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Category Archives: Asheville Food

Foodie vacation destination: The Admiral in Asheville, N.C.

Go For the Food is a weekly AP food and travel series about food as a driver of tourism.


ASHEVILLE, N.C. | In downtown Asheville, good restaurants are as handsomely conspicuous as the artsy boutiques and bodegas that give the Blue Ridge Mountain mecca its trendy, vibrant flair.

IF YOU GOCooks @ The Admiral

The Admiral: 400 Haywood Road, West Asheville, N.C., 828-252-2541SunnyPointCafe

Sunny Point Cafe: 626 Haywood Road, West Asheville, N.C., 828-252-0055

Across the French Broad River, in West Asheville? Not so much. This is the funkier side of town, where families, artists and workers live in frame bungalows lining narrow, hilly side streets, and the main drag, Haywood Road, has an earthier, slightly gritty feel.

That's why driving down Haywood, you're more apt to notice the gas station across the street than the squat cinder block building that houses The Admiral.

"Chances are, you will pass us at least three times. You won't be able to find a good parking place," said Admiral co-owner Drew Wallace.

When The Admiral opened in 2007, Wallace and business partner Jonathan Robinson called this "the wage-earning side of town" and their aim was to create a successful dive bar/unexpected restaurant. It has more than met their desires. West Asheville has blossomed since those early days, and The Admiral has morphed from a neighborhood tavern into a destination restaurant, but it still feels like a wonderfully hidden gem.

Reservations are a must, unless you want to sit at the bar and are willing to wait. But those are the best seats in the small, dimly lit space. That's where you get the best view of the open, galley kitchen, where a quartet of chefs busily cook up small plates of unforgettable mussels, bathed in a slightly smoky sauce of San Marzano tomatoes; entrees like meaty, barbecue sauced pork chops with collard greens and root vegetable gratin; or an other-worldly version of steak frites, featuring black Angus rib-eye, sweet potato chips, green beans and quail egg salad. Desserts might include a sinfully delicious chocolate mousse with cherry clotted cream and red wine cherry sauce, but the eclectic menu changes regularly, so prepare for the unexpected.

"There is really no straightforward summary of our style" Wallace says. "The food tends to be a little more experimental than most of our peers." And much of it is locally sourced from family-owned businesses.

The slightly kitschy decor includes a neon "Dive" sign in one corner, a handful of industrial-looking hanging lamps and black-clad, tattooed and welcoming servers.

There are no uppity attitudes at The Admiral, and that's partly what draws Boomers, hipsters, business execs and obvious out-of-towners. Most appetizers and small plates cost $12 or less, and entrees run up to $30. On Friday and Saturday nights, tables are pushed aside at 10 p.m. for dance parties.

Also on Haywood Road is the informal Sunny Point Cafe, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but best known for amazingly fluffy and delicious biscuits and legendary waits for breakfast and brunch.

Restaurant Holiday Schedules

Restaurant Holiday Schedules

posted 2012 Oct by Amy Garcia

Check out our list holiday hours at AIR member restaurants!




Asheville Independent Restaurants (AIR) is again offering a special promotion during the month of December for its popular AIR Dining Passport- a coupon booklet representing over $1000 in dining savings at participating AIR member dining establishments. Normally $50, the promotion is extended to include bulk purchases with a minimum of 10 at $45 per book, and with more than 20, the price is dropped to $40 per book. “We introduced this promotion last year this time and it was hugely popular, in fact for the first time since the Passport has been offered we completely sold out,” says Sherrye Coggiola, AIR Board President, “It truly makes a special gift for anyone that enjoys local food.”

43 Particpating restaurants include:
Acropolis Pizza
Artisan Deli Catering
Avenue M
Chai Pani
City Bakery Café
Corner Kitchen
Creperie Bouchon
D.I. Hospitality
Edna's Of Asheville
Frankie Bones
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Glass Onion
The Green Sage
Grovewood Café
Jack of Hearts
Jack of the Wood
Jerusalem Garden Café
Karen Donatelli Café
Laughing Seed
Lexington Avenue Brewery
The Local Joint,
Luella's Bar-B-Que
Neo Burrito
Neo Cantina
Pack's Tavern
Sunny Point Café
Tupelo Honey Café
Ultimate Ice Cream
Vinnies Neighborhood Italian

Eating Green in Asheville

by Melissa (Missi) Hathaway
Asheville was placed as a top destination for America’s Greenest Dining, through a collaboration between Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute and Asheville Independent Restaurant Association (also known as AIR) and is set to continue its healthy dining initiative into the foreseeable future.

