a variety of chicken platters and sides — they’re all amazing!

Insider Tips:
-Rocky’s has several specials for various days of the week. While most specials are available at both the Sweeten and Patton Avenue locations, Tuesday is a little different. If you have a tattoo, head to Patton Avenue for special deals. At Sweeten, it’s all about teachers on Tuesdays; show your ID and you’ll receive a discount.
-If you get the opportunity, stop by the Sweeten location during Sunday Brunch or on Thursday evening. This venue regularly hosts local musicians such as Juan Holladay and Lillian Chase for live bluegrass events. Keep an eye on the official Rocky’s Facebook page, where you’ll find plenty of information about upcoming music events.