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Asheville’s Best Local Food Restaurants

September 12, 2007

How to Eat Out in Asheville While Still Reducing Your Impact:

Early Girl Eatery– This restaurant began as somewhat of a Tupelo Honey spinoff but has made a name for itself as a the ultimate option for local food purists and grit fans. I ate there last night and sampled their shitake meatloaf, squash casserole, mountain trout, and of course, grits. Early Girls wins the coveted prize for BEST GRITS IN ASHEVILLE! This place rocks for breakfast too, although good luck getting a table, and if you do, good luck ordering anything off the specials menu. They run out of things quickly.

Laurey’s Chef Laurey Masterson is a longtime devotee of the local food movement, but only recently realized how to publicize that fact. Here you will find the one of the most glamorous local food menus around, and you’ll pay a pretty penny for it too.

The Market Place– I was probably one of three people who dined regularly at their short-lived but bold, extreme local bistro venture, Bar 100.  I loved the small, local plates of delicately paired flavors and varied textures.  Due to budget restraints, I don’t get to The Market Place more than a couple times a year, but when I do, I am thrilled by the commitment to locally grown/raised/caught foods, even in the dead of winter.  The Market Place is Asheville’s Chez Panisse and I’m proud to live in the same town where the inspired Mark Rosentein’s blogs and cooks.  (Except I think he’s retired, but the food is still the same.)

Sunny Point- They grow many of their veggies in the garden out back, and it doesn’t get any more local than that.  Let’s face it, I’m a Sunny Point regular.  Steak frites, meatloaf, veggie platters and pork chops continue to impress me every time.  Just don’t get sucked in by the enormous, deep fried sushi rolls and you’ll be fine.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. queen kirstifa permalink
    September 12, 2007 11:52 pm

    I hear North Star in Weaverville, which is owned by Laughing Seed owners. I think Salsa’s also tries to focus on some local stuff seasonally. Of course, HP’s catering which I believe is to be called Sunflower Catering, uses as much local food as is economically feasible. The last meal he catered used local trout, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs…

  2. Kelly permalink
    September 13, 2007 2:29 pm

    How about table? I think they get some of their produce and meats from Warren Wilson and Hickory Nut Gap Farm …

  3. September 13, 2007 3:31 pm

    I have one thing to say about Table. When the server spilled my $8 glass of prosecco ALL OVER my husband to the point where we had to go home so he could change clothes, they still charged me for it. Not cool. I also thought the food was miniscule and boring, locally purchased notwithstanding. My $10 beet appetizer was nothing more than four tiny overcooked, boiled beets in the center of a giant plate. Yuck.

  4. queen kirstifa permalink
    September 14, 2007 5:13 pm

    Probably part of the issue is my interest in (delicious and) healthier, whole foods versus homestyle/rich/heavy foods, but I’m just not on the Table bandwagon. It’s one of the most expensive places I have ever tried to eat, and most of the food is glorified country cooking, and tends to be bland, without very complex flavoring. I think this is intentional; to have simple, fresh, southern-style foods stand on their own, but it just seems ridiculous to pay that kind of money for burgers and mashed potatoes. I feel like it’s for upscale tourists and recent transplants to feel like they’re “getting a taste of the region”, at a place that nobody from here can afford to eat. I think places like Tupelo Honey enact a similar concept so much better, and more accessibly, with way more options for healthy/vegetarian customers.

  5. September 14, 2007 7:06 pm

    The Market Place. Chef Mark Rosenstein is totally into using local produce and locally produced foods. He does amazing things with Spinning Spider goat cheeses. He also grows his own herbs in the courtyard of the restaurant. The place is pricey, but remains my favorite spot to take the rents or in-laws–when they’re paying!

  6. September 14, 2007 7:08 pm

    I also her that The Corner Kitchen is focusing on locally produced foods. I haven’t been there, but I’ve been thinking about writing about them. I’ll let you know!

  7. September 14, 2007 7:08 pm

    That would be “I also hear…”

  8. September 15, 2007 12:59 am

    I have found The Corner Kitchen to be generally unimpressive. I remember now there was an emphasis on local ingredients, and while I don’t necessarily think simple must always equal boring, if the shoe fits. . .
    The Corner Kitchen sadly falls into the drab yet expensive trap, joining Table and a few others in town. The only thing I have found of note there was the pea salad, but my companion that day debates me on even that point.

    The Market Place was terrific last time I ate there, three years ago. I’ll have to try it again with new eyes or tonge, as the case may be.

    Salsa’s also features local food. Looks like I’ll be updating this post. Until then, I’m off to the North Star Diner, owned by Early Girl’s people.

  9. queen kirstifa permalink
    September 15, 2007 1:35 am

    oops, should have clarified that “laughing seed owners” was heresay.

  10. Pixiedyke permalink
    September 19, 2007 10:59 pm

    Heads Up! WIC for the farmer’s market.

  11. pookie permalink
    October 1, 2009 8:55 am

    Have you tried Sunny Point Cafe? The dinner menu, and dinner specials are where they really focus on local ingredients. They even have a garden to table project out back of the place, that’s pretty dam local.

  12. October 1, 2009 10:48 am

    I eat at Sunny Point on a weekly basis. You are correct, they keep it as local as possible. Honestly, I really need to update this post.

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