Asheville really hits the spot when it comes to healthy food, funky beers, street art, beautiful handmade goods, and world-famous breweries. I am lucky to have a big “framily” there and I always look forward to seeing them, discovering new places, and settling into old haunts.
Over the last few years, many of them have moved outside of downtown Asheville and I have spent a lot of time exploring West Asheville, reachable by taking Haywood Road a few miles outside of the city center.
Most of my blogs include a fair amount of history and cultural highlights of a place, but not this one. Here is a collection of my favourite cafes, restaurants, and bars where you can get your fill in West Asheville. I will continue updating this list as often as I return.
This song goes out to my buddy Jim:
Fleetwood’s on Haywood Road is a bar, vintage shop, chapel, and more. You never know what you might walk into there, but it will be something good.
Whether it’s a thrift treasure or a new favourite band, I always leave with an exciting new find.
We blessed the Lemmy Kilmister shrine on Dia de los Muertos last year.
Fleetwood’s is just the kind of place to see rowdy rock and roll and sideshow acts.
But there is plenty of seating to carry on conversations with friends.
Haywood Common became an immediate favourite the first time I went. I am not even embarrassed to say that I have been four more times in the last month.
We have loved everything we ordered; the kimchi Bloody Mary, Old Fashioned with charred oranges, a rosemary fizz cocktail, Thai buffalo chicken sandwich, chicken & pear Banh mi, Korean pulled pork, brunch burger, chicken & waffles, and a breakfast wrap with loads of cheesy lemon crema and Benton’s bacon.
We have interacted with about a dozen staff members and each person was absolutely lovely. It did not look like much from the outside but inside it is welcoming, the interior is cozy and intimate without any pretense, and I am hooked.
Speaking of hooked, The Whale shares a building and side patio with Haywood Common and serves up local and imported craft beers.
They have a sweet tooth for German beers, so obviously I like this place too.
Inside there is a full-scale whale skeleton that hovers gracefully across the entire ceiling, but the best part is Bear.
This cutie has a super long tongue that perpetually sticks out no matter what he does. I have seen him three times now and it would likely break my heart if I ever go and he is not there.
Just across the street from Haywood Commons is DeSoto Lounge which has a barcade and a private outdoor patio area.
We tried the Cuban sandwich with salad, and the Chicken Waffles which comes with a spicy maple syrup.
The barcade in the back is a really chill space.
Odditorium is an old standby for most of my friends. It has always been an anything-goes type of place with some killer bands, low key crowd, alternative events, rad murals, etc.
They recently got a new paint job and all the crazy sideshow art is gone. I am not fond of the new exterior at all, but things change and we must change too.
Jargon is a handsome place near the Mothlight that has a fantastic jazz brunch and lots of gold mirrors, which reminded me of home.
Another theme is refurbished wooden objects and art. The tables here are made of repurposed bowling alley flooring panels; something I have not seen done before.
The bathroom walls are made of wooden Scrabble pieces and pretty rustic lights.
We took on a few different items from the menu- the pork belly omelet with crispy string onions and potatoes, the eggs benny with lox and hollandaise, and sun-dried tomato quiche. Everything was delicious!
Jargon offers luxury cocktails, Surf ‘n Turf, burgers, casseroles, french toast, and some lighter fare for brunch on Sundays.
Hole Donuts was such a treat in every sense. We shared the vanilla glazed, cinnamon sugar, toasted almond, and sweet curry donuts with a perfect cup of coffee.
The counter is set up so that you can watch the donuts being made from scratch, from start to finish, from the baker’s hands to your plate.
This painting in the bathroom is everything. Unfortunately the artist’s name was not legible but I would love to buy a print.
The Owl (Old World Levain) Bakery is ran by an acquaintance and it is a lovely little yellow building full of delicate, imaginative, European-style treats. We loved the coffee, orange spice croissant-muffins, rosemary caramel tarte, and chocolate cookie.
Dobra Tea House offers tea service, small bites, and regular classes/events. I prefer the floor seating with pillows but there are some great window seats for people watching. We took the Moroccan mint tea service with cheddar biscuits, miso, and a cookie.
Noble Cider has been around for quite a while and, despite driving by it hundreds of times, I never realized how cool it is until recently.
I am not much of a cider fan but Noble is known for dry ciders and have found an excellent balance of sweet and tart. The bartender was kind enough to give us our own private tasting of ciders and meads one night and I enjoyed everything we tried.
They have some fun open rooms as well, which is awesome if you are looking for a cozy house party vibe with the convenience of using someone else’s house and no mess to clean up afterward.
One World Brewing is a funky spaceship themed brewery in West Ashe but there is a downtown location as well. I tried the fascinating indigo Slumbeer seen below:
They were hosting a traveling pop-up sale event with some witchy vendors, live DJs, lots of dancing and silliness.
The Malvern keeps it classy with a simple bar room, delicious cocktails, local beers, and welcoming staff.
HomeGrown is known for sourcing their menu from local farms, and I enjoyed their buttermilk chicken sandwich with sprouts, lettuce, pickles, pickled onions, and horseradish mustard.
WALK (West Asheville Loung & Kitchen) knows a secret for making macaroni and cheese, and I want in. It may not look like much in the photo but there were so many rich flavours in the sauce that I still think of it months later. The Caribbean pork sandwich with pineapple jerk slaw was satisfying too.
What did I miss? Stay Tuned, once I have obtained photos, for West Asheville Part II: TacoBilly, Whist Isis Music Halls, Flora, Firestorm Books & Coffee, Early Girl Eatery, Rocky’s, Sawhorse, Twisted Laurel, Odd’s Cafe, The Admiral, Mothlight, Asheville Bookworks, UpCountry, Double Crown, and others.
In the area for a while or looking to get outside of Asheville? Follow me to Black Mountain. And don’t forget to subscribe!
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