Sander Court – Asheville, North Carolina - Atlas Obscura

Sander Court

Asheville, North Carolina, was the the second place in the world to enjoy Kentucky Fried Chicken's secret recipe. 


Unknown to many, Asheville, North Carolina, was home to Harland Sanders’s—better known as Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken—2nd Motor Court and Cafe.

The colonel’s first cafe was in Corbin, Kentucky. He opened it in 1930 after customers at his Shell Oil gas station began requesting food. By 1935 his cafe, motel, and gas station were so popular, Kentucky’s governor, Ruby Laffoon, gave him  an honorary “colonel” title.

Sanders attempted to start a restaurant chain in Kentucky, but it failed, so he bought another motor court in 1939, this time in Asheville, North Carolina. By 1940, Colonel Sanders had perfected his fried chicken recipe, with 11 herbs and spices and the use of a pressure fryer instead of a pan, making Asheville the 2nd place in the world to enjoy the Colonel’s Secret Recipe. 

World War II and gasoline rationing had an affect on tourist traffic in the mountains, and Colonel Sanders closed his motor court in Asheville in 1942.  The Inn was owned and run as a motor court by Lee and Helen Roberts (parents of author Terry Roberts) from 1948 until 1975, suffering a large fire in the mid-1950s that destroyed the kitchen and closed the restaurant.

“Sander Court” has lost the “s” at the end, rumored to be a painting mistake, but it still stands today as an apartment complex just north of Asheville.

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