Favorite food experiences

12 Bones

Great meat. Killer sides. Can't go wrong with anything. Wedge salad with four ribs ties for my favorite meal in the whole city.

Asheville Pizza and Brewing - Merrimon Avenue

Local beer. Local pizza. A movie. An Asheville standard.

Buxton Hall BBQ

Did someone say barbecue? Bah! Get the chicken sandwich. Or get it up at their chicken sandwich stand in the S&W food hall. Wanna turn it up? Get the bourbon Cheerwine slushee.


I love doughnuts. We are blessed with three outstanding, local doughnut shops. Geraldine's, in north Asheville offers up, by-far, the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to doughnuts. The Boston creme is a delicious beast and considering the price, you should be here ever day. It's a very bright lights, chrome and formica vibe (though I don't think they have formica. For those looking for a coffee shop-type experience, Vortex, on downtown's south slope is solid, and exceptionally vegan-friendly. Finally, Hole, just on the west side of town, serves up delicious fresh, hot doughnuts best enjoyed mid-morning on a weekday when crowds are less of an issue.

French Broad Chocolate Lounge

One of the most touristy stops in downtown. But hey, it's a chocolate lounge. A liquid truffle on a winter night will do you right.

Jack of the Wood

Best wings in town and I will die on that hill. Odd for a Celtic-themed pub.


A perfect date night? A window seat, a pair of margarita's, shared order of lobster nachos, shared order of churros. 


I don't know anyone who dislikes Mamacita's, but I don't know anyone who likes it as much as I do. The baja fish taco on flour with pico, lettuce, cheese, and baja sauce has been a personal staple for nearly 20 years.

Nine Mile

Jamaican-inspired food. Never encountered anything like it. The natty bread is delicious. The his majesty salad dressing is delicious. Best tofu I've ever had. One Foundation with tofu ties for my favorite meal in the city.

Rosetta's Kitchen

Best French fries in town. 

Sunny Pointe

Best breakfast in town with the crowd to prove it. But...breakfast is served all day and no one goes there at dinner time. I always go with the breakfast sandwich, side of grits, but  you can't go wrong with anything.


Classic red sauce Italian-American. Be prepared to fight for a seat with all the baby-boomers in north Asheville.

White Duck

I eat here so much it gets a little old, but there's a reason I eat here so much. Wide range of non-traditional tacos. I always go with the Buffalo chicken, but I don't think you can go wrong.

Favorite drinking experiences

Wedge Studios

Classic, no-frills place for an afterwork beer. 

5 Walnut Wine Bar

Cozy wine bar. If you can grab a window seat, your evening is made.

Grove Park Inn

The original Asheville tourist destination. Have a drink in the great hall. Step out on the back patio. That's all you have to do. Avoid at Christmas time.


You save this for a special night. When you get there, you'll know why.

Favorite outdoor experiences

Roan Mountain

Perhaps the most beautiful place in Southern Appalachia. It's not a secret though, so go on an off day.

Mount Mitchell

Highest point east of the Mississippi. Don't get excited - the path to the top is paved, but other trails carry you through the spruce-fir forest. If you know where to look you can visit the remains of a small plane crash. Also North Carolina's oldest state park, so if you're into the classic stone and wood, slightly kitschy park aesthetic, this is your place.

Cataloochee Valley

Beautiful valley at the eastern end of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with remnant historical buildings from the community that was here before the park was established. Also, not a secret, so avoid on weekends, especially in the fall. Never go here on a fall Saturday.

Little Tennessee River

Between the town of Franklin and Fontana Reservoir this river is a beautiful stretch of wide, healthy stream running through a landscape with low- or no-development. Amazingly under-visited for what it is. Great for paddling, snorkeling, laying out on a rock.

Fontana Reservoir

Yeah, it's a reservoir. A huge one by eastern standards, and sited at a particularly bad location for native aquatic animals and animal diversity. But boating the lower end on a hot summer weekday (to avoid crowds) can feel like the whole world is yours. You can also boat over to Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the north shore for a little exploring.

Hammock and a book

Get a hammock, a book, a little snack and hike out into Pisgah National Forest of Blue Ridge Parkway lands a bit, no need to go too far, and set up for a relaxing afternoon.

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