The 20 Best Downtown Asheville Restaurants for Foodies

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[Updated January 13, 2022] 

The first time we visited the city back in 2012, we were absolutely blown away by the Asheville food scene.

For a 45-square-mile mountain town with a population of around 84,000, the sheer number of critically acclaimed downtown Asheville restaurants was staggering even then.

As it turns out, the city is also the greenest dining destination in America. Around 20% of all members in the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association are certified as green restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), the nation’s leading authority on the subject.

When we returned in 2014 to write a story on the city for Southbound magazine, we got a chance to sample quite a few of the best Asheville restaurants, including Posana, Bouchon, and more.

We had our best lunch in Asheville at the 12 Bones Smokehouse, a delicious brunch at the Green Sage Cafe, and a lovely romantic dinner at Plant (which was voted Asheville’s best vegetarian restaurant).

Now, every time we visit one of our favorite Blue Ridge Mountain towns, we add to our growing list of the best restaurants in Asheville NC. Read on for our regularly updated list of favorite places to eat in Asheville!

READ MORE: The 25 Best Things to Do in Asheville NC


Best Downtown Asheville Restaurants Guide

  1. All Souls Pizza (Pizza)
  2. Asheville Proper (Fine Dining)
  3. Biscuit Head (Breakfast)
  4. Bouchon (French)
  5. Buxton Hall BBQ (Barbecue)
  6. Chai Pani (Indian)
  7. Corner Kitchen (Fine Dining)
  8. Cúrate  (Tapas)
  9. Farm Burger (Fast Casual)
  10. Green Sage Coffeehouse & Cafe  (Cafe)
  11. Haywood Common  (Farm to Table))
  12. Jargon (New American)
  13. Mellow Mushroom  (Pizza)
  14. Plant  (Vegan/Vegetarian)
  15. Posana  (Fine Dining)
  16. Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack (Fast Casual)
  17. Tupelo Honey Cafe  (Southern)
  18. 12 Bones Smokehouse  (Barbecue)
  19. Well-Bred Bakery (Baked Goods)
  20. Wicked Weed Brewing  (Gastropub)

READ MORE: 15 Festive Ways to Celebrate an Asheville NC Christmas



Black Walnut B&B Inn -Romantic 1899 B&B in Montford, 2 pet-friendly rooms.

GLō Best Western Asheville Tunnel Road -Affordable new chic hotel.

Hampton Inn & Suites-Biltmore Village -Affordable pet-friendly.

Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville -Mountain View, great location.

The Windsor – Asheville – Boutique hotel w/ full kitchen & washer/dryer.

Photo courtesy All Souls Pizza


175 Clingman Ave • 828-254-0169 •

HOURS: Wed-Sun 4:30pm to 9pm

As someone who put myself through college by managing, cooking, and delivering at various pizza places, I’m very particular about my pies. So it is with some authority that I can say that All Souls boasts the best pizza in Asheville.

Pizza lives or dies on the strength of its crust, upon which every great pie is built. All Souls co-owner David Bauer also founded the acclaimed Farm & Sparrow Bakery, so the man (who specializes in ancient/heirloom organic grains) really knows his stuff.

On top of that foundation, All Souls chef Brendan Reusing piles an array of fresh seasonal ingredients. As is common with many Asheville restaurants, most of their meats and veggies are locally sourced.

In other words, this ain’t Dominos or Papa John’s. Expect upscale toppings like soppressata, pecorino, garlic sausage, smoked NC shrimp, fontina, and salted turnips.

The restaurant is a perfect fit for Asheville’s hip River Arts District, with an open field for private events and large parties. It’s also a great place to refuel after a long day of hiking the local trails!

READ MORE: The Best Hiking in Asheville NC Bucket List (Top 20 Hiking Trails)

Grilled Bone Marrow at Asheville Proper Restaurant
Grilled Bone Marrow at Asheville Proper


1 Page Ave, #151 • 828-505-0909 •

HOURS: Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun 4pm to 9pm; Fri-Sat 4pm-10pm; Closed Tuesday

Located at the Grove Arcade, Asheville Proper is a newer downtown Asheville restaurant. It was opened in August 2020 by Executive Chef Owen McGlynn and his wife Mindi; Owen had previously been Executive Chef at Storm Rhum Bar & Bistro.

Proper offers “Locally Sourced Live Fire Dining.” The enticing scent of a fire fed with cherry, oak, and pecan wood fills your nostrils the moment you walk in the door, and the fire itself is the centerpiece of the open kitchen.

