If you missed part one, read it here. Long story short: downtown Asheville’s Patton Avenue is jam packed with restaurants of the highest quality, localized in a certain segment between Pritchard Park and the intersection with Coxe Avenue. That’s exactly where we’re headed this week, folks, focusing on the north side of the street.
I hope you’ve prepared yourself for some delectable reading,, because we are diving in with gusto, grit, and first-rate gastronautics.
Beignets! Do I have your attention? Well, Mayfel’s certainly has mine. Here they serve up Cajun fare unlike you’ll find anywhere else in downtown Asheville. Gumbo, jambalaya, etouffee, muffuletta. I know I don’t need to sell you on these fantastic dishes. Cajun food is pinnacle Americana, after all.
Diners at Mayfels can enjoy their meal outdoors, either under their covered, dog-friendly patio, or out back in a seasonal courtyard-bar, hidden from downtown’s main thoroughfares. As far as timing your visit, the weekends are notoriously busy. Paired with a no-reservations policy, you’d be better off visiting on a Thursday for 8$ “Mayfelade” cocktails, or on a Monday for half-price bottles of wine, plus a beignet gratuit for locals. If you’ve got Ashevillean connections, now is the time to call them in.
Speaking of beignets, they go for just one dollar each. That means a hundred-dollar bill nets you something like a hundred beignets. Just food for thought.
Closed: Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
You know what else is classic Americana? Southern food. Tupelo Honey, just down the street from Mayfel’s, has got you covered. Serving brunch all day, here you can find thick waffles, honey-dusted fried chicken, and fried chicken on waffles. That last one is just a day-in-the-life of a Southerner such as myself. But most tourists I meet from up north are downright fascinated by chicken-and-waffles. So, I figured I'd mention it.
Also worth a mention are their salads, rich in avocado and hearty vegetables, as well as their blackened mahi-mahi. Tupelo Honey isn’t just a purveyor of fried-this and buttered-up that, but does have an eye for healthier options. Then again, you could stick to the bourbon-peppercorn meatloaf, with a side-order of biscuits. It's all good so far as I’m concerned.
Closed: Open weeklong.
While researching this downtown Asheville Irish sports-pub I found myself staring into the eyes of an animated leprechaun, counting down the days until St. Patrick’s. This captured my attention for a solid five minutes, and it stirred up an unnamable emotion. Ominous, somehow. All that aside, points for enthusiasm. I’m in negotiations to put up a similar countdown on Asheville Cottages.
Down to the meat: shepherd’s pie, corn beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, and Guinness sausage stew. Paired with a glass of one of their thirty-two local drafts, and you’ve got yourself a worthy meal for any sporting event.
Asides from these Irish classics, Claddagh demonstrates a certain spirit of experimentality. Irish nachos, Rachel and Reuben eggrolls and chocolate wantons. Its these kinds of special touches which make dining on downtown Asheville’s Patton Avenue such a memorable experience.
Closed: Open weeklong until midnight, every night.
As a longtime curry-connoisseur, I give Blue Dream Curry House my personal stamp of approval. This living-wage certified eatery provides curries from across the world, hitting the major styles of Indian, Thai, and UK.
Despite the name, it's not all curries here. Their appetizer menu includes such delectable entries as naan tacos, lumpia (Filipino spring rolls), and Korean fried chicken, which is objectively the best kind of fried chicken. Blue Dream rounds out their menu with some excellent libations, ranging from hot tea, to local kombucha, to cocktails infused with lychee, yuzu, sake, and lemongrass.
“AYC,” for those in the know; downtown Asheville’s only rock-and-roll tiki bar. For that matter, I think they’re the only tiki bar within a three-hour radius. Kind of astonishing, when you think of it. Certainly, they’re the only rock-and-roll tiki bar in town, thanks to live performances from Iggy Radio every Saturday and Sunday night, with other acts scheduled year-round.
Aside from your regular bar-fare (nachos, wings, tater-tots), AYC serves mojo steak atop black beans and rice, and pork marinated for eight hours in pineapple juice with—I quote—”secret Caribbean spices.” The interior is funky, and animated by a host of tropical cocktails and local draft beers. A good place for a night-on-the-town.
Closed: Open weeklong, until 2am, every night.
I first learned about Sonora on my hunt for Asheville’s best tacos, some two years ago now. Since then, my fondness for Sonora has only grown. Mexican food has a lot to offer and somehow Sonrora hits all my favorite dishes, handled with freshness and expertise. We’re talking chilaquiles (from mild to spicy), tortas (on local telera buns), empanadas (rotating). And of course, tacos, piled high with shrimp, fish, pork belly, or steak.
It's all that and more. More in this case meaning bacon-wrapped hotdogs with chile verde and queso cotija, and frankly more varieties of tequila than I can wrap my head around. Brass tacks: Sonora is my number one pick for Mexican in downtown Asheville.
Closed: Open weeklong.
22 College St, Asheville, NC 28801
12 College St, Asheville, NC 28801
Claddagh Restaurant & Pub
4 College St, Asheville, NC 28801
Blue Dream Curry House
81 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Asheville Yacht Club
87 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Sonora Cocina Mexicana
89 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801