The green restaurant program includes dealing with issues of energy efficiency and waste management and a large number of eateries now support the drive and partner up with suppliers and with each other for further green ideas and developments. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Randy Talley of AIR claimed that ‘it’s good for the community, good for the planet, and good for our bottom line.’

Last year residents protested against a coal fired plant in the area, which was seen as damaging to the environment through its process of stripping coal from mountaintops, proving that Asheville takes its green issues very seriously indeed.

The move by restaurants has put Asheville on the map as America’s first Green Dining Destination and is drawing in tourists who are attracted by the green initiatives offered here and who are curious to see the results for themselves.

In February this year, Asheville managed to reach its goal of having 15 certified restaurants in the city go green, with the 16th being certified shortly afterwards, and this enabled the city to earn the accolade of America’s first green dining destination. The Mayor, Terry Bellamy, announced that ‘Asheville’s 15 Certified Green Restaurants are leading the way toward zero waste’ as well as sustainability and that they were giving diners a superior selection of establishments to choose from (

Green Restaurants

The certified restaurants range from 2, 3 and 4 star dining destinations and they offer a wide range of food. All restaurants are located within Asheville. The choice includes:

French Broad Chocolates

Located on South Lexington Avenue, this eatery is all about chocolate. Visitors can relax in the chocolate lounge, sipping wine or hot chocolate and nibbling on chocolate brownies and cake. French Broad Chocolates also deliver to customers, who can browse the selection of truffles and caramels online. Locals have the option of ordering first and collecting at the restaurant.


Plant is situated on Merrimon Avenue and serves dinner from 5 to 9 Sunday to Thursday and 5 to 10 on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant offers plates featuring local flavors and is wholly vegetarian. On the menu are small plates of Seitan Satay Skewers, made with grilled pineapple and peanut sauce, and Smoke Hummus. Entrees include red curry tofu, mixed mushroom grill and smoked Portabello steak made with polenta, chard and grape tomato salad. Plant has received favourable reviews in WNC magazine and Mountain Xpress and was chosen as ‘best of WNC’ in 2012 by Mountain Xpress readers.

The Green Sage

This restaurant is located downtown and in South Asheville, and is a 4 star dining destination. Food is local and organic and the restaurant promotes healthy lifestyles with its gluten free and vegetarian dining, as well as preservative free meats. Guests can choose from grass fed beef, chicken or Tempeh sandwiches in classic, Swiss shroom or Greek Feta styles as well as Chipotle Jack burgers. Salads are a popular option at the restaurant, such as spinach and beet or Sage house salad.

The Green Sage has featured in articles about its sustainability in the Asheville Citizen Times, WNC magazine and UNC TV.

Luella’s Bar-B-Que

The ethos at Luella’s is great food made with honest, loving hands. The name of this Asheville restaurant comes from the owner’s grandmother Luella who was renowned for her astonishing cooking. Plates are cooked with soybean oil and used oils are recycled at Blue Ridge Biofuel. Guests can choose such dishes as dry rubbed sweet potato chips, smoked jumbo wings, chile rubbed beef brisket and smoked andouille sausage and there is also a selection of salads served.

Luella’s involves itself with the community through causes such as MANNA Foodbank and the American Red Cross.

Experience Asheville’s Green Dining for Yourself

Asheville is a popular tourist destination, famed for its scenery, food, art and beer. There are a wide variety of culinary delights on offer in the city, from Mediterranean to vegetarian plates and southern cooking with a twist. Asheville is proud of its cuisine and its new status as green dining destination means that there is an emphasis on healthy eating and local produce such as organic beef or mountain trout as well as seasonal vegetarian dishes and fresh salads. This is bound to attract even more visitors, particularly those for who green issues are important and like to do what they can to protect the environment. There are sidewalk cafes to sit out at and many of the city’s restaurants feature live music for their diners’ enjoyment. Tourists come to Asheville for the mountain attractions, the hospitality and food, as well as the craft fairs held throughout the year. There are online discount coupons available for visitors to Asheville, featuring special packages on local attractions, and with competitive flights available as well as online overseas car insurance deals, getting here is easier than ever. Compare the best prices from online insurance companies to make sure you are getting the best deal for your trip and visit Asheville, where green dining is taking the city by storm.

Asheville Becomes America’s First Green Dining Destination™

For the first time ever, one of America’s cities, Asheville, North Carolina, has earned the official designation of being a Green Dining Destination™.  This achievement means that locals, tourists, and business people can dine at a plethora of Certified Green Restaurants® throughout Asheville. This accomplishment was driven by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), Asheville Independent Restaurant Association (AIR), and the Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute (BRSI), who formed a local Coalition to encourage more environmentally sustainable practices within the city’s restaurants. 