The swanky decor, downtempo electro-funk music, and servers who look like hipster lumberjacks set a mellow mood as you sample fragrant appetizers. The best were the Wagyu Steak Tartare with ash aioli and Grilled Bone Marrow with thyme crust, dijonaise, and sourdough, which had the most incredibly robust flavor.

Their fire-grilled steaks are as exceptionally prepared as you’d expect, and served with awesome sauces such as Ash Butter, Foragers Chimichurri, and Bourbon Bourdelaise. Sides such as Crispy Confit Potatoes with brie and smoked vinegar and creamy Coldwater Creek Grits with pepper relish are a delight as well.

But don’t pack in so much protein that you’re too full for dessert. Their gourmet S’mores with marshmallow ice cream and house-made graham crackers is the best sweet treat we’ve had in 2021, and the Strawberry Pavlova was divine. 

READ MORE: Downtown Asheville, NC History: From Biltmore to 21st Century Boom

The Filthy Animal Biscuit at Biscuit Head Restaurant in Asheville NC
The Filthy Animal Biscuit at Biscuit Head

3. Biscuit Head  (Breakfast)

417 Biltmore Ave • 828-505-3449 •

HOURS: Daily 8am-2pm

Emerging on the Asheville food scene in 2013, Biscuit Head has 4 locations in the Carolinas, including South Asheville, West Asheville, and Downtown Asheville, North Carolina restaurants.

With the tagline “Put some South in your mouth,” the company is unapologetic in its embrace of down-home southern simplicity. But they add enough unique twists to make some of the best breakfast food in Asheville. 

The murals, southern fried slogans, and relentless array of cat-related artwork establish a quirky vibe as soon as you walk in the door. But it’s the menu that makes this a standout breakfast/lunch spot. 

Biscuits are obviously their main specialty, but these are not the sort of traditional buttermilk biscuits my Appalachian Granny used to make.

For example, the Pulled Pork Biscuit features jalapeño pimento cheese, bacon, poached egg, and maple syrup. The Filthy Animal includes fried chicken, pimento cheese, bacon, scrambled eggs smothered in gravy.

Speaking of gravy, there are 5 to choose from here, as well as a ton of homemade jams and preserves in an array of fruit flavors. There are also savory sides (Pimento Cheese Grits, Fried Green Tomato, Country Ham), delicious coffee drinks, and the best damn Biscuit Donuts you’ll ever taste!

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Bouchon, Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene

 4. BOUCHON (French)

62 N Lexington Ave • 828-350-1140 •

HOURS: Sun–Thu 5pm to 9:30pm • Fri & Sat 5pm to 10:30pm

Opened on hip N Lexington Ave by owner/chef Michel Baudouin in 2005, Bouchon is one of the older restaurants in downtown Asheville NC.

The upscale but casual bistro serves up French comfort food with a healthy dose of traditional Southern hospitality.

Baudouin practices the farm-to-table philosophy, sourcing everything he can from local farms and vendors. The dishes that result are wonderfully fresh and flavorful.

From the Pique-nique Français (a homemade country-style paté served with locally made cheeses and chutney) and Escargots Bourguignon to Steak au Poivre, everything we’ve tried there was a delight.

If you do choose to dine at Bouchon, we recommend going early (or on a weeknight) if you want to have any sort of audible conversation and avoid waiting for a table.

READ MORE: Asheville River Arts District: A Guide to Galleries & Restaurants

Barbecue Plate from Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville NC
Barbecue Plate from Buxton Hall

5. Buxton Hall Barbecue (BBQ)

32 Banks Ave • 828-232-7216 •

HOURS: Tue 11:30am–3pm & 5:30pm–9pm; Fri & Sat 11:30am–3pm & 5:30pm–10pm; Closed Wed, Thu & Mondays in January 2022

The perennial popularity of this Asheville, North Carolina restaurant shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Buxton Hall Barbecue was opened in 2015 by pit-master Elliott Moss (formerly of The Admiral) and chef/entrepreneur Meherwan Irani (who also owns Chai Pani), who have a half-dozen James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef in the Southeast between them. 

Located in the South Slope section of town, this award-winning Asheville restaurant occupies the old Standard Paper Sales Company building. It served as a wood-floored roller rink in the 1930s, and you can still see much of the original artwork on the Buxton Hall walls today. 

