Asheville, affectionately referred to as the Paris of the South, is known for its gorgeous hikes, art deco architecture, and folk art culture. It is both large enough to host major music acts and small enough to notice a tight network of farmers, small businesses and restaurants. In recent years, this sleepy little mountain town has become a capital for food and beer.
There’s something magical about Asheville. Maybe it’s the hint of the blue ridge mountains behind city buildings, or the colorful graffiti in alleyways, or the locals, who are amiable and multitalented. Those who visit leave a piece of their hearts here.
SIGHT TO VISIT
Blue Ridge Parkway
Asheville’s most beloved treasure. Take a scenic drive or stop at an overlook and hop on a trail. There are options for all levels of hiking that lead to swimming holes, waterfalls and rocky peaks.
COFFEE & SNACKS
High Five Coffee
13 Rankin Ave.
Tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the historic downtown, this shop thrives on the idea that coffee should be both sacred and accessible. With its minimalist exposed brick interior, it is the perfect place to pop in for a quick pick-me-up, or cozy up by the window with your current read. Offering the whole spectrum of espresso drinks and an ever-changing “barista’s choice,” they never disappoint.
32 Banks Ave.
Located in the trendy South Slope neighborhood––a warehouse district turned brewery mecca––the interior is bright with high ceilings. For those mornings when you need a pre-breakfast snack, let Vortex curate your a.m. decadence––doughnuts of the yeast, cake and vegan varieties with unexpected flavor pairings. Try the salted caramel bacon. Choose one or one dozen.
The coziest of cafés with a distinct European feel, Old Europe has been an Asheville staple for over 20 years. Secluded tables for two and gilded mirrors create an instant romantic vibe. They offer both authentic Hungarian and American pastries at any hour. It’s the perfect excuse to have dessert before dinner.
Over Easy Café
House plants line the windows and the screen door happily creaks for every entrant, making it feel more like a friend’s living room than a restaurant. They serve unique, seasonal dishes made with locally sourced ingredients out of their tiny kitchen with a zealous fervor. Start with a fresh juice or smoothie, but leave room for the hash bowl or rancheros.
Early Girl Eatery
8 Wall Street
An Asheville institution, Early Girl serves a delicious southern comfort breakfast that puts the soul at ease. Bright, cheery walls and vintage kitchen decor make for a charming match with the farm-to-table dishes they offer. Try the shrimp and grits or the Early Girl benny.
Buxton Hall Barbecue
32 Banks Ave
A new favorite amongst locals, Buxton Hall prides itself on whole hog barbecue and southern sides. Images on the walls are remnants from when the building housed a gymnasium. The dining room resembles and old cafeteria with industrial windows. Sip on the house bourbon slushy and start with the brussels sprouts while watching watch the preparation in its open kitchen.
The Creperie, Asheville French Quarter
68 Lexington Ave.
The Creperie is one of three restaurants in the Asheville French Quarter. Sun streams through the windows, bouncing off the French tiles and illuminating the Parisian café chairs. Snack on the award winning frites while you await your crêpe or panini.
7 SW Pack Square
Located in the heart of downtown, Rhubarb’s dining room is as dynamic as the food they serve. With many tables accommodating large parties, they emphasize that food should be shared. The dishes range from southern provincial to neo-French, and plenty of seasonal specialties grace the constantly changing menu.
11 Biltmore Avenue
Cúrate provides an array of traditional Spanish tapas––a blessing to the indecisive foodie. The lighting is warm and elegant, and a wall is covered in live greenery. They believe good food and drink can cure whatever ails you, and the menu features a wide variety of pork and seafood dishes. Start with the esqueixada de montaña and and sparkling cava sangria.
29 N Market Street
A tavern that takes cocktails seriously. The room glows with all the curious beauty of a Victorian apothecary, and the mixologists welcome you with a warm inviting smile. The bar is lined with spirits and bitters, from floor to ceiling, order a hot toddy and snack on a small plate, they are sure to warm you up on a brisk fall evening.
40 Collier Avenue
There is certainly no shortage of breweries in Asheville, but if you only have time for one, stop by Burial Beer Company. Thier brewers experiment with unusual flavors producing unique creations like the Skillet Donut Stout, a glorious breakfast beer, and Pollination Honey Saison, brewed with local honey, both of which are highly recommended. Grab a table beside the vats, or sit outside in the beer garden and enjoy.