“The Asheville area prides itself on a food culture that embraces fresh, innovative cuisine that integrates product from local growers and artisan food producers,” Asheville Convention Visitors Bureau Executive Director Stephanie Brown noted.  “The prestigious designation of “Green Dining Destination” is an accomplishment that adds to Asheville’s reputation as a distinctive culinary destination.”
All of Asheville’s Certified Green Restaurant
® have met the GRA’s rigorous certification standards by earning at least 100 GreenPoints™ in the categories of food, water, waste, energy, chemicals, and disposables. Additionally, each Certified Green Restaurant® has eliminated use of polystyrene foam, (aka StyroFoam™), and has implemented a full-scale recycling program.
  • The first interactive map of Asheville’s Certified Green Restaurants®
  • Certified Green Restaurant® listings 
  • Green Label Transparency Tools showing each Asheville Certified Green Restaurant®’s itemized environmental steps and GreenPoints™
  • Downloadable Suggestion Cards to encourage more restaurants to go green
  • Education on the environmental impact of the restaurant industry
  • Media content about Asheville’s Certified Green Restaurants®

Beer month showcases N.C.’s status as ‘Brewing mecca of the South’

English: Visitors posing with bottles of LoneR...

English: Visitors posing with bottles of LoneRider beer after a tour of the LoneRider Brewery in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

N.C. Beer Month, brought to you by the state’s Division of Tourism, is a 30-day celebration of the craft beer industry. The group wants pint lovers to head out – responsibly, of course – to breweries across the state for all-things beer. That includes specialty brews, beer dinners, beer cooking classes, beer making and “beer memories” intended to last longer than those from college.

It’s called beer tourism, and local breweries are ready for you to belly up to the bar.

Wilmington’s Front Street Brewery is participating all month with pint specials, a beer-pairing dinner and a limited-edition beer with an undeniable coastal flavor.

Brewmaster Kevin Kozek took a bushel of Eagle Island Fruit Seafood oysters up to NoDa Brewing Co. in Charlotte where he and the NoDa crew brewed an oyster stout. He said it’s a dark, English-style stout with notes of briny oysters.

“It will have a faint saltiness to it,” Kozek said. “I think it will turn out awesome.”

The breweries made 20 kegs of the oyster stout, which are being divided between the watering holes for an April 11 debut. The collaboration is one of many happening across the state in an industry that put more than $7 billion into the state economy last year, according to The Beer Institute.

“North Carolina has become such a hot spot for the brewing industry,” said Ellie Craig, marketing director for Front Street Brewery. “It’s pretty intriguing.”

There are 61 brew pubs in the state, according to the N.C. Brewers Guild, and is lauded as the brewing mecca of the South.

“North Carolina breweries provide jobs to so many North Carolinians at every level and in every aspect of the industry,” said Maaike Brender À Brandis, part owner of Cape Fear Wine Beer in downtown Wilmington. “It gives our state another thing to be proud of.”

She said the craft beer industry is thriving partly because of Pop the Cap, a bill signed into law in 2005 that allowed beer alcohol content to jump from 6 percent to 15 percent and because consumers desire better quality in not only what they eat, but what they drink.

“It only makes sense that we would have a thriving craft beer scene,” Brender À Brandis said. “Consumers are educated and informed. They want to know who made what, where, how and why. Craft beer is quite transparent in that aspect.”

And it has made for good business.

Front Street’s Craig thinks the food and drink culture go hand in hand and movements like slow food, buying local and seasonal eating make for smart business partnerships.

Which is why the brewery is lining up regional providers such as Eagle Island and Shelton Herb Farm to contribute seafood, produce and meats for its April 11 beer-pairing dinner.

“The theme is From Our State to Your Plate,” Craig said. Tickets are $39 for the five-course meal and are available at the bar or online at

“There is so much happening across the state but we also have great beer right here,” Craig added.

So if you want to sip a pint without leaving the Port City or venture out on a beer vacation, you’ve got an entire month to explore the brew pubs scattered from the ocean to the mountains.

Cheers to that.


Metro desk: 343-2384

On Twitter: @StarNewsOnline

Bele Chere 2011 Is Officially Underway!

The crowds are arriving and the temperature is boiling.  An ever-growing assortment of eclectic and downright strange sights and sounds washes over the downtown area.  Below is another photo gallery I just caught walking around Friday afternoon.  Enjoy! [slidepress gallery=’bele-chere-2011-day-1′]