Moss’ menu pays tribute to his childhood in South Carolina, playing with pigs and chickens on his grandparents’ farm. His grandfather and father worked the block pits and smokers, so it’s a tradition he carries on with the intensely flavorful smoked meats he serves at Buxton Hall today. 

From moist, tender pulled pork and brisket to sensational sides such as Collard Greens, Green Beans, Mac & Cheese, and Brunswick Stew, every single dish we tried was perfection. It’s now our favorite BBQ restaurant in Asheville NC!

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Dinner at Chai Pani in Asheville NC
Photo courtesy Chai Pani

6. CHAI PANI (Indian)

22 Battery Park Ave • 828-254-4003 •

HOURS: Tue 5:00pm to 9:00pm; Wed & Thu 11:30am to 3:30pm & 5:00pm to 9pm; Fri-Sun 11:30am to 3:30pm & 5:30pm to 9:30 pm; Closed Monday

Opened in 2009, Chai Pani has gone on to become one of the top restaurants in Asheville, with loads of critical acclaim. But we’ve been fans ever since they opened their first location in metro Atlanta

Owner/chef Meherwan Irani has actually earned four James Beard Award nominations for his unique take on chaat– Indian street snacks that run the gamut from sweet to savory to spicy– and traditional homestyle thali.

His extensive menu has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, GQ, and even Fox News, while the Huffington Post named Chai Pani one of the “Top 10 Cheap Eats in the US.”

Meat eaters will love the Sloppy Jai (a.k.a. Kheema Pav, a spicy lamb twist on the sloppy Joe), the Crispy Masala Fish Roll (wrapped in hot, buttery naan bread), and the signature Butter Chicken Thali (a north Indian classic).

But there’s also a ton of options for vegans and vegetarians, including Matchstick Okra Fries, intensely flavorful Sweet Potato Chaat, and Saag Paneer (Spinach & Farmer’s Cheese) Thali.

Note that the restaurant is currently limiting seating and takeout orders due to the staffing shortages that have become increasingly common in the service industry.

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Pecan Crusted Trout from Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village, Asheville NC
Pecan Crusted Trout at Corner Kitchen

7. Corner Kitchen (Fine Dining)

3 Boston Way in Historic Biltmore Village • 828-274-2439 •

HOURS: Breakfast Mon to Fri 7:30am to 10:30am; Lunch & Dinner 12pm-8pm Daily

This New American restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina is located in a 125+ year old Victorian house designed by architect Richard Sharp Smith (whose works include buildings in Biltmore Village and the Montford Historic District).

The restaurant’s hand-crafted approach (it’s a certified Green Restaurant) has earned them high-profile fans such as the Obamas, who dined there after visiting the Biltmore Estate. 

Opened in 2003, the Corner Kitchen offers a mixture of fine dining and a farm-to-table bistro. So while the intimate vibe is laid-back and the dress is business casual, reservations are encouraged and a $100+ bill for two people is the norm.

Executive Chef Michael Mouser’s menu makes the most of meats and produce sourced from local farms. We especially loved the Pepper-Tarragon Seared NY Strip (served with parmesan herb Hasselback potatoes and asparagus), and the Pecan-Crusted Trout (served with ginger whipped sweet potatoes, brown butter green beans, and bourbon butter). 

Their seasonal craft cocktails (such as the Winter Sangria, with wine, brandy, Triple Sec, cranberry, apple cider, and fruit) and sin-sational desserts (such as Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding) are a wonderful way to wind down this utterly romantic Asheville NC dining experience.

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Curate Tapas Bar in Asheville NC
Photo courtesy of Cúrate

8. CÚRATE  (Tapas)

13 Biltmore Ave • 828-239-2946 •

HOURS: Tue-Thu 4pm to 10:30pm; Fri-Sat 4pm to 11pm; Sun 4pm to 10:30pm; Closed Monday.

In the 10 years since we first heard the buzz about Chef Katie Button‘s Cúrate Tapas Bar, she’s earned 6 James Beard Award nominations and was named among Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2015. 

Her restaurant has also earned national acclaim, with Food & Wine naming it one of the “40 Most Important Restaurants of the Past 40 Years”; Esquire calling it one of the “Most Important Restaurants of the Decade”; and Wine Enthusiast ranking it as one of the “100 Best Wine Restaurants” in the nation. 

