Small bites: HenDough does chicken and doughnuts

WHICH CAME FIRST: HenDough owners Sarah and Paul Klaassens' business name is so ingenious that some folks wonder whether their chicken-and-doughnuts idea was an afterthought. "A small part of that [name] was our cleverness, and then the rest was just luck of the town that we're in," Paul says. "We promise we came up with the concept first and the name afterward." Photos by Kendall Weaver

Just weeks after launching, Hendersonville’s new breakfast and lunch spot HenDough has a handful of devout regulars (some dining multiple times per day) plus casual visitors aplenty. “We’re just surprisingly more busy than we ever anticipated,” says Sarah Klaassens, who started the business with her husband, Paul. The two met, worked and eventually married at Bilmore Estate before dreaming up a playful venture to combine their respective passions: doughnuts and fried chicken.

“We had always been in upscale, fine dining-type restaurants. It was kind of wearing us out,” says Paul, who has worked in the culinary field for 15 years. “We wanted to do something fun.”

Even before opening, the couple were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon an irresistible pun of a business name. In addition to juxtaposing the company’s two main product categories, HenDough is pronounced just like locals’ nickname for Hendersonville. “It couldn’t have worked out better,” Sarah says.

Each morning, Sarah, a trained pastry chef, churns out roughly a thousand doughnuts from the restaurant’s tiny kitchen, typically selling out by noon. Her evolving menu includes basics such as glazed, powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar doughnuts for a buck a pop; decorated cake doughnuts (which she describes as a dense, moist batter that crisps around the edges) with flavors including espresso caramel, blueberry lemon and strawberry coconut; yeast doughnuts with fillings like crème brûlée, Boston cream or jelly for $2.25; and specialty items like the popular apple bacon bear claw for $3. Beyond that, offerings are “whatever fun flavors we feel like doing,” she says.

By roughly 11 a.m., the chicken fryers get going, and the lunch menu becomes available (though the chicken biscuit is typically sold all day). Savory items include chicken sandwiches, salads (with or without chicken) and sides of smoked gouda mac and cheese, steak fries, roasted jalapeño grits and more. The kitchen, they say, is “maxed out” and still struggling to meet demand.

Though it’s not on the menu, the combination of Sarah’s sweets and Paul’s poultry is a promising option. “Anything that would come on a biscuit or bun can come on a doughnut,” Paul says. “We take our glazed yeast doughnut, cut it in half, toast it and build you a sandwich on it.” He recommends HenDough’s Southern sandwich with pimento cheese and slaw for this bit of alchemy.

Local purveyors, including Dynamite Roasting Co., Blue Blaze Soda & Syrup Co., Mills River Creamery, Underground Baking Co., Southern Appalachian Brewery and Naked Apple Hard Cider, provide many of the eatery’s offerings. And, Paul adds, “Once spring and summer come around, we’ll try and do some local produce.”

HenDough is at 532 Kanuga Road, Hendersonville. Hours are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Visit for more information.

Oakley Farmers Market relocates

After four seasons at its original location behind Oakley United Methodist Church, Oakley Farmers Market is moving to a new spot on Fairview Road. Organizers expect it to provide greater visibility. “Market days will continue to be lively, kid-friendly community events,” reads a media release from the market. “Each week, customers can expect to find fresh, organic, locally produced vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, mushrooms and dairy products along with handmade baked goods, natural body care products and craft items made by local artisans. The market also plans to bring a selection of local food trucks.”

 Oakley Farmers Market is at ScreenDoor, 115 Fairview Road. Hours are 3:30-6:30 p.m. Thursdays, May 5 to Sept. 29. Early-bird vendor applications are due by Thursday, March 31. Visit for more information.

Black Mountain Ciderworks release party

Black Mountain Ciderworks will celebrate the release of two new brews this weekend with a community party.  “Named for the west wind that brings in the spring, Zephyrus offers a velvety, orange-oil caress followed by a spicy, correcting slap of ginger,” says the release party event page. Another new pour, which comes out on St. Patrick’s Day, is Boadecia, a barrel-aged Irish breakfast tea and honey cider. Both ciders will be available at the party alongside nonalcoholic beverage options and a party-sized pot of stew. Pets and youngsters are welcome.

The Zephyrus release party is at the cidery, 150 Eastside Drive, Unit 307, Black Mountain, on Saturday, March 19, 1-8 p.m. Admission is free. Visit for more details.

Folkmoot Music Showcase and Spring BBQ

The inaugural Folkmoot Music Showcase and Spring BBQ boasts a tempting lineup of both food and music. Dinner comes from the pit of Haywood Smokehouse, which slow-cooks its pulled pork with native hickory. Sides include baked beans, coleslaw and rolls, all of which patrons who are of legal drinking age can wash down with craft beers from Waynesville’s Bear Waters Brewing Co. The musical feast begins at 7 p.m., offering performances by Weaverville-based youth fiddler Lillian Chase, Garnet Ridge Ramblers, Whitewater Bluegrass Company and Darren Nicholson Band.

The event is at the Folkmoot Friendship Center, 112 Virginia Ave., Waynesville, on Saturday, March 19, 5-10 p.m. Information and tickets ($20/$30) are available at or by calling 452-2997.


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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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