The attention comes as no surprise if you’ve followed Button’s career. She worked for Chef José Andrés at various restaurants in the United States, then moved to Spain to work for Ferran Adrià at the world-renowned elBulli.

So, accolades and awards aside, how’s the food? Even after 10 years, it’s still arguably the best restaurant in Asheville, with dishes deeply rooted in Spanish tradition. 

From Salt Cod Fritters and Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Spanish goat cheese to sautéed Garlic Shrimp and Moorish-spiced Lamb Skewers, everything we tried was intensely flavorful, yet perfectly balanced.

Trust us, just ignore the price tag and believe the hype!

READ MORE:The Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in North Carolina

Farm Burger in Asheville NC
Photo courtesy Farm Burger

9. FARM BURGER (Fast Casual)

10 Patton Ave • 828-348-8540 •

HOURS: Daily 11:30am to 9:00pm

Farm-to-table cuisine didn’t come any fresher than Farm 255, the North Georgia-based restaurant run by the Full Moon Farms and Moonshine Meats collectives. 

Though that influential eatery shut its doors for good in 2013, its legacy lives on in sister restaurant Farm Burger. The fast casual concept was launched in 2008 by Farm 255’s Jason Mann (an organic farmer & rancher) and restaurant industry vet George Frangos.

From one location in Atlanta to 12 locations in 4 states (including 8 in Georgia and 2 in Asheville), the Farm Burger empire has grown considerably. But their focus remains the same, offering locally sourced ingredients– including organic vegetables and grass-fed beef– via connections with small farmers and ranchers. 

Their Downtown Asheville location is mere steps away from bustling Pack Square. They offer beef from Hickory Nut Gap, ice cream from The Hop, and beers from 3 different local breweries.

Try the #1 Farm Burger (with white cheddar and FB sauce), the #4 Chicken Burger (with smoked gouda, crispy onions, and sherry-date BBQ sauce), or the #3 Chorizo Patty Melt (with spiced pork, pimento cheese, and collard greens). And don’t miss their spicy, cheesy FB Fries and Panko-crusted Onion Rings with smoked paprika mayo!

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The Green Sage Cafe, Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene


5 Broadway Street • 828-252-4450 •

HOURS: Thu-Mon 7am-4pm

With three locations– one in downtown Asheville, two in the suburbs– the Green Sage Coffeehouse & Café is a 4-star rated green restaurant. 

All waste is composted, to-go containers and straws are compostable, bikes are used for delivery, and interior elements were made locally from reclaimed wood and metals.

Our pick for the best Asheville brunch spot, the café feels fresh, with sage green and sienna orange walls lined with nature/wildlife photos, plank wooden tables, and big comfy easy chairs by a big bay window.

Everything on the menu is made fresh from scratch, using locally sourced organic ingredients whenever possible, with excellent coffee from Fair Trade companies.

Try their Banana Pancakes, Mediterranean Omelet, Sweet Potato Fries, Avocado Wild Lox Round, and homemade muffins. Everything we ate there was bursting with flavor.

The downtown Asheville restaurant recently reopened after remodeling, and their locations on Merrimon Ave and Hendersonville Rd remain as popular as ever. 

READ MORE: The Best Hendersonville NC Restaurants for Foodies

Haywood Common Restaurant in Asheville NC
Haywood Common Restaurant

11. HAYWOOD COMMON (Farm to Table)

507 Haywood Rd • 828-575-2542 •

HOURS: Daily from 10am to 10pm 

With a focus on locally-sourced farm-to-table fare, this hip West Asheville hotspot offers an expansive outdoor patio that deserves serious consideration for your new favorite hangout spot.

After you grab a table, inside or out, go to the counter and order from their ever-evolving seasonal menu, which includes a full bar with craft cocktails, local beers, and natural and organic wines. 

Apps such as Boiled Peanuts (seasoned with Old Bay), Cast Iron Cornbread (with pickled jalapeños, honey, and herbed butter), and Fried Green Tomato (with Cajun remoulade) offer traditional Appalachian influences, with just enough modern influences to keep things fresh. 

Their menu includes an array of soups, salads, sandwiches, bowls, and plates to choose from. Mary went with the delicious Trout Melt, which features seared NC trout, swiss cheese, a tasty caper anchovy tapenade, and garlic mayo on sourdough bread. The side of Sweet Potato Fries was solid, but we both agreed that my Tater Tots were exceptional. 

I went with an Asian-influenced Pork Belly Bowl, which included coconut lime rice, furikake, mushrooms, kimchi, cucumbers, and fish sauce Ponzu, all topped with a fried egg. You can also order it as a Buddha Bowl, which features fried tofu and is vegan-friendly. 

While their food is uniformly fantastic, the outdoor patio and general vibe is what separates Haywood Common from other restaurants in Asheville. It presents a compelling argument for West Asheville as a region on the rise. 

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Smoked Boudin Sausage at Jargon Restaurant in Asheville NC
Smoked Boudin Sausage at Jargon

12. Jargon Restaurant (New American)

715 Haywood Rd • 828-785-1761 •

HOURS: Sun to Thu 5:00pm-9:00pm; Fri & Sat 5:00pm-10:00pm

One of the more recent additions to the Asheville NC food scene, Jargon Restaurant opened in a historic building in West Asheville in 2017. 

Owners Sean and Shelly Piper lovingly restored the space (which earned them an award for Adaptive Reuse by the Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County) with a funky sense of retro style. 

It’s got antique mirrors, lava lamps above the bar, drawers used for typesetting below the bar, mid-20th century imagery above the booths, and lots of other details that set a swanky, swinging mood. 

Award-winning chef Steven Goff’s ever-changing menu focuses on seasonality and local sourcing, with a style he calls “social continental cuisine.” So you’ll find Cajun fare (such as Smoked Boudin Sausage with smoked pumpkin puree) next to Coconut Red Curry, Pulled Beef Manicotti, and a Thai Terrine. Basically, it’s anything goes!

In addition to the Boudin, our favorite dishes included a flavorful Beef Tartare (with mushroom & pecan pate and potato chips), Blackened Duck Heart (with popped sorghum, boy choy, and beet puree), and Ricotta Gnocchi (with roasted mushroom, almond gremolata, and greens). 

We were too tired to try their craft cocktails, and too full for dessert, but we will definitely be back.

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Mellow Mushroom in Asheville NC
Mellow Mushroom Exterior


50 Broadway St • 828-236-9800 •

HOURS: Sun-Thu 11am to 8pm; Fri-Sat 11am to 9pm; Delivery available until 9:30pm

In the interest of full disclosure, I worked my way through college at a Mellow Mushroom offshoot in Atlanta, and later managed one of the oldest Mellow Mushroom locations (across from ATL’s Piedmont Park). So you’ll forgive me for having a bit of personal bias towards this iconic pizza place now, nearly 30 years later.

The first Mellow Mushroom opened in Atlanta in 1974, and by the 1990s they had become Georgia‘s largest homegrown pizza chain. This was partly due to their quality ingredients, the retro-hip vibe of their restaurants, and  family-friendly branding (see: mascot Mel O. Mushroom, cartoon fairies and dragons, etc). 

Their colorful, hippie-fied style made them a perfect fit for Asheville, with their Broadway St location near Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College opening in 1998. 

Their hand-tossed, stone-baked pizzas are obviously the star attraction on the menu, with favorites such as the Backyard BBQ, Kosmic Karma, and the House Special. But their hoagies (especially the classic Steak & Cheese, Italian, and Meatball subs), Pretzels, and Salads also have a huge fan base. 

All Souls Pizza is our local favorite, but Mellow Mushroom ranks a close second for the Best Pizza in Asheville!

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Vegan Cheese Plate at Plant Restaurant in Asheville NC

14. PLANT (Vegan/Vegetarian)

165 Merrimon Ave  • 828-258-7500 •

HOURS: Sun, Wed & Thu 5pm to 9pm; Fri-Sat 5pm to 10pm; Closed Mondays & Tuesdays.

Born and raised in a carniverous North Georgia family, I would have never imagined loving vegan food.

Opened in 2011 by Leslie Armstrong, Alan Berger, and chef Jason Sellers, Plant was the restaurant that changed my mind, emerging as one of our favorite places to eat in Asheville.

Sellers went to culinary school in NYC before making a name for himself at the Laughing Seed Cafe, downtown Asheville’s first vegetarian restaurant. But it’s at Plant that he earned national acclaim, earning accolades from Zagat, Food and Wine, and even PETA.

The tiny open kitchen has just 13 tables and 47 seats, though there is also a seasonal patio. But the intimate setting and sleek decor makes it a great place for a romantic dinner in Asheville.

Their menu, which changes daily, is around 90% organic, largely locally sourced, and mostly gluten free. But from the [Plant] Cheese plate and Smoked Portobello steak to the CBD Ravioli, Sellers’ inventive dishes are never short on flavor.

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Posana Cafe, Asheville's Green Restaurants

15. POSANA (Fine Dining)

1 Biltmore Ave  • 828-505-3969 •

HOURS: Wed-Sun 5pm to 9pm; Closed Mondays & Tuesdays

Located in the heart of the Historic Pack Square area, the casually elegant Posana ranks among the best Asheville NC restaurants in terms of fine dining.

Executive Chef/co-owner Peter Pollay is an honors graduate from the Culinary Institute of America who once worked under Wolfgang Puck.

Formerly the President of the Asheville Independent Restaurants Association, his eco-conscious Contemporary American Cuisine attracts an older, more mature crowd than other eateries on this list.

His menu is a model of creative simplicity. No words can adequately describe the delicate balance of flavors in appetizers such as the Sourwood Honey Smoked Pork Belly or the Smoked Trout Tartine on brioche with horseradish-dill crème fraîche.

Pollay’s farm-to-table entrees– which include Sunburst Farms Trout served with spaghetti squash risotto and a fork-tender Creekstone Farms Short Rib with parsnips and red wine jus– are equally divine.

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Fried Chicken at Rocky's Hot Chicken in Asheville NC
Fried Chicken at Rocky’s Hot Chicken


1455 Patton Ave • 828-575-2260 •

HOURS: Sun-Thu 11am to 9pm; Fri-Sat 11am to 10pm

I’m not really sure how we missed the “hot chicken” train, but we have Rocky’s (which has two Asheville locations) to thank for helping us finally get on board. 
The Carolina-bred brand, which pays homage to “Nashville-style hot chicken and soul food,” proved to be a great place to dip our toes in. They’ve earned critical accolades from tastemakers like ZAGAT and Garden & Gun, as well as making USA Today‘s list of the 20 Best Fried Chicken Places in America. 
We started with unique apps, including Rocky’s Hot Chicken Dip (chicken and creamy blue cheese, served with tortilla chips, celery, and jalapeños) and Fried Mac Poppers (mac & cheese balls served with ranch dressing). 
Of course Fried Chicken is Rocky’s raison d’être, and it’s available in spice levels ranging from plain to extra hot.  We started with a Medium heat, which had a bit more zing than your average wings, but didn’t overpower the palate. The Honey Mild had what I called a “Ninja spice,” offering a roundhouse kick to the taste buds after the fact.  
There are also sandwiches and delicious sides like Sweet Potato Casserole, Fried Okra, and Crinkle Cut Fries. But you simply MUST save room for sweets to counter the spice, including homemade banana pudding and the surprisingly delightful Coca Cola Cake.

Hanger Steak at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville NC

17. TUPELO HONEY CAFE (Southern)

12 College St • 828-255-4863 •

HOURS: Mon-Thu 10am to 9pm; Fri-Sun 9am to 9pm; Brunch Sat-Sun until 4pm

Long before Asheville became the hottest town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, long before the franchise-driven expansion (see: 20+ restaurants in 14 states, including Georgia and Virginia), Tupelo Honey Cafe was leading the traditional Southern food revival.

Their original downtown Asheville location, which opened in 2000, remains as popular as ever today, despite a dramatic increase in local competition.

As a Georgia boy, the restaurant’s down-home, made-from-scratch fare reminds me of the Southern comfort food my beloved grandmother (who was raised in the northern Tennessee hills) used to make.

Led by Chef Eric Gabrynowicz, a four-time James Beard Award semifinalist, Tupelo Honey’s food doesn’t stray far from regional traditions. But that doesn’t make starters like their Famous Fried Green Tomatoes, Pimento Cheese Dip, or Crispy Brussels any less delicious.

In terms of entrees, the Cast Iron Pork, Honey Dusted “Forever Free” Fried Chicken, and Chimichurri Hanger Steak are our personal favorites. But you also can’t go wrong with their “Breakfast All Day” menu.

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Rack of ribs at 12 Bones Smokehouse in Asheville NC


5 Foundry St, Suite 10 • 828-253-4499 •

HOURS: Mon-Fri 11:30am to 4:30pm; Closed Saturday & Sunday

12 Bones Smokehouse started back in 2005 in a cinder block shack alongside the French Broad River, in what is now known as Asheville’s River Arts District.

The previous occupants shuttered their greasy spoon after chest-high water flooded the place. But 12 Bones founders Tom Montgomery and Sabra Kelley cleaned it up, fired up the smokers, and came up with one hell of a promotional catchphrase: “Tender Butts and Sweet Racks.”

This unassuming BBQ joint has blown up considerably (and changed owners) in the last 15 years, thanks in part to several high-profile visits by the Obamas. Open just 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, the quirky little restaurant now attracts up to 1,000 people a day.

Travel Channel featured their famously decadent Hogzilla sandwich (with bacon, bratwurst, pulled pork, and pepper jack cheese) on Food Paradise. But most folks wisely go for their Half- and Full-rack Ribs plates, which are available in four (or more) flavors that rotate regularly.

Get ’em with southern-style sides like “Damn Good Corn Puddin’,” Collard Greens, or Jalapeño Cheese Grits, and you will find yourself in the closest thing Asheville NC has to hog heaven.

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Well Bred Bakery & Cafe in Asheville NC
Well-Bred Bakery & Café, photo courtesy Explore Asheville

14. Well-Bred Bakery (Bakery/Café)

6 Boston Way in Historic Biltmore Village • 828-774-5307 •

HOURS: 9:00am-4:00pm Daily

Well-Bred Bakery became one of our favorite restaurants near Asheville NC in 2021, after we dined at their location in  downtown Weaverville. So we were delighted to discover that they have locations in Biltmore Village and the Grove Arcade as well.

The bakery/café was originally founded in 2002, after owner/chef Laura Bogard fell in love with Asheville and relocated from the West Coast.

The Biltmore Village was their second location, and offers a lot more outdoor space in a lovely courtyard patio surrounded by colorful flowers in the warmer months.

Although the menus vary by location, each offers an expansive array of sweet and savory options, including gourmet quiches and sandwiches, locally roasted coffees, perfect pastries, and scrumptious cookies, cakes, and pies. 

Our favorite sweet treats included their Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Cookies, the gluten-free Espresso Roulade (chocolate cake roll with ganache and espresso whipped cream), Chocolate Truffles (which have a hint of liqueur), and the most exquisite Honey Pecan Bars we’ve ever tasted! 

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Patio at Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville NC


91 Biltmore Ave • 828-575-9599 •

HOURS: Sun-Thu 11:00am to 11:00pm; Fri-Sat 11:00am to Midnight

Based on a quote from Henry VIII– “Hops are a wicked and pernicious weed”– this popular brewpub in downtown Asheville underlines the connection between outdoor recreation and beer culture.

The company was co-founded in 2012 by two Asheville families who moved to Delaware for a few years, then came back to witness a boom in progressive thought and craft beer culture.

Wicked Weed initially offered 25 unique draft beers, but became known for their thick, hoppy, sour beers. They soon opened the first sour beer-dedicated taproom in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Funkatorium, and began to distribute beer throughout the Southeast.

Today their original location features a full restaurant, downstairs beer bar, bottle shop, and the original 15-barrel brewery. There’s also a dog-friendly patio and two cocktail areas.

The menu is upscale gastropub fare, including small plates such as Deep Fried Quail with  Buttermilk Biscuit and Smoked Trout Dip with Pita Chips.

For entrees we recommend the Carolina Bison Burger, Shrimp & Lobster Gumbo, or Fried NC Catfish sandwich. –by Bret Love; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett unless otherwise noted


Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

The BRMTG was created by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, the award-winning team behind the world-renowned responsible travel website Green Global Travel. Born and raised in North Georgia, Editor-In-Chief Bret Love grew up hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his family. A professional writer/editor since 1995, he's covered travel and culture for 100+ publications, including American Way, Destination Marriott, Georgia Travel Guide, National Geographic, and Southbound. In 2010 he co-founded the award-winning website, Green Global Travel, which is ranked among the world's top travel blogs. Since launching BRMTG in 2020, he and Mary Gabbett have visited 50+ Blue Ridge Mountain towns together. Though she lived in NYC for 14 years, photographer/Business Manager Mary Gabbett's family has Georgia roots dating back 200+ years. Her great-grandfather was President of the Western Railroad of Alabama. Before moving to Atlanta in 1989, she fell in love with the North GA mountains, where her aunt owned a cabin. In 2010 she co-founded Green Global Travel, and has since traveled to more than 40 countries on six continents. Her photos have appeared in numerous travel publications (including National Geographic and Southbound) and various textbooks.

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